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VCAE - the Esa and Henry show


From: henry taylor (tortolitascom_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri May 10 2002 - 14:41:27 PDT

The debate continues in longer messages off list and you are spared that
usually. In this case Esa wrote back:

Hip hip horray! Send it to the entire list!


--- "Taylor, Henry" <>

At the same time I still find a limited value for Visual Culture ľArt Ed
International (and as distinguished from the NAEA's VCAE) in colleges of
Art and Commercial Design. While it seems suitable at a University Level
it appears too head-centered for general, introductory, public education.

The big problem from my perspective is that post-renaissance modernism has
pretty much professionalized Art and thereby disenfranchised most of the
population. The artists have abandoned their traditional roles In the
social ecology in pursuit of the glamorous "lottery prize" dangled in
front to them by the modern art world which few will collect on in their
lifetime even IF against all odds they win.
With the best artists tied up as intellectual snobs and purists the
general population is left with the dullest artists developing crafts for
Michaels Franchises at worst and Martha Stewart and her ilk at best.
Meanwhile Wal-Mart and K-Mart roll on. People I encounter Today are afraid
of art. They want to leave it to the professionals they have been taught
to respect.

The critique, the VC perspective doesn't touch this problem. Too often the
adversarial us-them modality sets in and we examine what THEY are doing to
US (or to those "poor people" over there) the energy which might have
manifested in the facture of good culture which could displace bad culture
is spent not on creation but on opposition with the best end result being
a victory and a wasteland because nothing useful has been constructed.

I am convinced that ART triumphs through what it creates and not through

This is my vision:

The social ecology of art is that everyone participates. Everyone can
offer their own initiative on what the world will become in terms of the
material culture that we are embedded in. This is the economic source of
primary wealth. People should participate in it not be consumers of it.

We ratify or reject each other's contributions and thereby establish and
maintain our community. This is local not global. Each locality has its
own flavor.

At some lever there are "masters" or professionals but they do special
projects and rely on the general population of artists for their
understanding and inspiration. We go to them for advice in our daily work.

The practice at them masters level requires a sacrifice.
-First there is the loss of innocence... just as the professional magician
loses some the sense of wonder and awe of performed illusions.
-Second there is additional responsibility for maintence of the culture
and the knowledge incumbent on that.
-Third is the finding and nurturing of new "masters"

But most people are the same ones who follow Martha Stewart and are merely
"crafty". Most of the VCAE knowledge is lost on them. It is not that they
are lessor or flawed. It is merely that the ideology of academicism has
been monotone and naive. India had a better idea. Let people be people.
(FWIW Castes were NOT a good idea however - can't win 'em all)
Me? I'd always opt to stay in school studying. I don't see that in most
people and even IF (big IF) we manage to make education and learning
attractive again I still expect most people would get another life and not
choose to be knowledge-workers. VCAE is for Knowledge workers. To put it
into the general curriculum is inefficient. Like most other "good things"
we learn in school, in five to ten years it's forgotten except by the
Jeopardy crowd.