Soft Boundaries: Re-Visioning the Arts and Aesthetics in American Education
Claire Janice Detels and Ralph Alexander Smith
Bergin & Garvey, 1999
Book Description: Americaneducation and culture are suffering from an imbalance in which there is an overemphasis on basic, quantifiable skills and knowledge and a de-emphasis of more creative areas of the humanities, especially the arts and aesthetics. Detels indicates that the marginalization of the arts and aesthetics in American education has been caused by a "hard-boundaried" paradigm that has come to dominate American education. According to this paradigm, the arts are wrongly viewed and taught as separate, unconnected disciplines of music, visual arts, dance, and theater, while their intimate connections to each other and to aesthetic experience and life in general are completely unrepresented.The way out of this crisis is to change paradigms, from a hard-boundaried, single-minded valuation of specialization to a more soft-boundaried curriculum that allows for specialized education in individual art forms as well as widespread interdisciplinary integration of the arts with each other and with general education at the K-12 and college levels. Without such a change, we will be unable to equip our students with the necessary skills to understand and communicate about the increasingly complex, sensually immersive artistic media and forms of the future.Topics include: The Boundaries of the Arts and Aesthetics; Uses of History in Some Recent Aesthetic Writings; Boundaries in Music; Fragmentation in the Musical Field; Soft Boundaries and Relatedness: A New Paradigm for Understanding Music; Soft Boundaries, Autonomist/Formalist Aesthetics, and Music Theory; Soft Boundaries and the Future; Integrating History, Theory, and Practice in the College Music Curriculum; Towards Integrative, Interdisciplinary Education in the Arts and Aesthetics; Virtual Reality and Aesthetic Competence in the 21st Century
Conversations on Art and Performance
Bonnie Marranca and Gautam Dasgupta, editors
Johns Hopkins University Press/PAJ Books, 1999
Book Description: In this collection of more than three-dozen conversations on contemporary art and ideas, Marranca and Dasgupta bring together influential performers, video artists, playwrights, filmmakers, composers, and critics to talk about the artistic process, the perception of artworks by audiences, and the complex aesthetic, social, and political interrelationships that artworks reflect in the life of a culture. At the center of inquiry are issues that have preoccupied arts discussion in the last quarter of the century, addressed here by the very artists and thinkers responsible for extending the boundaries of their chosen fields in their search for new artistic and critical languages. Conversations takes up a broad range of key questions. What is the nature of presence? How does one see? Where does meaning reside? Topics include the creative process, the impact of criticism and historical legacies, arts funding and education, the modernism/ postmodernism debates, and the special tensions between private and public spheres and between personal statement and the need for communication. In touchstones that are surprisingly similar, what emerge from these conversations are the high standards and intellectual rigor these artists bring to their work, commitment to artistic ideals, and the demands placed on the artists as well as the public. Contributors include John Cage; Gary Hill; Laurie Anderson; Edward Said; Susan Sontag; Umberto Eco; John Ashbery; Robert Jay Lifton; Philip Glass; Stanley Kauffmann; Edwin Denby; Mac Wellman; Maria Irene Fornes; Trisha Brown; Carolee Schneemann; Robert Wilson; Richard Foreman; Herbert Blau; John Guare; Judith Malina; Elizabeth LeCompte; and Wallace Shawn.
Acting in Concert: Music, Community, and Political Action
Rutgers University Press, 1998
Book Description: In this lively account of politics and popular music, Mark Mattern develops the concept "acting in concert," a metaphor for community-based political action through music. Through three detailed case studies of Chilean, Cajun and American Indian popular music. Mattern explores the way popular musicians forge community and lead members of their communities in several distinct kinds of political action that would be difficult or impossible among individuals who are not linked by communal ties. More than just entertainment, Mattern argues that popular music can serve as a social glue for bringing together a multitude of voices that might otherwise remain silent, and that political action through music can increase the potential for relatively marginalized people to choose and determine their own fate.
Excerpted Book Review: "Acting in Concert is a powerful work that opens up new ways of thinking about the public dimensions of music. In an era when music is all too often packaged, standardized, and drained of energy and political passion, Mattern shows through vivid case studies and probing discussion of large ideas like politics and community that people's participation in the creation and experience of music can be a vital resource for democracy."(Harry C. Boyte, co-author of Building America)