I would like to say first that I have followed (and saved) everything Henry
has ever written in artsednet. It is with great awe and interest that I
have followed everything he was written.
It is with great humility that I will have to disagree with his statement
that lack of academic focus on the aesthetics of popular and folk art
reflects the lack of representation of this type of art and aesthetic
exploration within DBAE curricula.
I believe that what is so compelling about DBAE is that it allows for the
inquiry process into meaning and content that does not have to rely on
"academic" or institutional definitions or representations.
I have taught for 3 years in a rural elementary school with a high minority
population and few resources (for art anyway). I and my students use what
information we can find about an object or artwork and then work through
what we can learn about it through discussion. We start with our personal
ideas and reactions. DBAE gives us the tools to do this.
I have never made any distinctions between "fine art", "popular art", or
"folk art". We view their reproductions together and seldom categorize
them. Maybe I should. I'm not sure about that.
I do not disagree that this does have a somewhat "Museum Gift Shoppe
Aesthetic", but the only why to avoid that completely is to be able to
engage with the actual object/artwork for extended periods of time. That
is not always possible. I believe that DBAE allows my students and myself
to inquire into meaning/value and to break away from categories. We
accept many definitions of art.
Henry, if you would like to discuss this with me further please email me -