Branching Paths: Should Teaching of Art be Guided Rather by History of Art or by Art Education?


This discussion paper would like to provide an impulse for discussion on the question of which possible selection parameters beyond a chronologically structured guideline oriented towards art historical style epochs would be conceivable for school art appreciation. This illuminates and questions the Western-oriented canon question of the teaching of images in schools. Linked to this is a questioning of the selection criteria for art examples from the field of fine arts in school curricula and educational plans, including derived mediation patterns and strategies, which have been established primarily through art history and less through art education. The first considerations are an examination of the categorial change from hierarchically conceived models of collecting, ordering and conveying images, which are rooted in the 19th century and the desire for national identity formation, to present-day rhizome-like, dynamic patterns of communication and thinking and the resulting consequences for the ways of viewing images. We will then discuss whether it would not make sense for school education to define future-oriented challenges and associated thematic fields with image examples that per se allow a view of the world beyond the European horizon. By using the net metaphor as a structuring device and an anthropologically and sociologically based definition of the theme as a guideline for the selection of several works of art, the random linking and comparing of imagery is deliberately targeted more strongly, which increasingly corresponds to the perceptual behaviour of children and young people who grow up with digital media and especially the internet. However, these considerations are also based on a clearly outlined pedagogical goal: to deal in depth with the past handed down in images and the present represented, i.e. their contextually explicable image practices and communication strategies, in order to strengthen children and young people to be able to consciously imagine, shape and reflect on future coexistence. In addition, a look will be taken at extracurricular image mediation, which in its history has interfaces with school image mediation. The aim is to identify moments of comparison and impulses from historical (Wunderkammer principle) to more recent exhibition formats (thematic exhibitions) and newly established exhibition dispositifs (multidisciplinary spaces for reflection).


Download the paper in German