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Lesson Plans

Sid,teaching elements and principls

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Diane L. (mselle)
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 20:43:29 -0500

Dear Sid, et, al... thanks for the interest in this subject. I know
you mentioned reading endless texts regarding postmodernism. I have come
across one very clear presentation of this topic, which appeared in Art
Education, September, 1994, titled, "Whose Shoes Are They Anyway?" by Anne
G. Wolcott, pages 14-20. In summary, postmodernism art is not interested in
form,but content. Viewer is to contemplate meaning or lack of meaning, and
not focus on elements and principles of art. I would interpret this to
mean that elements and principals are not a part of the process, and if
they can be spotted, it is post facto, by virture of coincidence. For
example, if you are familiar with the book, Art and Visual Perception, (a
psychology of the creative eye) by Rudolf Arnheim, you might say the
balance discovered in a piece of postmodernist art is occurring not because
of the "academic rules" (by academic I mean a body of applied knowledge),
elements and principles, but because the artist's eye/hand coordination
just happened to fall into that mode, and the viewer's eye structure is
programed to view reality in certain ways. However, conscious (or academic)
balance was not important to the artist. What is important to the artist in
this case is that you look and consider what has been created from a
conceptual perspective. It's sort of like a Zen koan. Something to engage
the senses, to draw one into awarness. Awareness of what you might ask,
perhaps just the object itself.
One of my favorite conceptual artists is Christo. When he wraps a
bridge, he's transforming an object into an idea. He is documenting a
thought, (he's doing a lot of other fascinating things, but this is not an
essay about Christo), and sort of celebrating human intelligence. My
kindergarten students studied Christo. They transformed left over bits of
shop wood by wrapping them with aluminum foil or gold saran wrap. They get
it. Kids minds are receptive, they loved the visuals of Christo's wrapped

I hope this is the type of dialog you were looking forward to,
sincerely, Diane L.