from the book, Why Art Cannot Be Taught – A Handbook for Art Students by James Elkins
Teachers Make Idiosyncratic Pronouncements
All criticism-and some would say all discourse, including science-depends on “interpretive communities.” A group of people who think along the same lines form a “stable interpretive community” meaning they will be likely to agree among themselves. It may seem that the ateliers of the French Academy were such communities, because it appears to us that they agreed on a single kind of art. We might imagine that typical atelier contests would not provoke heated discussion, that people would either agree on what works were best or else disagree in predictable ways . It seems that situation is no longer true today. There are many ways to judge postmodern art, and many different short-lived schools and styles. As a result , we have “evanescent interpretive communities,” and no one kind of art is valued for very long. But we need to be careful in assuming that there is more disagreement today than there was in the Baroque, or even that standards of judgment change more rapidly now than in the past. The passage of time collapses nuance, and it is not true that more people in the eighteenth century agreed more of the time, or that standards of taste took longer to change. Then, as now, the judgment of artworks depends on a consensus of like-minded people.
In a critique it sometimes happens that all the panelists agree. In that case, the critique panel comprises a stable interpretive community-stable, at least, for the duration of the critique. Standards of taste or quality will remain reasonably constant. When two panelists do not agree, it can mean that they are “representing” two disparate interpretive communities. To take an artificial example: one might like Andrew Wyeth, and another Joseph Beuys. If the panelists are affiliated with two such radically different ideals , then you can expect many of their statements to disagree, and in addition you can expect them to disagree in some predictable ways. In such a case the panelists are like ambassadors for absent interpretive communities.
One difference between the Baroque and contemporary art worlds is that today there are many more points of view. There are more movements, more “isms” , in the early twenty-first century than there were in eighteenth century France. The art world appears to change rapidly and contemporary artists can be pluralistic and work in a variety of media; but as a matter of practice, it is often fairly easy to decide what affiliation a faculty member has.
” The great creators tend to have talent. They reveal a natural knack for thinking and doing in their specialties. Whether gifted in mathematics, music, drawing, or whatever, they find that those gifts support their creative endeavors. An apt example of such talents, again, is Mozart’s musical memory. Mozart reportedly had a phenomenal memory for music – both others’ and his own – and this memory served him well, making possible an in-the-head approach to composing which would not have worked for another. So, it’s natural to urge a talent theory of creativity. If creativity is whatever a person has that makes the person creative, then that “whatever” might be talent.
proposition: Creativity derives from a talent or set of talents.
This propostion does not state the issue too well . It would be odd to say that Mozart’s musical memory caused his creativity. True, perhpas it made it possible the sort of music Mozart composed. Certainly it made possible his approach to composing. But just as certainly someone else might have had an equally potent memory and used it quite uncreatively . As with Mozart’s memory, so too in general a talent might relate to creating only in allowing a certain order of creative achievement, but without at all making the person creative. Such talents, even if extraordinary, aren’t properly a part of a person’s creativity , because a person could have those talents without being creative. What would a specifically creative talent be like? It might be an ability for ideas getting or insight, for instance. Whatever its form, having such a talent should in itself make the person that much more creative.”
The Mind’s Best Work by D.N. Perkins
” To give body and perfect form to your thought, this alone is what it is to be an artist. “- Jacque Louis David–
Good Morning….. 6 AM , my usual time of waking up and working on my blog here, but starting today I begin teaching again . I have been on Christmas break from Edgwood College , since the first week of December and boy has the time flown by! I’ll be spending alot less time here for the next couple of weeks seeing as how I have to be at school by 8 AM at the lastest (ugh) and won’t get home until 5 this afternoon. It’s a long day but I love it. The next 2 weeks are called Winterim and students get a full semester’s amount of work and credit by coming 3 hours a day , every day for 2 weeks. It’s so intense and so much more like working as an actual artist in an actual studio setting. So , in the morning I teach Figure Drawing which is for Art Majors who’ve had alot of drawing already. FUN! Then in the afternoon I teach something called Art Structure which is a class that NON-ART majors have to take ,( these students are nursing students or finance students or criminal justice students who usually haven’t done any art since grade school !) This class offers a ‘sampling’ of everything; drawing, painting, printmaking,sculpture,design, color theory and the experience of not having THE RIGHT ANSWER to most of their questions! Also Fun !!
Soooooooooo, why tell you all of this? In my still -new-at-this-blogging-place, I have been told that I should write some more personal stuff in my posts , rather than just post an art quote everyday. I want you all to get to know me a little bit , go to the other pages on my blog, take a look at my work…. y’know? See what Jane (that’s me) DOES!!
For the next 2 weeks I will be posting images of the work done by these most fantastic students…. in the future posts I will talk about Teaching, Edgewood College,my own work , AND , yes, of course THE ART QUOTE OF THE DAY. I hope you will enjoy following the ramblings of another blogger and I’m looking forward to any comments you all might send my way.
Where does “art” reside ? In the intent of the maker? In the piece itself? In the response of the viewer? In the space between?” This quote is from a book called, THE VIEW FROM THE STUDIO DOOR : How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World, by Ted Orland. This author also has written a book called ART AND FEAR. Both books are valuable in helping artists surmount their creative obstacles. As I now embark on BLOGGING , I am encountering lots of new obstacles and will use the things i’ve learned from these books and try to apply them to my learning process with creating my blogsite.
The focus of my blog will be to help my readers gain confidence in their creative process just as I gain confidence in my blogging process. Please accompany me on this, our mutual path to discovery.