It suddenly struck me that it would probably be interesting to let Art as Therapy meet Art as Experience – DO ANY OF YOU, my dear readers, HAVE EXPERTISE ON JOHN DEWEY’S AESTHETICS?
The function of criticism is the reeducation of perception of works of art; it is an auxiliary in the process, a difficult process, of learning to see and hear. The conception that its business is to appraise, to judge in the legal and moral sense, arrests the perception of those who are influenced by the criticism that assumes this task. The moral office of criticism is performed indirectly. The individual who has an enlarged and quickened experience is one who should make for himself his own appraisal. . .The moral function of art itself is to remove prejudice, do away with the scales that keep the eye from seeing, tear away the veils due to wont and custom, perfect the power to perceive. The critic’s office is to further this work, performed by the object of art.
John Dewey: Art as Experience, Ch. 13
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Dewey considered how we create art, from the same “place” of everyday human invention and he extended the concept of experience to one in which art comes to encompass a much greater and democratic field, beyond the academy. He might be seen as an instrumentalist from some standpoint, but he really foresaw the infinity of meanings we find in artworks and in the creating of art. Do you see therapeutic uses as an extension of Dewey’s ideas, or as an example?
Thank you, Sheila.
I do not yet know how I will use Dewey, I do only know a tiny bit of his work. When I read him, many years ago, it was related to his thoughts on education.
I am interested in finding a way to discuss art as a part of our everyday life, and not as a field for specialists, and somehow I have an idea that Dewey can help me here …