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ERIC Number: EJ790197
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Connoisseurship in an Age of Distractions
Hope, Samuel
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v36 n2 p69-83 Sum 2002
Today, "connoisseurship" conjures up images of fusty old men in tweeds arguing over ancient etchings or perhaps the patter of opera buffs as they pass bejeweled into the night. Connoisseurship is neither fashionable nor politically correct. It signifies a focus on works of art rather than issues of power and is foreign to a cultural milieu where images are flashed too quickly to be contemplated, where mass culture and the elements thereof produce progressively shorter attention spans. While it would be a large project to document and trace the multiple distractions that influence decisions about arts education for the general public, it is not necessary to do so in order to establish how difficult it is to obtain a concentrated focus on arts knowledge and skills, either in policy or in practice. Arts education itself has dealt with a number of specific distractions, especially during the latter third of the twentieth century. In terms of promoting or delivering serious arts education of the kind Ralph Smith has advocated, distractions take the focus away from teaching, learning, and cultivated aesthetic response and place it elsewhere. Thus, they take time, energy, resources, and will away from the goals for individual knowledge and skill development. At times, these distractions are produced by attempting clear distinctions, but usually, they muddy the water, thus reducing clarity--everything done in, for, or about the arts is arts education. Other distractions, in the words of Hilton Kramer, "destroy the good by expanding it to extinction"--student learning becomes lost in the rhetoric of outcomes, in the politics of standardized testing, in social and political action, or all three together. In this essay, the author presents several examples of specific distractions, but concludes with a reminder that, in the grand scheme of things, these distractions (though vexing to the cause of serious arts education in that they substitute other issues and processes for issues of work), are just distractions. The distractions of this and any other age will not stop the active pursuit of goals and objectives that seem to be hard-wired into the human condition. (Contains 30 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States