Academy of Fine Arts in Education, in collaboration with Basisburo Centre for Contemporary Art Education, 2009–2010
Discussing contemporary art is no simple matter. What knowledge can one transfer if there is so little one can be sure of? Where is one to start? The world of contemporary art is huge and multifaceted by its very nature. Are we to view art teachers as professionals with a monopoly on authoritative interpretations or can the student also make valuable contributions? And, last but not least, what is to be done about the often inadequate standard of study materials? These are the art education-related issues that formed the backdrop to our decision to introduce Terry Barrett to the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts in Education (Academie voor Beeldende Vormgeving, BVO) and to initiate the No Landscapes project.
No Landscapes introduces students to Barrett's unique teaching method that involves discussing contemporary art in such a way as to activate and open up the responses of people who do not encounter art and culture on a daily basis. Students take works by three renowned Dutch artists Jeroen Kooijmans, Luna Maurer and Robert Wevers on their visits to schools and healthcare institutions in Amsterdam. Here they invite children, elderly people and young people with developmental problems to respond to the art works. A selection of the participants’ responses appears in the publication Kunst werkt, which was compiled by Barrett. This book also includes images and reflections from other people along with interviews with the artists involved. It seeks to inspire students and teaching staff in art, primary and secondary education in their contemplation of contemporary art.
About Terry Barrett
Terry Barrett is an American art critic and professor of art education at the University of North Texas, USA. He is also Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University, with an honorary appointment to the Department of Art where he received a Distinguished Teaching Award for his educational practice. He has produced many books, anthology chapters and articles about photographic media, contemporary art, art criticism and aesthetics, and about the teaching of these subjects; this work has had a significant impact on the field. Barrett is the author of Why is That Art?, Criticizing Photographs, Criticizing Art, and Talking about Student Art. His most recent book Making Art was published in 2010. Barrett is a visiting scholar, critic, juror, and educator at many universities and art museums in the US and internationally.
AIR is a programme of the Art Practice and Development research group in collaboration with the institutes of the Amsterdam University of the Arts / www.air.ahk.nl. Results of the Artist in Residence programme are published internally and externally in the magazine ON AIR.
Interview with Terry Barrett