Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education

By Elliot W. Eisner; Michael D. Day | Go to book overview

32
Investigating Art Criticism
in Education:
An Autobiographical Narrative
Terry Barrett
The Ohio State University

INTRODUCTION

When invited to write this chapter, I decided to construct a personal narrative of my life in art education to pass on lessons learned during 30-some years. In the telling I hope that I am neither inflating nor minimizing the work in which I have been engaged as an art educator interested in art criticism. When I began teaching, I viewed myself as an artist who had to teach, but I now view myself as an art educator and writer who wants to teach and write. Since 1990, most of my writing has been books. The editors' request of me to write a chapter for this anthology provides me occasion to take a reflective pause in the midst of two larger writing projects. The first is a book titled Interpreting Art: Reflecting, Wondering, and Responding (Barrett, 2003). It encourages college students to actively interpret the art that they see and study rather than passively receive interpretations from their professors and other scholars. The second project is a book for college art majors titled Art: Form & Meaning. I especially look forward to this project because the publisher is providing 300 reproductions, 200 in color—many more images than I have been able to use in other books—and my wife Susan, an art museum educator (Hazelroth & Moore, 1998; Hazelroth-Barrett & Moore, 2003) and Montessori teacher, is working on the book with me.

Interpreting Art and Art: Form & Meaning follow publication of a third edition of Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images (Barrett, 2000a) originally published in 1990, and a second edition of Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary (Barrett, 2000b) first published in 1994. They are books for college students that explain what professional critics do, how, and why, so that students can then engage with art more deeply, read criticism more intelligently, and write criticism more insightfully. Talking about Student Art (1997) is a book I wrote for art teachers, kindergarten through high school, to encourage teachers to engage their students in more and better talk and deeper thought about the art that they and their classmates make. I am 57, have been teaching at The Ohio State University for more than 30 years, and I am still eager to get up each morning and write and teach, and then

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