Over the years I've heard a lot of nonsense spoken about art. There are some excellent critics out there too, but I sometimes think it is the nonsense that might be putting people off. This train of thought goes back to a previous blog, where I think some people are put off art because of its perceived elitism.
I've seen countless folks, standing in front of works of art of international importance, with no idea why! This doesn't make them stupid; far from it. It takes an open mind to go to gallery when you don't know much about art. It's incredibly difficult to get interested in something when you're not sure what it's about.
There are plenty of people who aren't part of the "art world" who want to know more about art. How do I know this? Simple. I've been round galleries in Britain, Italy, France and Spain many many times with my students, friends and family. Whenever I have found myself explaining a work of art I look around and can see many other English speaking visitors listening in. They are always keen to hear more. They've got bored with the facts and figures and dates quoted in the guidebook. They want to know about the heart of the art. They want to know why I'm showing this to my students, or why I'm so excited about explaining it, or why I've taken my sketch book out to sketch it. They are intrigued.
Even when you have a working knowledge of art history you are still faced with things that are new and unfamiliar. How do we engage with them?
I turn to Rod Taylor, a brilliant man in the world of Art education.
Rod created a model called " content form process mood". I, and many other art teachers, have used this model with our students for many years to help them engage with art. It can help them form a critique of their own work too.
So here it is. I have a pdf here for you to download based on Rod Taylor's "content form process mood"
If you are a student of art, GCSE, A level, degree level, it will be worth looking at.
But it also works for anyone who finds themselves wandering about in a gallery, with no idea what they're looking at! I urge to to print this off and pop this in your guidebook.
You might be amazed at what you discover.