Thursday, August 2, 2012

of living and learning ...

I am an art historian by training, so it is an occupational "hazard" that I over-analyze a work of art. I like thoughtful art, the kind of work that makes you think, that challenges the standard and pushes boundaries. I love the idea of an artist as an authentic originator, critical thinker, and the higher level of conscience in society. I despise decorative art and paintings that are made to be hung above the couch in the living room.  I also don't like art that pretends to be philosophical. I'll take genuine expressions of creativity, fearless experiments, intimate revelations, and art that visualize the interior reality of the relationship between people and their environment over pretentious art any day. What about technical excellence? Well, I'll take my art raw, thank you. No hunky dory happy trees for me, thank you.


And thank you too for letting me rant ... I guess Zach's latest painting has got me all fired up! We are both very passionate about the ideas of education and pedagogy so I'm excited that this new piece brings together art and the topic of school and learning. Zach painted school the way he remembers it -- stifling. I remember school as a place where failure wasn't an option.

Neil Postman says "Children enter school as question marks and come out as periods." Almost all of my students think going to school is about getting a degree that will lead to a higher paying job. No one really seems to be in school because of their love of knowledge anymore. We blame students for their lack of motivation to learn and explore. We say they lack creativity. We accuse them of simply regurgitating facts. But I think all of those attributes are brought on by uninspired/uninspiring teachers. As educators, isn't it our job to develop, nurture, excite, and inspire the minds we are entrusted with? If we want dynamic thinkers, we have to encourage our students to take risks. Free their minds from the confines of failure; teach kids to learn to fail or they will fail to learn.

I believe we don't have to teach creativity, but we sure have to be careful not to stifle it.

re:ad, clay books, by Zach, 2009. See more pictures from the re:ad/re:cent history show here.

p.s. I feel the need to clarify that I actually love watching Bob Ross on tv!

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