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Lesson Plans

Re: Aesthetics (late)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 10:12:34 -0700 (MST)

Sorry, been ignoring my art-ed mail while dicing with the "dragons" over on
Dom Lopes' Aesthetics list about whether or not the physiology of the senses
has any relevance to aesthetics (No was a popular response) and whether
non-hearing people can have any (valid) aesthetic experience (Again, no
seems to have a lot of consensus there) Anyone here know of Evelyn Glennie?

Anyway... time to get back into ed.

On Mon, 2 Sep 1996, Barbara Bridges wrote:

> Henry,
> Wooowee, you are very verbose and you do it so well!!! We Mainers are
> sterotyped as a taciturn bunch and I guess there is a germ of truth in
> many stereotypes.

Heh heh. Yeah, I guess. Actually its the keyboard that allows me a voice,
in person I'm rather quiet. By the time I've thought out my reply the
discussion has moved irrevocably on. I stole the "verbose" page from
Bucky Fuller who wanted to avoid encouraging too many assumptions by not
including sufficient data.

> Re: Defs for aesthetics. Philosophy by it's very existence trys for
> generalizations.

It's been often taken that way and traditionally practiced along such
lines. I don't think its requsite tho. Not since pluralism has gained
some respectability. "Small is beautiful" it is said. Why not small

> I find it difficult to make any kind of definitive
> declaration these days ...

Me too!

> HOWEVER ... as educators we have a responsibility to our students to do
> more then throw our hands in the air and tell them " Who knows what are
> is?"

Of course! If we agree that "general" answers are not meeting our needs we
need to find smaller, more specific, contexts. "Present the possibilities"
as you say. Beyond this, we need to give some recognition that there are
problems and limitations for these possibilities. When we have such
recognition, we are beginning to establish a personal (or shared) context.
When we find specific "possibilities", which are attractive and who's
problems and limitations are found to be a challenge, THEN we have a
place to approach art from. I don't see that an entire class must take on
a singular set of values. Individuals can make choices, they can, for the
moment, be independent - or they can find that they share values.

> One of the old sages once said "If art can be anything at all - then
> art is nothing at all". What say You?????

I say that Sage, like most herbs, looses its flavor if it sits on the
shelf to long! :)

Next, I'll say that Art "can be anything at all." BUT if one cannot
muster a set of reasons and understandings as to WHY, or (better yet) HOW
such a thing is art, it may as well be "nothing at all" for without such
perceptions, ones discrimination and valuation are, apparently, very

One needs to have a set of criteria 1) for what things must be included
to consider something "art" and 2) criteria for valuing "good" and "bad"
(or desirable and undesirable, etc.) There can, I think, be poor art. To
BE Art does not require that something be inherently GOOD! The question
we (teachers and students) must continually ask on several levels is "is
this a good fit to my criteria?" (and occasionally: "Must my criteria be
revised in the face of what I have learned recently?")