International Journal of Art & Design Education

Art and World View: Escaping the Formalist Labyrinth

Volume 15.3   1996



This paper attempts to identify the theoretical and practical issues for developing the secondary art curriculum for dealing with the meaning of works of art in relationship to the demands of teaching attainment target 2 of the English National Curriculum for art and the new GCSE syllabuses to be introduced in September, 1996. The first section deals with the theoretical issues related to art, meaning and life where formalism is considered inadequate for understanding and responding to works of art and rejected in favour of a more multi-dimensional approach. The second section models some classroom strategies related to meaning that emerge from the previous theoretical discussion. Searleis [1983] distinction in the √ądirection of fiti of perception between 'mind-to-worldi and √ąworld-to-mindi is used to establish a methodological principle for understanding and dealing with meaning in works of art. The paper argues the need for both approaches to be used in a complementary way so that a knowledge-seeking rather than a self-seeking attitude to the meaning of works of art is nurtured in pupils.