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Lesson Plans

Re: Multiculturism in art

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Tue, 08 Oct 1996 12:22:13 -0700 (MST)

I like your direction here Roy (or Carol). Someone else noted recently
that we are not teaching art in order to train professionals. All-in-all
there are (and have been) few "professionals" in "real or fine art" lately
they seem pretty much removed from the rest of the world.

The US tradition or integration and amalgamation has been sucessful in
disassociating most of us from the folk arts of our culture-of-origin.
There wasn't much in the way of a homogeneous American Culture until the
middle third of this century. For my part, I think, it was a poor choice.
Folk arts seem potentially to be much more viable than fine arts. There
is also a greater dearth of folk arts in recent American Culture.
Generally it seems to be reserved for exotic "others" who are typically
associated to some degree with primitivism.

Used to be we understood quality or value through our own association
with creation and assembly in SOME context. In agrarian comunities
everyone did something! That is what "the great american county fair" was
all about--celebrating skill and art in the things we did. Amalgamation
was one of the earliest agents in the destruction of a rich and diverse
american culture {a broad set of regional and traditional cultures
actually} in order to erect the synthetic "mainstream culture".

That aging synthetic, "mainstream culture" is, for better or worse, now a
_part_ of american culture but, I see no need to accept it as THE american
culture. I suspect that it may be time to explore diverse cultural (folk)
expressions and experiences we set aside decades back. See what is
recoverable and what has become of it since we stopped paying much attention.

I'm not aware that "multiculturalism" is exclusionary or sets a
earliest cut-off date for a "culture's" entry into what became the "USA";
It's just that a lot of us have only a vague memory of our culture of origin.

I agree about the importance of learning to "find" beauty in the natural
and the urbanized environments that surround us; to appreciate bowls and
things because we have made them ourselves and value small-scale hand
production as well as mass-industrial machine production. Museums and
gallerys are nice, so are county fairs.


On Sun, 29 Sep 1996, Roy Liebergen wrote:

> I suspect, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't yell, that some of the
> problems with multiculturism in art is that much of what is considered
> multicultural is also considered "folk art" and thereby not considered
> "real art or fine art". I want my students to leave me having the
> ability to appreciate the art in the everyday things that surround them,
> to find beauty in the patterns and lines made by telephone wires and the
> wonderful feeling of a bowl that has perfect balance when held in their
> hands. I also want them to be comfortable in the museum and gallery.
> Carol