Art Appreciation as a Learned Competence: A Museum-Based Qualitative Study of Adult Art Specialist and Art Non-Specialist Visitors

By Sova, Rajka Bracun | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, October 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Art Appreciation as a Learned Competence: A Museum-Based Qualitative Study of Adult Art Specialist and Art Non-Specialist Visitors


Sova, Rajka Bracun, CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

In Slovenia, research into art appreciation has started to develop. This paper takes as its starting point the fact that "museums are where the great majority of people in the West today encounter art" (McClellan, 2006, p. xiii) and thus presents a study that is conceptually and methodologically museumbased. The term "museums" is used here to refer to art museums (galleries) with most of their collections and exhibitions devoted to visual art objects. The research reported upon is a qualitative study of a group of art specialists and a group of art non-specialist adults responding to artworks in Moderna galerija in Ljubljana. An analytical framework, used for the analysis of interviews, relates to the association between art education and people's ability to appreciate and understand works of art.

This research continues with empirical evidence that showed that school support for learning about art is weak in Slovenia; the art curriculum is centred principally on art-making activities, with an obvious neglect of appreciation (Bracun Sova & Kemperl, 2012). This is problematic if we realize that people's interest in art is developed in (and beyond) school, as UK- and US-based studies and reports indicate (e.g. Hooper-Greenhill et al., 2001; Hooper-Greenhill & Moussouri, 2001; Zakaras & Lowell, 2008).

Current research into art appreciation in Slovenia does not go further than measuring the predominantly pre-determined levels of perception and reception of female and male pupils in school, whereby reproductions of artworks by modernist and contemporary artists, such as Paul Cézanne and Jorge Rodrigues Gerada, are used for observation (Duh, Zupancic, & Cagran, 2014; Duh & Korosec, 2014; Duh, 2014). There are also some methodological issues, for example, the absence of coding, categorizing and conceptualization in qualitative data analysis. The empirical literature in this paper, however, includes critical specifics about learning processes in museums as authentic places of art. The research is grounded in a more complex understanding of art appreciation as a learned competence and examines education-related differences in people's ability to appreciate works of art.

Framework for Understanding Art Appreciation as a Learned Competence

It was Bourdieu who first coined the concept "competence" when discussing the ability to enjoy and understand art. In his study of visitors to museums and art galleries, conducted in the 1960s, he determined that the level of educational attainment and occupational status had a direct bearing on museum attendance and the quality of museum experience. He argued that the ability to enjoy and understand art is not self-evident, but "cultivated", that is learned: "[...] aesthetic pleasure presupposes learning and, in any particular case, learning by habit and exercise" (Bourdieu & Darbel, 1969/1991, p. 109).

The approach to art appreciation adopted for this paper is that presented by Olsen (1998, p. 66), who sees it as "not untrained perception, but the outcome of a long process of initiation and practice." Barrett (2007, p. 651) writes that art appreciation is an engaged activity that requires knowledge: "Appreciation is a complex act of cognition that is dependent on relevant knowledge of what is appreciated." Appreciation involves knowledge of various sorts, such as art-historical knowledge, historical knowledge, and other factors (see Hooper- Greenhill, 1999).

Some authors have researched the processes of seeing, experiencing and understanding art in a museum setting. Research first focused on art specialists (museum professionals with art background and experience: curators, educators and managers) and aimed to develop a model of ideal aesthetic experience (e.g. Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson, 1990). The comparative approach followed, whereby researchers compared art specialists and art non-specialists (e.g. Lachapelle, 1999). …

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

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Art Appreciation as a Learned Competence: A Museum-Based Qualitative Study of Adult Art Specialist and Art Non-Specialist Visitors
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.