An interdisciplinary approach to art appreciation

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Journal article

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New Horizons in Education

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Background: Under the challenge of many post-modern theories and critics on art and art history, the boundaries and definition of art has becoming more diverse. Conventional art appreciation no longer covers all the debates and issues arising from the complex meaning of art in the modern world. Art education today must widen students’ vision of art appreciation.

Focus of discussion: The experience central to art appreciation relates one to a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary exposure. This paper aims to elucidate the close relationship between art and other disciplines including aesthetics, anthropology, history, social studies, and even science. It demonstrates how such integrated perspective can be conveyed to the students of different levels. Art appreciation, in many ways, is the study of human behaviours and experience, both past and present. Cross-disciplinary knowledge and comparative studies of various art help understand the meaning of art both in its microscopic and macroscopic levels.

Arguments: Conventional art education focuses on the intrinsic values of art, having well defined objects to study for their artistic qualities and theoretical bases. Today, the world of art has lost much of its autonomy. The paper argues that we can take art as a way of seeing and therefore will be better understood by relating art to its social, historical and cultural context. An interdisciplinary approach to art appreciation will widen students’ perspective of and sensitivity to the meaning of art, and could be attained by students of different levels.

Conclusion: The interdisciplinary vision of art appreciation accords with the vision of Liberal Studies. It enhances students’ analytical and critical thinking, broadens their world of ideas, and hones their judgement of cultural products and related issues.

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Law, S. S. M. (2010). An interdisciplinary approach to art appreciation. New Horizons in Education, 58(2), 93-103. Retrieved from http://www.hkta1934.org.hk/NewHorizon/abstract/2010Oct/8.pdf