Past vs. Present in Art Education
I wanted to consider how art has influenced and transformed art education. The most recent article I reviewed was “Kara Walker: Subtlety as a big idea” by Laura Reeder (2015). The past article was “Art and the artist:Opening a door to the world of art” by Jack Bookbinder (1965). Reeder (2015) uses Kara Walker’s A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby to help art educators align contemporary works of art with the national art standards. Bookbinder (1965) discusses a program in the Philadelphia area that brings artist into schools to perform painting for an audience. I discovered two differences between 2015 and 1965 that I feel are significant.
It’s very obvious that how is art is defined and perceived differently in each article. In 1965, art is distinctly recognized as within a frame. “That normally the artist does not work under the eyes of eager or the curious in public places; that his place is in the silence of his studio” (Bookbinder 1965, p.6). Students are placed as audience to view the artist as he paints. The artist is held as a magician with a trick that only he can perform. Students are not allowed to disturb the artist while he is working. Whereas Kara Walker’s art was described as:
A Subtlety was not only an installation of sugar and ideas: It was a collaboration of intentional producers who interpreted sketches and concepts imagined by Kara Walker. It was a communication of the beliefs and bigotries of unintentional participants who took selfies, uploaded images, and performed a range of responses in real time at the sugar factory. (Reeder 2015, p.58)
Reeder (2015) speaks about how technology and social media played a predominant role in A Subtlety. Viewers are expected to react and ask questions. Kara Walker even had a numerous of different people working on the project with her. The art, artist and process was not secluded as it was in 1965.
Reeder’s (2015) goal was to create classroom questions for educators to utilize that align with the national standards. The questions help art educators approach culturally sensitive subjects in a contemporary context. In contrast, Bookbinder’s (1965) article has no mention about standards or taboos. The artist is objectified as an icon which is described as“the artist on stage is a living symbol” (Bookbinder 1965).
Art and education has transformed since 1965. I selected this theme because art educators need to consider how to teach to a 21st century world. Art can provide many opportunities for students to learn on various of platforms. It is not a mysterious trick that only an “artist” can do!
Bookbinder, J. (1965) Art and the artist: Opening a door to the world of art. Art Education, 18 (2), 5-6.
Reeder, L. (2015). Kara walker: Subtlety as a big idea. Art Education, 68 (1), 51-58.
k-5 Creative Design Teacher