International Journal of Art & Design Education

Critical Discourse and Art Criticism Instruction

Volume 19.1   2000



In formulating models of art criticism for schools, educators in the United States have focused most of their attention upon the language of art criticism. Typical prescriptions for art criticism present a series of activities such as describing, analysing, interpreting, and evaluating, activities that are linked to the performance of specific kinds of statements. The widespread acceptance of such models raises questions about their accuracy as reflections of actual critical discourse, and their practicality and efficacy as prescriptions for classroom instruction. In this article, I argue that current models of criticism both distort the actual discourse of critics and they force educators to rely upon a problematic instructional method: classroom recitation. After critiquing this method, I conclude by suggesting that critical inquiry, rather than critical discourse, is a more fruitful concept for structuring art criticism instruction.