Deweys Aesthetics in Art Education

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Dewey's art education


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    Kazuyo Nakamura

    Faculty of EducationHiroshima University

    Abstract. On the occasion of Deweys sesquicentennial anniversary, Kazuyo Nakamura exploresDeweys aesthetics, which holds the plurality of art and culture in high regard. Nakamura develops atheoretical foundation for art education in the present age of globalization based on educational insightsdrawn from Deweys aesthetics. The theme of this essay unfolds based on three topics: Deweys viewof the educational value of art in general education, the fundamental viewpoint of art in relation todemocracy, and the discussion of the educational aspect of individuality and community with respectto the experience of art. Based on Deweys aesthetics, this essay presents new perspectives on arteducation that emphasize the realization of personal values, development of intelligent visual literacy,and enhancement of the quality of communication of art, in the context of globalization.


    In 1919, John Dewey was invited to lecture at the Imperial University inTokyo. Along with his wife, Alice, he traveled around Japan, visiting manyplaces.1 Their letters from Japan to their daughter Evelyn reveal their cosmopolitantemperament, which was unusual at a time when Western empires were the mainagents of globalization. Instead of viewing Japanese culture from the standpointof their own culture, they attempted to understand and experience things forwhat they were in Japan, as inherently Japanese.2 The letters also reveal theirserious interest in Japanese art and culture; during their short stint in Japan,they participated in several tea ceremonies, visited Kabuki and Noh theaters, andfrequented museums and art stores.

    Deweys attitude toward Japanese culture reveals the central place that artisticand cultural pluralism occupies in his work on aesthetics; Deweys work in thisarea can in fact be viewed as one of the most significant factors for advancing arteducation on a global scale. On the occasion of the sesquicentennial anniversaryof Deweys birth, I intend in this essay to shed light on Deweys aesthetics byattempting to gain a perspective on art education for schools in the present age ofglobalization.

    Scholars have noted that the globalization of our time is not a newphenomenon. In the case of Japanese education, globalization was initiated in theMeiji era (18681912), when schools underwent modernization through adoptingthe Western system.

    1. John Dewey and Alice C. Dewey, Letters from China and Japan (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1920).

    2. For example, the letter they wrote on April 15 in Kyoto contains the following observation: Thepaintings on the walls are mostly ruined, but the kakemonas and the screens and the makemonas, thoseare wonderful and I am glad to say that we have got over seeing them as grotesque, and we feel theirbeauty. Dewey and Dewey, Letters from China and Japan.

    EDUCATIONAL THEORY Volume 59 Number 4 2009 2009 Board of Trustees University of Illinois

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    Globalization at present is very different from the time when it impliedWesternization. Today, globalization is characterized by new global culturalnetworks of interconnections and interdependence.3 This kind of globalizationhas significantly transformed several aspects of educational practices. In Japan, forexample, these changes include an education network that extends beyond nationalboundaries.4 This can be seen in the construction of foreign affiliated schools; theaccessibility of significant interactions with different cultures in schools, whichcan be primarily attributed to the increased movement of people across nationalborders; the increase in the number of international activities included in theschool curriculum; and the rising influence of global educational organizationssuch as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), conductedby the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).5

    In this new situation, the normal activities comprising art education in schoolsthat pertain to globalization have expanded. The most pressing issue currentlyfacing the field of art education, however, concerns how these activities can becarried out in ways that promote the formation of a personality type capable offunctioning well in a world of accelerated globalization. I attempt to tackle thisissue here by drawing insight from Deweys discussion on art, developed mainlyin his book Art as Experience. As noted in Philip Jacksons study, Dewey talkedabout gaining an experience of art that is educative in nature.6 Further, Deweysaesthetics addresses the educational aspects of individuality and community; hedevoted much effort to articulating a type of experience by means of whichan individual can develop an intimate relationship with the social and culturalenvironment. Deweys aesthetics thus specifies a direction for art education that iscapable of enhancing human relationships and personalities in ways that improvehuman life on a global scale, without lapsing into particularism or universalism.

    The theme of this essay can be outlined in three stages. First, I considerDeweys view of the educational value inherent in art; my purpose in thisdiscussion is to develop the view that art education plays an integral role in generaleducation within a global context. Second, I examine Deweys fundamental views

    3. David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton, Global Transformation:Politics, Economics and Culture (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1999).

    4. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Report of the InvestigativeCommission on Promotion of International Education in Elementary and Secondary Education (2005), menu/shingi/chousa/shotou/026/houkoku/05080101/001.htm.

    5. The new education policy stated in the course of study for elementary and secondary educationannounced in 2008 was formed by taking into account PISA results.

    6. Philip W. Jackson, If We Took Deweys Aesthetics Seriously, How Would the Arts Be Taught? inTheNew Scholarship on Dewey, ed. Jim Garrison (London: Kluwer Academic, 1995); and Philip W. Jackson,John Dewey and the Lessons of Art (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1998).

    KAZUYO NAKAMURA is Associate Professor of Art Education at Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama1-1-1, Higashi-hiroshima, 739-8524, Japan; e-mail . Her primary areasof scholarship are aesthetic education and the philosophy of John Dewey.

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    of art in relation to democracy in order to consider ways of advancing art educationin the age of globalization toward democratic ideals. Third, I explore the role ofindividuality and community in Deweys aesthetics in relation to the notion of anaesthetic experience. This is aimed at devising approaches to art education thatcan prove effective in developing the childs ability to express him- or herself inways that can enhance the quality of the community in a context of globalization.

    The Educational Value of Art

    Deweys discussion of these issues in Art as Experience is constructed onthe platform of his empirical naturalism. He intended to open new possibilitiesfor human experience by reestablishing the continuity between meaning, value,and spirituality, on one side, and the physical, biological, and sensuous, onthe other. He thus hoped to heal the break that occurred as a result of thedevelopment of modernism. Dewey criticized several theories of art based ondualism, including imitation theory, illusion theory, and cognitive theory. Inchapter 12, for example, which is entitled The Challenge to Philosophy, Deweytook up Platos metaphor of a ladder and launches a critical attack on the ideaof a structure that involves successive rungs leading from raw sense experienceupward, but with no provision for returning from the highest stages where beautyis encountered back to perceptual experience at the lowest stage.7 In order topresent an alternative to Platos account, Dewey sought to open up a new kindof discourse about the experience of art as involving interpenetration of thephysical and biological aspects of human experience with those aspects that aredependent on cultural influences (AE, 2829). Deweys naturalism is based onthe idea that the transformation of a biological organism can be realized throughcultural influences. Moreover, in Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, in the chapterentitled The Existential Matrix of Inquiry: Cultural, Dewey stated that eventhe neuro-muscular structures of individuals are modified through the influenceof the cultural environment upon the activities performed.8 Using Deweys viewabout how human experience is constructed, the following observations about theinherent qualities of art can be identified. They will provide valuable insights intothe processes involved.

    One such insight is that the roots of art are found in the immediate experienceof the senses, through which humans develop relationships with the world and bymeans of which the life of the biological organism emerges. Art stimulates emotionand gives a qualitative unity to situations, thus allowing for the development ofthe aesthetic experience. Dewey identified this quality as the emergence of naturein the sense of habitual as well as in that of primitive and native (AE, 69), whichundergoes transformation by means of artistic expression.

    7. John Dewey, Art as Experience (1934), in John Dewey: The Later Works, 19251953, vol. 10, ed.Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987), 295296. This work will becited as AE in the text for all subsequent references.

    8. John Dewey, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938), in John Dewey: The Later Works, 19251953,vol. 12, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986), 49.

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    In his essay Affective Thought, Dewey discussed the nature of art:

    [T]he fact that the spectator and auditor click so intimately and intensely in the face ofworks of art is accounted for. By their means there are released old, deep-seated habits orengrained organic memories, yet these old habits are deployed in new ways, ways in whichthey are adapted to a more completely integrated world so that they themselves achieve a newintegration. Hence the liberating, expansive power of art.9

    Dewey described how the nature of art is to be found in the spirit of the artworkitself because of its ability to enliven and animate the organism (AE, 197), and heidentified this ability as crucial in transforming what is habitual, primitive, andnative in relation to the organism.

    Another important insight concerning the nature and experience of art is that itstimulates an immediate development of imagination in the perceiver. Accordingto Dewey, the work of art has a unique quality, but it is that of clarifying andconcentrating meanings contained in scattered and weakened ways in the materialof other experiences (AE, 90). That is, art activates imagination by extracting theessential elements from other experiences, some of which may have become lodgedin the subconscious, and then builds them up into a whole by consolidation inorder to obtain a single quality. Because of this power, art can thereby help toenhance the perception of the qualitative world, which is something that ordinaryexperience is unable to achieve. Dewey went on to explain that art enables us toshare vividly and deeply in meanings to which we had been dumb, or for whichwe had but the ear that permits what is said to pass through in transit to overtaction (AE, 248). In contrast to simply being about presentation and description,from this perspective the function of art is more about an expansion in whichmeaning is fully realized through a process of heightened awareness.

    Deweys thoughts on the nature of art can also be found in his major educa-tional works, such as The School and Society and Democracy and Education,10 aswell as in shorter essays on art education, including Imagination and Expression,Art in Education, and Appreciation and Cultivation.11 Taking into accountthe ability of art to arouse emotion and imagination, Dewey proposed that artshould not be treated as an educational luxury, included only in a superficial way aspart of the school curriculum; it should instead play a significant role in the devel-opment of a critical eye by means of which the individual can come to appreciate

    9. John Dewey, Affective Thought (1926), in John Dewey: The Later Works, 19251953, vol. 2, ed.Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984), 107108.

    10. John Dewey,The School and Society (1900), in John Dewey: The Middle Works, 18991924, vol. 1, ed.Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1976); and John Dewey, Democracyand Education (1916), in John Dewey: The Middle Works, 18991924, vol. 9, ed. Jo Ann Boydston(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1980).

    11. John Dewey, Imagination and Expression (1896), in John Dewey: The Early Works, 18821898,vol. 5, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972); John Dewey, Artin Education (1911), in John Dewey: The Middle Works, 18991924, vol. 6, ed. Jo Ann Boydston(Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978); and John Dewey, Appreciation and Cultivation(1931), in John Dewey: The Later Works, 19251953, vol. 6, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: SouthernIllinois University Press, 1985).

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    many types of value. An especially significant aspect of Deweys account is hisidentification of the emergence of emotion as evidence of personal participation.12

    When emotion is transformed into a sense of meaning, the quality of the emotionis enhanced as appreciation of value. This enhancement leads to a refinement ofpersonality. Dewey explained this more explicitly as follows: Transformation ofthe coarser, instinctively organic emotions into subtler and more delicate forms,of the glaring hues of black and white, red and green, into variegated tints andshades, is a large part of the process of refinement of personality.13

    Dewey went on to discuss the significance of this emotional dimension, bothin relation to the development of the personality and in terms of the context ofthe entire curriculum, by launching a critical attack on learning and teachingthat fails to take account of the desires and emotions of the child. He stated inDemocracy and Education that the formation of habits is a purely mechanicalthing unless habits are also tastes habitual modes of preference and esteem,an effective sense of excellence.14 In his essay Appreciation and Cultivation,Dewey further maintained that the trouble is that material is not committedto heart; it is only entrusted to some portion of the cerebrum. In consequence,personal cultivation is not attained.15

    For Dewey, the emotional and appreciative phase of learning and teaching isan integral part of the formation of personality that should play a part in everytype of school activity. In this sense, Dewey, among others, argued that since artcontributes to increasing the power of appreciation, it should be a vital part ofgeneral education.

    Deweys Fundamental Viewpoints on Art in Relation to Democracy

    Although Dewey did not discuss art directly in relation to democracy,he nevertheless compared the attitude of the individual who embodies thedemocratic ideal to that of a creative artist. Thus, the basic principles pertainingto Deweys aesthetics correspond with those concerning his theory of democracy.When discussing democracy, Dewey emphasized the development of humanrelationships and personality rather than any political or governmental form.This approach becomes more pronounced in his later works, for example, insuch essays as Democracy and Educational Administration and CreativeDemocracy The Task Before Us.16 Dewey therefore considered in detail howpersonal attitudes are formed that determine desire and purpose in all aspects oflife, as is evident in the following observation: In any case we can escape from this

    12. Dewey, Appreciation and Cultivation, 113.

    13. Ibid., 114.

    14. Dewey, Democracy and Education, 244.

    15. Dewey, Appreciation and Cultivation, 115.

    16. John Dewey, Democracy and Educational Administration (1937), in John Dewey: The LaterWorks, 19251953, vol. 11, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987);and John Dewey, Creative Democracy The Task Before Us (1939), in John Dewey: The Later Works,19251953, vol. 14, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988).

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    external way of thinking only as we realize in thought and act that democracy is apersonal way of individual life; that it signifies the possession and continual use ofcertain attitudes, forming personal character and determining desire and purposein all the relations of life.17 In order to realize this kind of democracy throughpursuing a personal way of individual life, Dewey specified three conditions:faith in the capacities of human nature, faith in the capacity of human beingsfor intelligent judgment and action, and faith in personal day-by-day workingtogether with others. On the basis of these faiths, Dewey explained how artshould be regarded.

    Regarding faith in the capacities of human nature, Dewey clarified whatequality means. He stated that it lies not in natural endowment but in theopportunity for developing ones own capacities.18 This idea, which is also reflectedin his aesthetics, suggests that, instead of emphasizing natural talent, as it is foundin the genius or preternatural capacities (as a potential source of creation), theactive involvement of the individual should take precedence.

    From the standpoint of Deweys empirical naturalism, which defines experi-ence as a matter of the interaction of the organism with its environment (AE,251), the individual who determines how the interaction is to proceed constitutesa significant factor in the creation of an object of art. In other words, the creationof an object of art is the outcome of an experience conditioned by the individualsreactions and responses to his or her environment. Likewise, in the appreciationof a work of art, the individual plays an active role as a participant in contributingto its meaning and value.

    With respect to faith in human intelligence, Dewey argued that freed intelli-gence is necessary for freedom of action to be merited and directed.19 Reflectingon this, he highlighted the operation of intelligence in both the productive andappreciative activities of art by showing how the artist thinks as intently anddeliberately as a scientific inquirer would. In contrast to the traditional viewthat defines thinking as dependent on mediated symbols, Dewey characterizedthinking in terms of relations between and among qualities. He added that thistype of thinking is typically found in the work of the artist:

    To think effectively in terms of relations of qualities is as severe a demand upon thoughtas to think in terms of symbols, verbal and mathematical. Indeed, since words are easilymanipulated in mechanical ways, the production of a work of genuine art probably demandsmore intelligence than does most of the so-called thinking that goes on among those whopride themselves on being intellectuals. (AE, 52)

    Contrary to the traditional view, Deweys view of intelligence demands theinterrelated operation of emotion, actions, and judgments. In the field of art

    17. Dewey, Creative Democracy, 226.

    18. Dewey, Democracy and Educational Administration, 219220.

    19. Ibid., 220.

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    education, David Ecker and Elliot Eisner are among those who have explored thiskind of intelligence.20

    Faith in cooperation is reframed as faith in peace. Dewey believed in thepossibility of cooperative undertakings in which both parties learn by giving theother a chance to express itself, instead of having one party conquer by the forcefulsuppression of the other.21 The basis for this faith is to be found in Deweysview of aesthetics, whereby the work of art exists as a language for the expressionof the other. Such a language involves a triadic relation between the artist, theartwork, and the perceiver that realizes a communicative perspective beyond thatof the artists private experience. Dewey argued that an artwork such as a temple,painting, or statue is not the workof art (AE, 167). It becomes the work of artonly insofar as it operates within the experience of others, and it is the perceiversrelationship with the product that is crucial; the artist, the product, and theperceiver are therefore all reciprocally related within the creation of the work of art.

    In addition, Dewey described the quality by means of which art is able tocommunicate:

    Art is the extension of the power of rites and ceremonies to unite men, through a sharedcelebration, to all incidents and scenes of life. This office is the reward and seal of art. Thatart weds man and nature is a familiar fact. Art also renders men aware of their union with oneanother in origin and destiny. (AE, 275)

    Because of this uniting power, Dewey considered art as a valuable aid in breakingdown physical isolation and transforming the mechanical aspects of humanrelationships. Rather than remaining isolated from one another as a consequenceof their membership in sects, races, nations, and classes, individuals are enabled tocommunicate and participate with greater understanding within a larger societyas they acquire the language of art.22

    Individuality and Community in ART AS EXPERIENCE

    Deweys thoughts on the educational value of art developed while he served asthe director of the University of Chicagos Laboratory School from 1896 to 1904.23

    They are expressed in essays and books related to his work in schools, includingThe School and the Society and Democracy and Education. After meeting anddeveloping a friendship with Albert C. Barnes, an art collector and critic, Dewey

    20. See, for example, David W. Ecker, The Artistic Process as Qualitative Problem Solving, Journal ofAesthetic Education 21, no. 3 (1963): 283290; and Elliot Eisner, Educating Artistic Vision (New York:Macmillan, 1972).

    21. Dewey, Creative Democracy, 228.

    22. The theme of art and the development of civilization is discussed in chapter 12, Art andCivilization, in Deweys Art as Experience.

    23. For the development of Deweys theory of art education, see the following essays: Kazuyo Nakamura,Theory and Practice of Art Education in the Dewey School (1), Journal for Society of Art Education inUniversity 36 (2004): 289296; and Theory and Practice of Art Education in the Dewey School (2): TheCritical Analysis of Lillian Cushmans Practice of Art Education, Journal for Society of Art Educationin University 37 (2005): 295302.

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    expanded and elaborated his ideas.24 The result was Art as Experience, publishedin 1934. In this work, the topic of individuality and community which is amajor issue in Deweys philosophy of democracy is explored in relation to theexperience of art.

    In Art as Experience, experiences that produce a refinement of personalityare characterized as aesthetic, and the issue of individuality and community isbuilt into the discussion of the experience. Dewey argued that art is a languageintegral to the development of human relationships, since artistic experienceproduces creative and constructive outcomes rather than mechanical repetitionof the past. He described the structure of artistic experience as follows: Withoutan act of recreation the object is not perceived as a work of art. The artistselected, simplified, clarified, abridged and condensed according to his interest.The beholder must go through these operations according to his point of view andinterest (AE, 60).

    This statement indicates that in order to be creative, the experience of theperceiver of art must involve activities that are similar to those of the producingartist. That is, an experience that is aesthetic cannot be produced solely by aperceiver, a work of art, or the artist, since each is related to the others andmust necessarily work in unison. In this sense, when experience acquires certainfeatures (which will be described in what follows), it is transformed into anaesthetic experience. This, in turn, leads to the enrichment of individuality andcommunity.

    One constitutive feature of aesthetic experience relates to the concept ofan inclusive qualitative whole, which cannot be distinguished in terms ofunits and is pervasive when an individual interacts with an artwork; it is aqualitative unity that operates and controls the form of the interaction (AE, 196).Dewey characterized this quality as emotionally intuited, impressive, andimmediately experienced, and he emphasized that this quality can only befelt.

    This type of experience is therefore mainly about the quality of the entireinteraction. It is not that the individual has an experience, to which is added theobjective elements of the situation where the real interaction supposedly takesplace. In this situation the various elements are emotionally colored and becomeintegrated into a whole by a single quality. Since this quality is identified as thequality of the individuals life, it operates not only in the present situation but alsodetermines future activities. Sustaining this quality is essential because it formsthe foundation out of which the individuals personality can be refined.

    As this interaction proceeds, the individual viewpoint or purpose takes itsshape from this quality. The quality is modified and refined into an experience

    24. Barnes based his theory of art criticism on Deweys educational theory. With regard to this point,see Kazuyo Nakamura, A Study on Educational Art Criticism: The Influence of Deweys Thought onthe Art Theory of Albert C. Barnes, Bulletin of John Dewey Society of Japan 47 (2006): 125134.

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    in which unification and discrimination are conditioned by a series of intelligentjudgments and perceptions.25 The crucial point in terms of the refinement of apersons personality is that the purpose of the individual as a unifying point isformed in relation to what actually exists as a characteristic in a work of art,rather than something that is accidentally present (AE, 318). Dewey specified thatthere is not just a single unifying point to be found in a work of art. There areinstead many unifying points, and their number depends on the complexity of thework in question and on two conditions that must be met for the articulation ofsuch a unifying point: One of them is that the theme and design which interestselects be really present in the work, and the other is the concrete exhibitionof this supreme condition: the leading thesis must be shown to be consistentlymaintained throughout the parts of the work (AE, 318). Although Dewey did notexplicitly discuss the matter in Art as Experience, it is clear that such unifyingpoints are essential if there is to be a connection between the artist and theperceiver.

    Furthermore, in order to develop an aesthetic experience, the medium of thework of art must be taken into account as a mediator a go-between linking theartist with the perceiver (AE, 204). Unlike raw materials, the medium is where theartists mind and materials intersect. In contrast to other forms of communication,art is a language of expression with the special purpose of enhancing the immediateexperience. The value of art should not therefore be reduced to other kinds ofvalues, and Dewey directed his criticism at theories of art that fail to take accountof the medium. When criticisms made by historians, physiologists, biographers,or psychologists fail to take account of the medium, Dewey regarded this as aconfusion of categories and a great fallacy in art criticism. Dewey also criticizedthe way some art criticism isolates the individual characteristics of a work of art,such as technique and formal elements, from the whole form. For Dewey, thiskind of criticism involves a reductive fallacy.

    In addition, the operation of intelligence that demands judgment is necessaryfor producing an aesthetic experience. Dewey argued that judgment is not aimed atmaking comparisons by means of an external preestablished rule, but at gainingcritical insight into qualities-in-qualitative-relations (AE, 312). Moreover, thegrounds for judgment lie in the temperament and the personal history of theindividual. In this context, in order to avoid the possibility of a mere personalimpression, Dewey offered criteria by which judgment can be gauged. They includethe discussion of form in relation to matter, meaning of medium in art, andnature of the expressive object (AE, 313). With these elements serving as criteria,the perception of the constituent parts is critical in relation to the whole, andthis critical perception includes discovering how consistently constituent partsare related to the whole form as well as determining the balance of the parts inthe context of the whole. Furthermore, in order to increase the perception of the

    25. Intelligent judgment and perception are discussed in chapter 13, Criticism and Perception, inDeweys Art as Experience.

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    intent of the artist and the adequacy of his or her execution of intent, the traditionsto which the work subscribes should be identified. In this regard, Dewey viewedtradition as an organized habit of vision and of methods of ordering and conveyingmaterial (AE, 270). The artists intent should be discovered not just from a singlework, but from a succession of works that portrays his or her development overtime.

    This experience, which is developed through a series of intelligent judgmentsand perceptions on the part of the perceiver, is part of the process of formationof his or her own personality (AE, 7678). That is, a scheme of the interactionof the individual, which consists of relations of elements of the past experience,is transformed in ways that lead to the realization of a new scheme. For Dewey,individuality itself is originally a potentiality and is realized only in interactionwith surrounding conditions. In this process of intercourse, native capacities,which contain an element of uniqueness, are transformed and become a self(AE, 286).

    Dewey discussed different levels of selfhood; some are deeply embedded, whileothers exist on the surface and are thus easily displaced. Art drives impulses. Inthe operation of impulses those at a deeper level may rise to the surface wheresignificant ones may be selected and unrelated ones rejected. In this processsomething meaningful is compressed and intensified, and a new relationship ofelements relating to past experiences is thereby constructed. This procedure ismore than placing something on the top consciousness over what was previouslyknown (AE, 48), and may become a source of pain as a result of resistance againstsuch a construction.

    When the various elements available from past experiences and a presentsituation are linked in a single whole, a consummation phase arrives that isembodied in a sense of satisfaction related to direct perception. This implies thata self-sufficient experience has taken a course that has its own individualizingquality; a new vision is perfected that determines how future perception operates.Dewey described this as follows: The eye is the sense of distance not justthat light comes from afar, but that through vision we are connected withwhat is distant and thus forewarned of what is to come. Vision gives thespread-out scene that in and on which, as I have said, change takes place(AE, 241). In contrast to the physiological definition of sense experience, visionhere means an insight that cannot be separated from the very personality of theindividual, and which has been built up by cumulative experiences concerningactual feeling.

    As we have seen, the experience of art is a process of gaining insight intothe personal vision of the other; through such a process the individual deepenshis or her relationship with the other. The experience of art thus is a processof creating a human community. Dewey described the nature of this formation,where friendship becomes intimate and tinged with affection, as an outcomethat concerns not just information about another person, but sympathy gainedthrough imagination as well. This sympathetic understanding is explained as

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    follows: when the desires and aims, and the interests and modes of responseof another become an expansion of our own being then we understand him(AE, 339). For Dewey, an ideal community is characterized as a way of sharingthrough an expansion of the life-attitude of the individual. Experience of theart of other cultures is advanced in a similar way, which Dewey explained asfollows:

    To some degree we become artists ourselves as we undertake this integration, and, by bringingit to pass, our own experience is re-oriented. Barriers are dissolved, limiting prejudices meltaway, when we enter into the spirit of Negro or Polynesian art. This insensible melting is farmore efficacious than the change effected by reasoning, because it enters directly into attitude.(AE, 337)

    This process leads to the formation of a more comprehensive vision, beyond anarrow-minded and local outlook, through wedding elements of art from differentcultures with the life-attitude of the individual. The formation of such a capacitydepends on increasing the power to understand what is unfamiliar, that is, whatderives from another situation or novel condition.

    Experiencing art in this way helps form the individual and developsa relationship with the other by way of imagination. Dewey distinguishedimagination from fantasy and reverie, which do not involve any contact withmaterials in a public world. He defined imagination as conscious activities thatare aroused during interaction of the individual with the environment. Imaginationis a characteristic of human behavior, and is not found in nonhuman animal orvegetable lives. It is by the conscious adjustment of the new and the old throughimagination that we are capable of going beyond the mechanical, the routine,and the inertia of habits. Through imagination, we can foresee the unknown,extend value and meaning obtained from the past, and reconstruct the past byconstructing something novel.

    Changing Perspectives on Art Education in the Age of Globalization

    Deweys aesthetics, being democratic and educational in nature, helps usclarify which direction we should take in order to carry forward art education inschools in the face of contemporary globalization. In terms of cultivating a visionof a personal way of life appropriate in the age of globalization, art education basedon Deweys aesthetics would have the following objectives: It will attempt tocreate a common ground between the childs local visual culture and the broadervisual culture rather than making a distinction between the local and the global,the particular and the universal, or the childs world and the world of art. Itwill also attempt to open up ways for both the individual and the community todevelop as a consequence of interaction with art in a particular global context.

    The first objective is to cultivate the functioning of the childs emotionand imagination in such a way that the quality of the childs image of valueis enhanced; this image is the basis for creating the individuals perspectiveon how to live. Todays accelerated globalization has expanded the space wheremultiple cultural values intersect not only at the global, regional, and internationallevels, but also on a daily basis at the local level through media and modern

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    communication technology.26 It is in this context that some scholars are concernedthat globalization may turn into a process of homogenization of cultures, whereone carelessly accepts the values created by more powerful cultures instead ofremaining firm and creating ones own values in order to live an authentic life.27

    To counteract this negative aspect of globalization, art education, as Deweysuggested, should be recognized as a major factor in the formation of personalvalues, and thus an essential component of general education. It should seek toactivate the childs feelings, taking into consideration the temperament and lifehistory of the child, and helping the child to develop an image of value that isexpressed by those feelings.

    Currently, in art education, there is still a tendency to give universalvalues as exemplified by masterpieces from mostly Western and domesticart priority over the particular values of the child and the local visual culture.Instead, art education should begin from, and end in, the visual culture of thechild and encourage the child to create original art and an image of value throughconstructive dialogue with a broader visual culture. In other words, the localculture of the child should be recognized in the classroom and actively applied tothe creation and appreciation of art. For example, in the case of a Chinese childcreating a Japanese Jomon clay pot at a school where Japanese culture is dominant,the child would be encouraged to transform the original form by using Chinesesymbols instead of merely reproducing it. In such a process, the child enriches hisor her own visionary world by expressing the creative spirit in the Jomon artifacts.

    The second objective is to develop intelligent visual literacy, which involvescritical perception and judgment of the qualitative world and is transferable todiverse art forms. As globalization progresses, the overlap between diverse visualcultures increases. This fosters the emergence of a large number of new typesof art that cannot be ascribed to a specific genre or a clearly defined culture.28

    Considering this state of globalization, art education should be geared towarddeveloping a type of visual literacy that is effective in interacting intelligentlywith art unlike anything encountered before, and in making judgments about theartistic and human values residing in the work of art. Deweys aesthetics helps usgain insight into this kind of intelligence.

    It is often the case in art class that the child is asked to recognize culturalor stylistic features of a work of art without taking into account the individualquality of the piece. There is a tendency to pay attention only to technical andformal aspects of art, as well as abstract concepts of art, apart from the artistsjudgments in creation. In the face of globalization, it is ever more critical in art

    26. John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

    27. David Held, ed., A Globalizing World? Culture, Economics, Politics (London: Routledge/OpenUniversity Press, 2000).

    28. Marilyn Stokstad, Art History, vol. 2, 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2002),11241187.

  • Nakamura Deweys Aesthetics in Art Education 439

    education to consider an individuals judgments operating in a particular situationrather than that persons fund of knowledge and information.

    This type of art education centers on questions such as these: How is the intentof the artist realized in the design of the work? What type of problem does the artisttackle in what type of situation? What are the key judgments the artist made in theprocess of creating his or her art? How did the intent of the artist and style of the artdevelop over the course of a lifetime? Take, for example, a case of learning about theart of Henri Matisse, with whom Dewey was associated and to whom he referredin his work on aesthetics. In an art lesson on his representative artwork the Dancemural, the child could study several photographs of his work in progress and discussMatisses points of concern, and what trials and errors he made in the process ofcompleting the work.29 It is more important for the child to pay attention to thesituational judgments of Matisse in the process of creation than it is for him or herto gain knowledge of historical facts and stylistic features. Through speculating onthe operation of the artists qualitative intelligence, as well as focusing attentionon the work of intelligence in creating his or her own art, the child is expected todevelop the ability to gain meaningful interaction with diverse forms of art.

    The third objective is to cultivate a type of communication through artthat creates a common ground with the other while paying serious attentionto differences from the other. Unlike the modern globalization advanced byEuropean empires, in our own time we celebrate the multiplicity of culturesas a key factor in the development of visual culture on the global level. Thequality of communication becomes crucial to this development as well as to theenhancement of relations among different cultures. Art education in the futureshould consider what form of communication is more productive.30 Deweysaesthetics helps us articulate this type of communication: communication is notthe activity of conforming to the other and thus losing individuality, but ratherthe activity of expanding and deepening ones horizon through reconstructing theinternal elements of ones own viewpoint in such a way that emotional ties withthe other are developed.

    Art education that emphasizes the various aspects of cooperative undertakingin creation would require the child to share viewpoints and emotions with the otherand to pay attention to reciprocal relations among different cultures. For example,in an art lesson on Katsushika Hokusais The Great Wave, a famous Japanesewoodblock print, the child would learn that Hokusai not only studied the Kanoart tradition in Japan, but also studied Dutch engravings.31 Hokusai transformedhis art horizon by integrating something foreign into his art. Furthermore, the

    29. For the development of The Dance mural, see Jack Flam, Matisse: The Dance (Washington, D.C.:National Gallery of Art, 1993).

    30. Ralph A. Smith, Excellence II: The Continuing Quest in Art Education (Reston, Virginia: NationalArt Education Association, 1995), 115137.

    31. Kiyoshi Shibui and Sadao Kikuchi, Masterpieces of Ukiyo-E Prints Series 5: Hokusai (Tokyo: ShueiCo., 1971).

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    child would learn that this type of art influenced paintings by the Impressionistsin Europe and America. Such learning is expected to enhance the childs senseof continuity between different cultures and the importance of the other inconstructing a new form.

    Although these objectives and approaches may not be entirely novel, byfocusing the direction of art education toward the ideals of Deweyan democracy,art education can contribute to the transformation of globalization so that bothexisting human relationships and individual personalities can find places in abroader human landscape. I think this is within the scope of the realizable, and isa worthwhile pursuit in art education.

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