A Post Postmodern View of Art Education
Postmodern ideas have become the norm. We have learned to be skeptical of grand narratives. However, postmodernism is showing signs of age; it has become its own grand narrative. While learning from theory it is time to propose a new perspective in art education. I assume that education is about enabling students to answer for themselves questions concerning what matters in life and how we ought to live. I do not contend that art alone can answer these huge questions, but believe that in education some effort must be made to map out perspectives of value relative to our situation in the world.
In the paper I argue for an art education that develops basic skills in various media, includes some art history, draws upon different cultural traditions and genders, and maintains an open, experimental, confidence-building learning and teaching environment. This art education would seek to foster individual and collaborative work, voice, a sense of responsibility for community, raise perceptual and aesthetic awareness, and develop critical capacities that call for student conceptualization and construction. Not all art can be beautiful, but some art can be made aesthetically. The close sighting of a raven photographed in black and white could be quite affecting. Much can be done in art to heighten appreciation of nature and the everyday urban environment. We cannot afford to disregard the value in art of the senses, the body, and intrinsic values, even as we contest world-views and seek truth.
Art can be seen as a rich and distinctive form of understanding. Art reaches into ineffable spaces concerning the meaning of life that words and science cannot reach. Art is about seeing authentically the complexity of the world, appreciating that there are many ways to be human.
Keywords: Postmodernism, Post Postmodernism, Art Education, Voice, Critical Capacities, Collaborative Work, Beauty, Ineffable Spaces, Ways of Being Human
Dr. Stuart Richmond
Professor and Chair, Coordinator of Arts Education