Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"why can't we be friends?" - traditional art and visual culture exemplars.

i recently read julia marshall's essay in contemporary issues in art education titled "exploring culture and identity through artifacts" which examines how contemporary art practices can shape and inform art lessons, rather than relying on traditional art-making habits that may not reflect our modern ways of thinking, working, and living.

her investigation of contemporary art practices, which included art as research, art as cultural lens, and art as purposeful critical inquiry also highlighted the role of visual culture (or specifically, non-art visual culture, if such a clear line can be drawn) in modern artmaking processes and lessons surrounding these new practices. she further explored the idea that visual culture exemplars of in some cases have a stronger and more authentic conceptual relationship to art lessons around these ideas than the tried and true fine art exemplars. especially in examples of research-based artmaking exploration, the resources that students are inundated with are visual culture examples, which can include the work of fine artists, but shouldn't be limited to it.

couldn't both ingres' odalisque and contemporary magazine covers be used side by side to examine the standards of beauty at various point in history?

couldn't robert and shana parkeharrison's photographs coexist alongside "reality" television to flesh out the idea of constructed realities?

what other connections do you see between contemporary culture and fine artists' big ideas that could together support lesson plans more meaningful to students?


  1. They CAN be friends! They can! They just need a fantastic, amazing and energetic art teacher to help them learn to get along! :-)

  2. haha, thanks beth! clearly, i think so too.