An Aesthetic Puzzle
In issues of aesthetics, the ques- tions are often as important as the answers. Such is the case when we happen upon works that Brainstorm
Show examples of well-known tra-
Create a timeline of art media. Guide
ditional works of art. Ask students
students to see how art media has
to brainstorm why these objects are
changed over time. Ask them to
do not fit our expectations or personal considered art. Are they original? Well consider what brought about these
definition of what can and cannot be
changes, and how the changes make
a difference in the types of art that is
For example, traditional ideals sug- Expand Characteristics
produced. As art media evolves, how
gest that art is best when it is made
Assign students to small collaborative do the expectations of the viewing
from conventional media such as
groups. Ask them to expand upon the public change? How have characteris-
paint, bronze, or stone and it is hung
list of characteristics that determine
tics of art changed over time?
on a wall or displayed on a pedestal.
why an object can be considered art.
How then do we go about approaching
a work that is made from nontradi-
; Visit www.artcylopedia.com, and
tional media or is something that hap- Show examples of nontraditional
click on “MasterScans” for a large
pens for a moment and then is gone?
artworks. (See suggested references).
selection of images and some vid-
Deliberate contemplation of such
Ask students to apply their list of art
art questions can expand the limits of characteristics to the less traditional
; Visit www.youtube.com and search
art understanding and help to broaden art pieces.
for specific artists or titles.
personal acceptance of non-traditional
Be sure to check images and videos for
works as art. The following activity
appropriateness prior to showing them
can help facilitate such expansion.
How do the nontraditional pieces
meet the students’ expectations for
what art is? What characteristics need Pam Stephens is a member of the School-
to be added to the lists so that nontra- Arts advisory board and is coordinator of
art education at Northern Arizona Univer-