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Re: "Visual Culture Art ED" was: Are there any new ideas out there?


From: henry taylor (tortolitascom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 11:32:52 PDT

> Michelle Harrell wrote: (quite a while back)
> I really want to hear from some of you art teachers who still want to focus
> mostly on creative expression above this idea about Visual Culture which
> emphasizes visual imagery above fine art. What do you think?

Do a search using Duncum and VCAE and you'll find 2 or 3 in depth articles
by Dr Duncum going back over the development of VCAE. I first ran into the
Visual Culture theme at the Washington DC NAEA convention and was quite
taken with it then. It appeared under The Caucus on Social Theory and Art
Education heading. So it is deeply grounded
in a political agenda. We are all liberals here, (right?) so its a "good
guy" social agenda and for all the best reasons. I have a twinge maybe
but will skip that for now.

The crux of the most recent iterations of VCAE seems to center on the
CRITIQUE of the IMAGE-AS-TEXT. Very postmodern concept. IMAGE is not
specifically defined as far as I've seen so far but implied is the
commercial and corporate derived image and associated products/social
environments. It is offered in a somewhat Us/Them adversarial context and
we are being asked to explore the socio-political ramifications
(subtext)of contemporary and historical images.

The teaching and practice of art production is presented by VCAE texts
(when it is included) as a way to get to understand the conditions
underwhich images are or were produced.

VCAE seems to expand the Canon from the familiar "Western Fine Art and
non-western sidetracks" modality of DBAE to include the corporate side of
our consumer culture. DBAE taught us to become more cherishing consumers
of art. VCAE offers to teach us to become more critical consumers of our
visual environment.

VCAE, so far, seems to lack the support DBAE had form a sponsor like The
Getty. Anyone know anything different? So it might be slower in its
domination of the field. And while DBAE was in many ways vague about what
and how its goals were to be accomplished VCAE seems even more open-ended.
At the moment, I suspect VCAE will ultimately appear in a number of
flavors and become a more dilute version of the model on the blueprints.

Personally I guess I feel a bit let down. VCAE remains very much tool of
Western Ideology and Politics. It has failed to address Dissanayake's
question "What is Art For" and situates the student as an observer and
critic more than as a participant and contributor relative to culture. But
maybe that will be addressed by some yet to arrive flavor of visual