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ERIC Number: EJ1148232
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-8650
In Dialogue with the Decorative Arts
Powell, Olivia
Journal of Museum Education, v42 n3 p236-247 2017
How can museum educators create dialogical experiences with European decorative arts? This question frames my essay and stems from the challenges I have faced introducing objects whose original functions seem to overshadow their aesthetic and interpretive value. Repeated efforts to spark rich dialogue and collective interpretation around pieces of decorative art at The Frick Collection, specifically, has shown that, whereas painting and sculpture inspire responses that are not just formal in nature but also subjective and even phenomenological, clocks, commodes, porcelain and other such objects are seemingly less accessible, met with apparent discomfort, and confronted with the following questions: What was this used for? How was it made? How much did it cost? What is its provenance? Painting and sculpture, especially canonical examples of each, seem immune to this line of questioning and thus riper for dialogical engagement as defined by museum educators Rika Burnham and Elliott Kai-Kee. Without devaluing the importance of technical art history, functionality, materiality, and the history of collecting, I will explore how museum education--and the visitor experience broadly defined--is affected by the canon of art history's hierarchical categorization of the fine and decorative arts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A