The character of art criticism, both how it naturally occurs and how it is academically constructed, is reflective of social and aesthetic value orientations--much as the art object itself has been found to be a clue to the values of the society in which it is practiced, used, and appreciated. The belief that the art object possesses characteristics and meanings separate from its sociocultural context, and separate from how it has been interpreted in various times and spaces, has resulted in assumptions of universalism that have served to legitimize certain types of art and to denigrate others. There is a danger that art criticism could become a specific procedure of analysis by which it is believed a pansocial meaning and evaluation of art can be achieved. Future planning for art criticism instruction should attend to three things: (1) a variety of academic art criticism formats should be developed and instructionally implemented according to the needs, abilities, and interests of teachers and students; (2) vernacular, naturally occurring art criticism needs to be allowed expression within the classroom setting; and (3) the act of art criticism itself, its origins and the use of particular types, should be examined for its taken-for-granted assumptions and for its ability to illuminate some aspects of art and to obscure others. Art criticism, no less than other aspects of art instruction, presents occasions for elaborated artistic understanding as well as a critical consciousness of the origins, range, and possible consequences of instructional choices. A list of 41 references is included. (Author/PPB)
ERIC Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (70th, San Francisco, CA, March 27-31, 1989).
Educational level discussed: Higher Education.
Educational level discussed: Secondary Education.