Monday, April 11, 2011

VCAE in the art classroom

Tonight, Jerome Hausman Skyped our class and talked to us for about 45 minutes! Hausman has been around for many different trends in art education, which is why it was appropriate for him to "visit" us in The History of Art Ed class tonight! Hausman was one of the coordinators (and attendees) for the Penn State Seminar in the 60s that launched many discussions about the role of art education in the schools. Out of those talks, many new ideas developed, including Discipline-Based Art Education and Visual Culture Art Education, two major trends in the classroom today.

Hausman reading to our class via Skype, Dr. Henry on the right

Visual Culture Art Education is a branch of art education that deals with deconstructing images- any kind of image, including (but not limited to) magazines, websites, billboards, television shows, ads of any kind... pretty much anything that is, has, or can be marketed is broken down by asking the question "why?" and thinking about it critically.

A few years ago, I wrote an article on VCAE for an undergrad class of mine where I used VCAE to analyze the TV show Drop Dead Diva with a critical perspective. I praised the show for using a plus sized main character, but was disappointed that this character always fantasized about when she was a skinny blonde (in another life). This gives a simplified example of how VCAE is used to deconstruct popular media.

After our talk with Hausman, we talked about three articles on Visual Culture Art Education (VCAE) that we read for homework. This launched discussion about implementation: How would you introduce and utilize VCAE in the classroom? Would you dedicate the curriculum solely to VCAE (and ignore any history of art)? Would you use it as a part of the "criticism" discipline in Discipline-Based Art Education? Personally, I think I wouldn't deconstruct popular images. I would rather present contemporary (or not so contemporary) artists that use subjects similar to those issues raised with VCAE in their artwork.

So, here's a VCAE project for you. Look at each of these artists and try to figure out what they're trying to say with their artwork. Then, try to figure out how it makes you think critically about its subject. Then, think about the questions presented about the artwork.

What is Ron English trying to say by creating these images?
How do you think Ron English feels about Disney?
What type of mood does the artist convey to you while you look at these images?

Mel Ramos (who you may remember from the Candy Art post)-

Why do you think Mel Ramos includes nudes in his images?
If someone thought of these images as advertisements, what would the images be selling? The product included in the image or the women accompanying them?
Do you think Mel Ramos is objectifying women by creating these works? Do you think it makes his point stronger or weaker? Why?

Banksy (who raised social issues in our Elephant Art post, too)-

Warhol affectionately called his studio "The Factory", what does that tell you about his views on the process of artmaking?
Do you think that the use of silkscreening (being able to create reproductions over and over) is ironic for the point that Warhol is trying to make?
Do you think that Warhol has a positive view or a negative view on consumerism?

What do you think Tom Otterness is trying to say about our society?
Do you think Otterness is an optimist or a pessimist?
Do you think the use of the gold color that is consistent through Otterness' work strengthens his point?

Shadhi Ghadirian (I cannot believe my good fortune of trying to find this artist on google by just using the words "Iranian artist woman" & actually succeeding!!!)-

What do you think Ghadirian is trying to say about how Iran treats its women?
Do you think these are fair assessments of how women are viewed? Why or why not?
What do you think the different types of fabrics used as hijabs represent?

I hope these images got you thinking! If not, scroll up and read this entire post again!!!
Until tomorrow,
-Katie B

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