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The Forum > Article Comments > Teaching art: an aesthetic dog's breakfast > Comments

Teaching art: an aesthetic dog's breakfast : Comments

By Jane Gooding-Brown, published 14/7/2010

'All you need is a pencil ' and courage to be an art teacher in the 21st century.

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OK I'll bite.
Why not? Pragmatism and getting as much bang for limited education buck.
Maths and science lead to engineering which leads to resources and wealth. Professional Arts are necessary when, and pretty much only when spare time and spare resources allow entire lives to be devoted to them.
Family artist to me: "Why do scientists make things so complex? They are just making themselves look good aren't they?". Alas, the creative mind often lives away from the facts and realities that the rest of us need to deal with! We cannot afford too many artists with this kind of thinking, though it's fun to have few around.
Graphic artists in IT are somewhat notorious for getting things seriously wrong. Aesthetics is one thing, but one must have a basic grasp of the rest of the issues to have any sanity in this, or any other engineering field. Being "creative" without knowledge can be very dangerous and/or wasteful indeed!
Architects are notorious for creating beautiful things that are not so good to work with, in, or are hopelessly unworkable. "Outstanding" architecture is notable for being both functional and beautiful.
I must say though, I'd prefer we had more artists, less middle managers and less financial workers!
Posted by Ozandy, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 3:23:40 PM
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A world without art would be a world without soul. Somtimes it is necessary to create something for the pure aesthetic pleasure of it. It also gives much pleasure to many people, both artists and those who like looking at art but may not have the skills in creating it. This is, unfortunately, not an easily measureable benefit.

Also, it should not be a case of science competing with arts, because in many ways they are complementary. Exercising both sides of the brain is essential for all sorts of creativity, including scientific breakthroughs. Without the ability to to think laterally, to creatively imagine possibilities, or to simply think randomly, a scientist will struggle to do anything other carry on down established lines of thought and process, thus effectively limiting the base of knowledge.

Teaching art has many benefits, it's just that they are not very easy to quantify.
Posted by Phil Matimein, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 5:41:28 PM
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A world without art would be a world without soul.
Phil,
yes, Art is a major component in the building of society. The problem is that in modern society 95 % of what is called art is in fact crap. Very difficult to build on that ? I recall the Beatty Qld Government sponsoring a german artist to the tune of $100.000 whose "Art" was regurgitating food onto a concrete slab. It did make to the news but not because of the Art component. The other was a NSW grant to a young woman to the tune of $90.000 whose "Art" was placing jewellery around a park for people to find.
Posted by individual, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 10:23:40 PM
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I agree with Phil.

Art is more than something decorative; it's primarily a way that we communicate meaning, significance and information between individuals; communities, cultures and generations.

The use of images to tell stories precedes the widespread literacy and education of the masses that we have seen in just the past 1/2 century. There wouldn't be any science education, maths, medicine, physics, adventurers, conquerors and the like if there had been no transfer of knowledge, ideas and values through various types of imagery. Think of parchments, prints, Egyptian, Japanese and Chinese characters, calligraphy such as that produced in monasteries, stained glass images, cartography, botanic pictures etc and all the ways that perspective is applied in design drawings. Da Vinci provided us with outstanding examples of the way in which various fields of knowledge stream together and enrich each. I think in our time we have become over specialized - separating art from maths, for example - and trying to compare them for 'value'.

Art is also meditative, cathartic and therefore therapeutic, though we take much of it for granted.

Art has been devalued pretty much because of that which Individual describes - which is a triumph of commercialism and marketing rather than art.

Like this idiocy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Gibson

Shock value isn't 'value'.

It seems to me that we need to rethink what constitutes 'art' and the ways in which it is tied to other types of knowledge. My measure of worth would be that it convey something meaningful, and ideally - something of beauty, to society and to subsequent generations. By beauty I don't mean just 'pretty' - a piece of architecture can be beautiful, as can an intriguing Picasso. I mean that art should add something pleasing to our lives and senses, as well as add to a worthwhile legacy for the future. It should be a record about the type of people and society we are.
Posted by Pynchme, Thursday, 15 July 2010 11:19:37 PM
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wow, Pynchme, I agree! We would do better in our education system if we could elucidate a little more clearly the connections between the various learning streams.
Hopefully, the world could become a more beautiful and uplifting place.

Art used to be associated with technical skill, and beauty; beauty was associated with spiritual enrichment and 'truth'. Those values were recently thrown out in many artistic colleges (although not so much in Europe), to the detriment of art, and the people who participate and view art.

So much current art seems associated with poorly thought out political views, or with a nihilistic presentation of the bodily functions of the self.

And yet, even now, art cannot be separated from the transcendent.

As an aside, I find Damien Hurst has statements that are interesting, thought-provoking and ultimately illuminating.
Posted by floatinglili, Sunday, 18 July 2010 3:16:38 PM
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Pynchme and floatinglili,

I agree.

My son is homeschooled and , therefore, his learning tends to unfold in a more connected manner - one subject tends to feed into another.
So, for LOTE we have been studying France, and this has led to him beginning to absorb some of the art of that country..particularly the Impressionists.
Monet's garden was his staging point, and he is now happily making his way amongst other artist from the same movement. Along the way he is learning about architecture, the regional countryside and the history contained therein....and he's only eight years-old.
Posted by Poirot, Sunday, 18 July 2010 3:48:32 PM
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