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Exploring Contemporary Art in Art Education

Faculty Mentor: Lisa LaJevic

Students: Gabriel Randazzo & Matthew Pembleton

This project was designed to explore fresh curricular approaches in art education and promote an awareness of contemporary art. Personal experiences in the art classroom and current scholarship suggest many teachers are unfamiliar with contemporary art, and that art education lessons are often outdated and separate from student lives. Recent literature has suggested the importance of incorporating contemporary art in the classroom (Mayer, 2008; Walker, 2001). Often exploring conceptual and social issues, contemporary art investigates interdisciplinary themes that are prevalent in everyday life/culture, and challenges viewers/students to examine worldly issues and formulate their own beliefs. This qualitative research project explored past and current art education curricula, and focused on how contemporary art can be incorporated into the art classroom in order to update art education curriculum into the 21st century. It builds upon research about contemporary art and connects it to effective teaching practices that aim to push the traditional boundaries of art education by promoting student understandings of art, world, and self.
Matthew focused on performance art and the role of the body as the medium in artmaking. He researched Robin Rhode’s chalk-drawing street performances and Erwin Wurm’s one-minute sculptures. Focusing on reverse graffiti, an ecological reductive artmaking process by removing dirt from a surface, Gabe integrated ecology with artmaking and devised interdisciplinary K-12 lesson ideas. He investigated Moose and related ecological themes. We engaged in historical and theoretical research and conducted an analysis of documents (e.g., journals, books, online databases, websites, artwork). Our research and ideas about updating art education and teaching with contemporary art will be presented at upcoming academic conferences and published as scholarly articles.

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