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It is true that we can surmise little about what cave-dwellers thought or
the motivations for their drawings. And it is noteworthy that, with their
minimal tools, they succeeded in accomplishing whatever their purpose(s)
But I don't think that we need to go so far back to consider the effects of
a lack of understanding or 'intellectualization' in the appreciation of art.
I would maintain that the bombing of the bronze sculpture of "The Thinker"
at the Cleveland Museum of Art some 2 decades ago is an obvious expression
of this lack; not alone, of course; no doubt there was a lot of anger (at
least) mixed in with it. But to intentionally and wantonly destroy a work
of art, and in this case great art, is incomprehensible to me. And that
incomprehensibility (sorry, looks like a many-lettered German word) is a
partly a product of understanding and appreciation of art...as the product
of the human creative act.
I am not familiar enough with the kinds and qualities of art work being
created in schools (and out) by teenagers and young adults, but I do sense
that many of them have difficulty expressing themselves both in actions and
in written words. Do you art teachers find the same thing in the visual
communicative arts? I realize that this ties into psychology and
socialization, yet it all seems to me to stem from the same roots.