In order to disrupt the masculine canon in fine art education, teaching staff could be encouraged to introduce greater parity in the provision of artist role models for the subject area’s majority-female student cohort. This article argues that the segregation of a masculine and feminine art history is problematic for both educators and learners, and that many female graduates are dropping out of practice due to few female role models and subsequent lack of confidence in career progression.
This article examines ways in which real issues in contemporary society can be addressed in art education classrooms, from upper elementary grades through higher education. Classroom projects incorporate zines, “artist pages,” and mixed-media three-dimensional works of art focused on information, advocacy, or protest, with a goal of transformative learning. Curricula utilize methods and outcomes based on critical and design thinking for communication of progressive socio-cultural and political ideas in visual and written form. In addition, the authors view a progressive perspective, also defined as “left” in traditional political polarity (Bienfait and Beeka 2014), as the most compatible with constitutional democracy in the United States. Themes, hands-on curriculum, and socially engaged fact-based research on issues such as environmental problems, healthcare, class warfare, or global warming, for example, are key to successful production of art that communicates and supports critical engagement. The tools, materials, and processes discussed in this article and the artworks produced by students represent new understandings as well as transferable and transdisciplinary skill sets that are imperative for the twenty-first-century global citizen.
Despite knowing that photographs can be manipulated, we tend to accept news and documentary photographs as reportage of real events; their purpose is to inform us about something happening somewhere, and to tell us something of the truth. Art, however, rarely claims to be objective, factual, dispassionate, or balanced in commenting on world events; providing timely, accurate information is not its purpose. Yet for centuries, art has had a role in representing real events, and artists continue to draw from global news and issues to create work. This paper addresses work by several contemporary artists who base their two-dimensional images on real events. Referring to the theories of Henri Bergson, Paul Crowther, Jean Fisher, and Jacques Rancière, amongst others, it considers whether art, more than news reporting or photojournalism, comes close to telling the truth.