International Journal of Art & Design Education

Structure and Magic in Discipline-based Art Education

Volume 7.2   1988



Eisner proposes that there are four major things that people do with art. They make it. They look at it. They understand its place in culture over time. They make judgments about its quality. In Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) these four operations constitute art production, art criticism, art history, and aesthetics. In this paper Elliot Eisner puts DBAE in perspective identifying its roots in an attempt to dispel the fears of some who, in the late 1980's, were concerned about its message. He proposes that a discipline based approach unlocks the magic in art and reveals what it can do for us if we know how to read its form. Without magic there is no art. Without structure there is no access.