Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Importance of Art Education
I have thought about this a lot. It is my opinion that art education reached its pinnacle in the schools of the 19th century, namely those of Paris, Spain, Munich and Russia. The results speak for themselves, don't they? Art is such a stupidly difficult thing to talk about generally because it has been overrun by opinion. I like this, you like that and that is all that matters. But is it all that matters? I don't think so. Certainly it is important to allow people to enjoy whatever they find interesting, but is that the final say on art? How did the standards in art become so lost? And I'm not talking about the fight between post-modernism or any other abstract nonsense and realism. I'm talking about the state of realism vs. realism today. To my surprise, most 'artists' and especially art students are oblivious to what the standards in art once were. I hear the comment over and over "That's just not how we paint anymore". Really? Really?? Could it be that we don't paint like that anymore because we can't, and not because we 'choose' not to. Doesn't choosing require that you have options to choose between? Let's be honest. Most artists paint how and what they paint because they are incapable of doing anything else. And the reason for that is the fundamentally flawed systems of art education that exist today. If we hope to achieve anything brilliant that rivals the masterworks in history, doesn't it stand to reason that we would have to understand how those paintings were made and what the artists went through to make them, including their training? And isn't it disturbingly obvious that the work of today can't hold a candle to the work of the 19th century? And doesn't that mean that maybe something is wrong with our system today? Or do we think that the human race has just run out of genius? Where are the Michelangelo's, Sargent's, Waterhouse's and Gerome's? The Beethovens, Shakespeare's and Chopin's? That's all for now.