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Post #1323 • April 6, 2009, 9:32 AM

I just uploaded the papers by Walter Darby Bannard, Artbroken: Art on the Academic Rack, and Brian Curtis, Why N'art aint Art: Critically Thinking Critical Theory and Contemporary Cultural Practice (both PDF).

From Bannard:

It is fashionable these days to sneer at the idea of good and bad and say everything is relative, driven by politics and power or whatever. But even as we deride the idea of value we spend most of our time making value judgements - whatever we choose to call them - and because we operate on the assumption that there is such a thing as better and worse, and that art has great value for us, we are forced to conclude that the judgements we make about art are not arbitrary exercises of taste but indications of how well we get what the art has.

From Curtis:

Despite the unavoidable contradictions inherent in a postmodern art curriculum, school administrators are nonetheless predisposed to embrace this radical curricular model for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that academic administrators are, by nature, more comfortable with linguistic discourses than they are with the manufacture and evaluation of a hand made cultural products whose value is intuitively determined by an intuitive experience of visual quality. For programs (like art) that receive little or no validation in terms of external research support, administrators are under increasing pressure to support curricula initiatives that can be marketed as avante-garde or bleeding-edge. When one takes into account the fact that institutional rankings and notoriety in the visual arts today are more easily achieved by tailoring programs toward nonhierarchical, experimental, contextualized, interdisciplinary, integrative, theory dependent, pluralistic, multicultural, issue oriented, community sensitive, multivocal, technologically oriented, intermedia cultural practice that may or may not include a visual component, the motivation behind the institutional strategy becomes clear.

Readers may recognize Bannard's paper as a heavily reworked version of Artbroken: What Art Is And How We Stopped Making It from 2007.




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