Accountability in Art

By Hillis, Richard | School Arts, December 1998 | Go to article overview

Accountability in Art


Hillis, Richard, School Arts


Accountability has particular significance for teachers in the visual arts. There is a bias in our culture which suggests that to draw well, one must be born with a special talent. This bias is revealed by cliches surrounding art ranging from the cynical art historical axiom that art is anything you can get away with, to the simple belief that art is in the eye of the beholder. Such cliches are often followed by the statement: "I don't know what art is, but I know art when I see it." It is little wonder that the art instructor may find it difficult to convince administrators that art is a discipline that can be effectively evaluated.

Getting Past Subject Matter

Art is a rather recent entry into the academic world. The original justification for bringing art into the academic community was that it was an attempt to deal with truth and, thereby, moral. Recently, administrators and the public are questioning that truth. Form is rarely discussed, but subject matter is treated like a moral imperative. It is clear that subject matter, like content, is subjective to at least some degree. But form in the visual arts, like form in literature and music, can be evaluated if we accept the premise that certain common denominators which we can agree upon are capable of being taught and learned.

Comparative Evaluation

While an assessment necessary to accountability is a difficult process in many areas of art, a number of simple direct visual concepts can be isolated and applied to drawing in order to demonstrate comprehension. The process of drawing can be tied to the product of drawing through pre-testing and post-testing.

The famous nineteenth century French artist Edgar Degas suggested excitedly to the French poet Mallarme that he had a great number of ideas for poems. Mallarme reportedly looked at Degas and asserted: "Poems are not made with ideas. Poems are made with words." Most everyone can hear, but anyone trying to learn to play the guitar ordinarily starts by learning the chords. Most everyone can also see, but there appears to be an unfounded assumption that one can translate visual perception in a three-dimensional world to a two-dimensional surface with little or no training. This assumption derives some validity from the fact that there are a few gifted individuals who can accomplish this feat.

As in writing and music, it is very helpful to have a fundamental basis to serve as a common denominator for developing visual principles based on perception in the three-dimensional world. These principles can be related to illusion on a two-dimensional surface through drawing.

A Solution for Assessment

The solution formulated here for beginning drawing classes uses an ordinary object, a lantern, as subject matter. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Accountability in Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.