Category Archives: education

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957

By Helen Molesworth (2015)

In 1933, John Rice founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina as an experiment in making artistic experience central to learning. Though it operated for only 24 years, this pioneering school played a significant role in fostering avant-garde art, music, dance, and poetry, and an astonishing number of important artists taught or studied there. Among the instructors were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Karen Karnes, M. C. Richards, and Willem de Kooning, and students included Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly. Leap Before You Look is a singular exploration of this legendary school and of the work of the artists who spent time there. Scholars from a variety of fields contribute original essays about diverse aspects of the College—spanning everything from its farm program to the influence of Bauhaus principles—and about the people and ideas that gave it such a lasting impact. In addition, catalogue entries highlight selected works, including writings, musical compositions, visual arts, and crafts. The book’s fresh approach and rich illustration program convey the atmosphere of creativity and experimentation that was unique to Black Mountain College, and that served as an inspiration to so many

Posted in art, education, history

Assessment in Creative Disciplines: Quantifying and Qualifying the Aesthetic

By David Chase, Jill L. Ferguson, and J. Joseph Hoey IV (2014)
Assessment in Creative Disciplines: Quantifying and Qualifying the Aesthetic explores creativity and its assessment using easy-to-grasp concepts; concrete examples of arts education and assessment models and theories, including digital education models and e-portfolios; and case studies to form a blueprint that administrators, educators, practitioners, researchers, and students can use to assess endeavors in art, dance, design, and music, both on an individual basis and as a collective (course, cohort, department, program, etc.).

Posted in education, feedback

Dancers Talking Dance

By Larry Lavender (1996)
Dancers Talking Dance describes how to teach students to formulate critical responses to the dances they see, create, and perform. Written for teachers and dancers at all levels, the book outlines a five-step, systematic approach to critical evaluation. To bring the approach to life the author interweaves practical, how-to examples with explanations of the theories underlying each step. Readers will learn how to help students observe, describe, analyze, write, and talk more effectively about dances and other works of art.

Posted in education, feedback

Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer

By Liz Lerman (2011)
In this wide-ranging collection of essays and articles, Liz Lerman reflects on her life-long exploration of dance as a vehicle for human insight and understanding of the world around us. Lerman has been described by the Washington Post as “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art.” Here, she combines broad outlooks on culture and society with practical applications and accessible stories. Her expansive scope encompasses the craft, structure, and inspiration that bring theatrical works to life as well as the applications of art in fields as diverse as faith, aging, particle physics, and human rights law. Offering readers a gentle manifesto describing methods that bring a horizontal focus to bear on a hierarchical world, this is the perfect book for anyone curious about the possible role for art in politics, science, community, motherhood, and the media.

Posted in art, autobiography, education

Art Critiques: A Guide

By James Elkins (2011)
This is a guidebook for art students at the college level (BA, BFA, MFA, PhD). “Elkins introduces refreshing commonsense in the tired and tiresome activity of the critique of art works by students. A dissection geared to avoid or delay a future autopsy of the field, the book uses case studies that teach as much about ‘how to’ as they do about ‘how not to.’ A nice and often funny exercise in debunking, Art Critiques: A Guide is also a fascinating analysis of the successes and failures in communication among people.” -Luis Camnitzer

Posted in art, education

Critical Response Process


By Liz Lerman and John Borstel (2003)
Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process is a multi-step, group system for giving and receiving useful feedback on creative processes and artistic works-in-progress. This book offers a detailed introduction to the Process, beginning with its three roles and four core steps.

Posted in art, education, feedback, theory

Innovations in Art and Design Series

Art and Visual Culture series from Routledge:

Network Art: Practices and Positions (2005)

Invisible Connections: Dance, Choreography and Internet Communities (2005)

Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research (2005)

New Practices – New Pedagogies: A Reader (2005)

New Visions In Performance (2004)

Digital Creativity: A Reader (2002)

Posted in art, culture, design, education, history, media, theory

New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader

Edited by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun and Thomas W. Keenan (2005)
A comprehensive anthology of original and classic essays that explore the tensions of old and new in digital culture. Leading international media scholars and cultural theorists interrogate new media like the Internet, digital video, and MP3s against the backdrop of earlier media such as television, film, photography, and print. The essays provide new benchmarks for evaluating all those claims–political, social, ethical–made about the digital age. Committed to historical research and to theoretical innovation, they suggest that in the light of digital programmability, seemingly forgotten moments in the history of the media we glibly call old can be rediscovered and transformed. The many topics explored in provocative volume include websites, webcams, the rise and fall of dotcom mania, Internet journalism, the open source movement, and computer viruses.

Posted in art, education, history, media, technology, theory

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western Man

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western ManBy Joseph Beuys (1993)
Joseph Beuys, artist and scholar, was the most influential thinker among artists of the postwar generation. He inspired the avant-garde with his impassioned appeals for democratic anarchy, and actually founded a string of ‘free universities’ across Europe. His credo was “Every man is an artist.” In 1974, he accepted an invitation to visit the U.S. His travels too him to New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and he called the trip – fact an extended performance piece – “Energy Plan for the Western Man.” Beuys’ writings have never before been collected in any language, and most of the interviews and speeches in Joseph Beuys in America have never before appeared in book form.

Posted in art, counterculture, education, history, interview, myth, philosophy, politics, science

Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse

Cranbrook DesignBy Katherine and Michael McCoy (1990)
A book that documents Cranbrook’s Design Department faculty, student, and alumni work from 1980-1990. Although not defined by a style, the Cranbrook design philosophy has been influential in product, graphic and furniture design. Products have been treated as sensual objects to be interpreted. “We’ve tried to recognize that products carry the mythology of the culture,” said Michael McCoy, chairman of the design department with his wife, Katherine.

Posted in art, Cranbrook, design, education, media, semiotics, theory, typography