What the Brain Can Tell Us About Art
By ERIC R. KANDEL
Published: April 12, 2013 
"…Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together? …"  
"… Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, I tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others.
The portraiture that flourished in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century is a good place to start. Not only does this modernist school hold a prominent place in the history of art, it consists of just three major artists — Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele — which makes it easier to study in depth.
As a group, these artists sought to depict the unconscious, instinctual strivings of the people in their portraits, but each painter developed a distinctive way of using facial expressions and hand and body gestures to communicate those mental processes.
Their efforts to get at the truth beneath the appearance of an individual both paralleled and were influenced by similar efforts at the time in the fields of biology and psychoanalysis. Thus the portraits of the modernists in the period known as “Vienna 1900” offer a great example of how artistic, psychological and scientific insights can enrich one another.
The idea that truth lies beneath the surface derives from Carl von Rokitansky, a gifted pathologist who was dean of the Vienna School of Medicine in the middle of the 19th century. Baron von Rokitansky compared what his clinician colleague Josef Skoda heard and saw at the bedsides of his patients with autopsy findings after their deaths. This systematic correlation of clinical and pathological findings taught them that only by going deep below the skin could they understand the nature of illness.
This same notion — that truth is hidden below the surface — was soon steeped in the thinking of Sigmund Freud, who trained at the Vienna School of Medicine in the Rokitansky era and who used psychoanalysis to delve beneath the conscious minds of his patients and reveal their inner feelings. That, too, is what the Austrian modernist painters did in their portraits.
Klimt’s drawings display a nuanced intuition of female sexuality and convey his understanding of sexuality’s link with aggression, picking up on things that even Freud missed. Kokoschka and Schiele grasped the idea that insight into another begins with understanding of oneself. In honest self-portraits with his lover Alma Mahler, Kokoschka captured himself as hopelessly anxious, certain that he would be rejected — which he was. Schiele, the youngest of the group, revealed his vulnerability more deeply, rendering himself, often nude and exposed, as subject to the existential crises of modern life.
Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together?”… Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, I tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others.
The portraiture that flourished in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century is a good place to start. Not only does this modernist school hold a prominent place in the history of art, it consists of just three major artists — Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele — which makes it easier to study in depth.
As a group, these artists sought to depict the unconscious, instinctual strivings of the people in their portraits, but each painter developed a distinctive way of using facial expressions and hand and body gestures to communicate those mental processes.
Their efforts to get at the truth beneath the appearance of an individual both paralleled and were influenced by similar efforts at the time in the fields of biology and psychoanalysis. Thus the portraits of the modernists in the period known as “Vienna 1900” offer a great example of how artistic, psychological and scientific insights can enrich one another.
The idea that truth lies beneath the surface derives from Carl von Rokitansky, a gifted pathologist who was dean of the Vienna School of Medicine in the middle of the 19th century. Baron von Rokitansky compared what his clinician colleague Josef Skoda heard and saw at the bedsides of his patients with autopsy findings after their deaths. This systematic correlation of clinical and pathological findings taught them that only by going deep below the skin could they understand the nature of illness.
This same notion — that truth is hidden below the surface — was soon steeped in the thinking of Sigmund Freud, who trained at the Vienna School of Medicine in the Rokitansky era and who used psychoanalysis to delve beneath the conscious minds of his patients and reveal their inner feelings. That, too, is what the Austrian modernist painters did in their portraits.
Klimt’s drawings display a nuanced intuition of female sexuality and convey his understanding of sexuality’s link with aggression, picking up on things that even Freud missed. Kokoschka and Schiele grasped the idea that insight into another begins with understanding of oneself. In honest self-portraits with his lover Alma Mahler, Kokoschka captured himself as hopelessly anxious, certain that he would be rejected — which he was. Schiele, the youngest of the group, revealed his vulnerability more deeply, rendering himself, often nude and exposed, as subject to the existential crises of modern life.
Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together? …”        

What the Brain Can Tell Us About Art

By ERIC R. KANDEL

Published: April 12, 2013 

"…Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together? …"  

"… Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, I tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others.

The portraiture that flourished in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century is a good place to start. Not only does this modernist school hold a prominent place in the history of art, it consists of just three major artists — Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele — which makes it easier to study in depth.

As a group, these artists sought to depict the unconscious, instinctual strivings of the people in their portraits, but each painter developed a distinctive way of using facial expressions and hand and body gestures to communicate those mental processes.

Their efforts to get at the truth beneath the appearance of an individual both paralleled and were influenced by similar efforts at the time in the fields of biology and psychoanalysis. Thus the portraits of the modernists in the period known as “Vienna 1900” offer a great example of how artistic, psychological and scientific insights can enrich one another.

The idea that truth lies beneath the surface derives from Carl von Rokitansky, a gifted pathologist who was dean of the Vienna School of Medicine in the middle of the 19th century. Baron von Rokitansky compared what his clinician colleague Josef Skoda heard and saw at the bedsides of his patients with autopsy findings after their deaths. This systematic correlation of clinical and pathological findings taught them that only by going deep below the skin could they understand the nature of illness.

This same notion — that truth is hidden below the surface — was soon steeped in the thinking of Sigmund Freud, who trained at the Vienna School of Medicine in the Rokitansky era and who used psychoanalysis to delve beneath the conscious minds of his patients and reveal their inner feelings. That, too, is what the Austrian modernist painters did in their portraits.

Klimt’s drawings display a nuanced intuition of female sexuality and convey his understanding of sexuality’s link with aggression, picking up on things that even Freud missed. Kokoschka and Schiele grasped the idea that insight into another begins with understanding of oneself. In honest self-portraits with his lover Alma Mahler, Kokoschka captured himself as hopelessly anxious, certain that he would be rejected — which he was. Schiele, the youngest of the group, revealed his vulnerability more deeply, rendering himself, often nude and exposed, as subject to the existential crises of modern life.

Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together?”… Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, I tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others.

The portraiture that flourished in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century is a good place to start. Not only does this modernist school hold a prominent place in the history of art, it consists of just three major artists — Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele — which makes it easier to study in depth.

As a group, these artists sought to depict the unconscious, instinctual strivings of the people in their portraits, but each painter developed a distinctive way of using facial expressions and hand and body gestures to communicate those mental processes.

Their efforts to get at the truth beneath the appearance of an individual both paralleled and were influenced by similar efforts at the time in the fields of biology and psychoanalysis. Thus the portraits of the modernists in the period known as “Vienna 1900” offer a great example of how artistic, psychological and scientific insights can enrich one another.

The idea that truth lies beneath the surface derives from Carl von Rokitansky, a gifted pathologist who was dean of the Vienna School of Medicine in the middle of the 19th century. Baron von Rokitansky compared what his clinician colleague Josef Skoda heard and saw at the bedsides of his patients with autopsy findings after their deaths. This systematic correlation of clinical and pathological findings taught them that only by going deep below the skin could they understand the nature of illness.

This same notion — that truth is hidden below the surface — was soon steeped in the thinking of Sigmund Freud, who trained at the Vienna School of Medicine in the Rokitansky era and who used psychoanalysis to delve beneath the conscious minds of his patients and reveal their inner feelings. That, too, is what the Austrian modernist painters did in their portraits.

Klimt’s drawings display a nuanced intuition of female sexuality and convey his understanding of sexuality’s link with aggression, picking up on things that even Freud missed. Kokoschka and Schiele grasped the idea that insight into another begins with understanding of oneself. In honest self-portraits with his lover Alma Mahler, Kokoschka captured himself as hopelessly anxious, certain that he would be rejected — which he was. Schiele, the youngest of the group, revealed his vulnerability more deeply, rendering himself, often nude and exposed, as subject to the existential crises of modern life.

Such real-world collisions of artistic, medical and biological modes of thought raise the question: How can art and science be brought together? …”        

Thick Skin

Reblogged from Sunday, January 6, 2013
Dennis Overbye, in his book Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos wrote, “The reward for a new idea is not applause but argument from people who take you seriously enough to try to destroy you.”  There’s a lot of competition in science. (Apparently a lot of animosity too).
Part of the process of teaching art is the formal critique.
Here’s the thing about critiques. Any critical comment about your work that makes you uncomfortable, anxious, or wince internally is something you already know. You probably just didn’t want to hear it or admit it to yourself, but there it is. Someone went and said it out loud.

image
Rhinoceros skin. I’m pretty sure the slings and arrows of outrageous critiques 
would bounce off this stuff.

Elbert Hubbard* said, “The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.”
So here’s the other thing. It’s important to do good work, to develop a strong sense of who you are, how your work is made, and what your work is about so that when criticism does come, you can respond from a position of strength and calm rather than react from doubt and uncertainty.  And remember when others are critiquing your work, regardless of what position they may hold in the art world, they are most often talking about themselves.
image
Alligator skin. This one would likely bite back.
image
Elephant skin. The Elephant represents strength and steadfastness. 
Pretty handy in a critique.

image
*Elbert Hubbard also said, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” 
Thanks Elbert. I guess that’s a pretty good defense against criticism too. 

Benjamin Zander - How Fascinating

Painting involves mastery of medium as well as a desire to express, depict, communicate, etc. The video above gives an excellent description of the sequential learning process of music that can be viewed in a similar way to learning how to paint. The entire video is entertaining and worth watching, but the relevant part starts at 10:25 with the most import information beginning at 12:00.

Also see…

Conscious Competence Learning Model

http://www.businessballs.com/consciouscompetencelearningmodel.htm

1 - unconscious incompetence

  • the person is not aware of the existence or relevance of the skill area
  • the person is not aware that they have a particular deficiency in the area concerned
  • the person might deny the relevance or usefulness of the new skill
  • the person must become conscious of their incompetence before development of the new skill or learning can begin
  • the aim of the trainee or learner and the trainer or teacher is to move the person into the ‘conscious competence’ stage, by demonstrating the skill or ability and the benefit that it will bring to the person’s effectiveness

2 - conscious incompetence

  • the person becomes aware of the existence and relevance of the skill
  • the person is therefore also aware of their deficiency in this area, ideally by attempting or trying to use the skill
  • the person realises that by improving their skill or ability in this area their effectiveness will improve
  • ideally the person has a measure of the extent of their deficiency in the relevant skill, and a measure of what level of skill is required for their own competence
  • the person ideally makes a commitment to learn and practice the new skill, and to move to the ‘conscious competence’ stage

3 - conscious competence

  • the person achieves ‘conscious competence’ in a skill when they can perform it reliably at will
  • the person will need to concentrate and think in order to perform the skill
  • the person can perform the skill without assistance
  • the person will not reliably perform the skill unless thinking about it - the skill is not yet ‘second nature’ or ‘automatic’
  • the person should be able to demonstrate the skill to another, but is unlikely to be able to teach it well to another person
  • the person should ideally continue to practise the new skill, and if appropriate commit to becoming ‘unconsciously competent’ at the new skill
  • practise is the singlemost effective way to move from stage 3 to 4 

4 - unconscious competence

  • the skill becomes so practised that it enters the unconscious parts of the brain - it becomes ‘second nature’
  • common examples are driving, sports activities, typing, manual dexterity tasks, listening and communicating
  • it becomes possible for certain skills to be performed while doing something else, for example, knitting while reading a book
  • the person might now be able to teach others in the skill concerned, although after some time of being unconsciously competent the person might actually have difficulty in explaining exactly how they do it - the skill has become largely instinctual
  • this arguably gives rise to the need for long-standing unconscious competence to be checked periodically against new standards

See also FLOW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29 

(Source: poptech.org)

Post Modernism


ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES

A GUIDE PREPARED BY STUDENTS FOR STUDENTS

The guides to anthropological theories and approaches listed below have been prepared by graduate students of the University of Alabama under the direction of Dr. Michael D. Murphy.  As always, !Caveat Retis Viator! (Let the Net Traveller Beware!)

Postmodernism and Its Critics

http://anthropology.ua.edu/cultures/cultures.php?culture=Postmodernism%20and%20Its%20Critics

Robert Stewart and Karla Wesley and Shannon Weiss

(Note: authorship is arranged stratigraphically with the most recent author listed first)


Basic Premises:

Postmodernism is highly debated even among postmodernists themselves. For an initial characterization of its basic premises, consider one of the founding postmodernists Anthropologists, Clifford Geertz: “anthropological writings are themselves interpretations and second and third ones to boot” (Geertz 1973).

A more detailed explanation, anthropological critic Melford Spiro’s gave a synopsis of the basic tenets of postmodernism:

“The postmodernist critique of science consists of two interrelated arguments, epistemological and ideological. Both are based on subjectivity. First, because of the subjectivity of the human object, anthropology, according to the epistemological argument cannot be a science; and in any event the subjectivity of the human subject precludes the possibility of science discovering objective truth. Second, since objectivity is an illusion, science according to the ideological argument, subverts oppressed groups, females, ethnics, third-world peoples (Spiro 1996)….”

.


TRANSITIONS IN ART EDUCATION; A SEARCH FOR MEANING

By Ronald W. Neperud

http://www.uic.edu/classes/ad/ad382/sites/AEA/AEA_05/AEA_05a.html

"Postmodernism has led, in effect, to an examined questioning of artistic or other discourse, which runs counter to blind acceptance of expert pronouncements.
While postmodernism is linked to the outcomes of modernist practices, it differs fundamentally in its relationship to society; it is that difference that is at the heart of a postmodernist art education….
Postmodernism is about language. About how it controls, how it determines meaning, and how we try to exert control through language. About how language restricts, closes down, insists that it stands for some thing. Postmodernism is about how “we” are defined within that language, and within specific historical, social, cultural matrices….”

"Postmodernism demands that the audience of art become involved in the discursive process of discerning meaning. This postmodernist view of art means a very different approach to teaching about art than was contained in our previous misconceptions that meaning was given by the high priests—critics, aestheticians, and historians—who were the keepers of the truth or meaning. Instead, meaning is inextricably connected to the tangled and changing web of context to be constructed by the audience. This means that there is no single meaning or truth, but one that is constructed by all who seek to understand art….”
"1. The content of art studies is less likely to be accepted as directly given by experts (artists, critics, aestheticians, art historians, textbook writers, curriculum specialists, and other authoritative sources).

2. Knowledge is more apt to be socially constructed by teachers and students; knowledge is not accepted as given, but is interpreted according to student and teacher needs.

3. Content is historically and culturally situated and does not exist as a universal truth with no connection to life of particular times and places.

4. There is a willingness to accept subjective, personally oriented experiences with art as a legitimate source of information.

5. The singular focus on museum and gallery fine art has been supplemented by culturally diverse creations of “outsiders,” folk artists, people with disabilities, the institutionalized, people who make things at home, yard art, and others.

6. The concept of a linear foundational art instruction has been questioned: in particular, traditional basic design and drawing disciplines are no longer regarded as the sole prerequisites for creative development.

7. Studio-dominated art activities have been supplemented by aesthetic, art history, critical, and multicultural studies.

8. A focus on the meaning of art has supplemented, if not replaced, structural, formalist studies.

9. Teachers are increasingly regarded as legitimate interpreters, as well as creators and translators, of art instructional content; they are no longer the medium through which information created by others passes….”

CONCLUSIONS
There is little doubt that ours is an era of changes in which we are witness to a kaleidoscope of events that shift before our eyes.

At first glance, it might seem that the art teacher is continually buffeted about in the social and aesthetic hurricane of current events. But we need neither to preach universal aesthetic truths or to skip from one relativistic social revelation to another. An alternative scenario recognizes and makes sense out of changes and reconstructs new approaches to art education. We are always in a transitional stage, but this recognition allows us to intentionally recognize and accommodate both traditions and change in a new reconstruction through recognizing and engaging students in a search for meaning.

“Transitions in art education are reflective of both content and context. What we call content, whether it be design principles, the study of the things that people create, or particular aesthetic value, is historically and contextually situated, which means that context is always present in what we choose to label content….”