Reading Contemporary Art: Comparative Art History Education through Themes

Kibar Evren BOLAT1
1Anadolu University, Eskisehir, TURKEY.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2021.92.12


Purpose: Conducting contemporary art lessons with a traditional art history view and a chronological approach leads to misinterpretations – and even to prejudices – of contemporary art as it is not progressing chronologically, cannot be assessed within specific stylistic forms and defined with strict lines, unlike previous traditional art disciplines. Based upon this problem, in this study, a new course process was planned in which contemporary art pieces are compared to traditional pieces focusing on the five major themes contemporary art differs from traditional art. Within the scope of this research dealing with this process, answers have been sought to the questions how comparative art history education through themes influences the perception of art, professional, personal, social progress of pre-service teachers and what sort of changes this method creates.

Methodology: Research findings designed as action research were obtained by reviewing activity forms prepared for the lesson and semi-structured focus group interview. Gathered data were interpreted by the descriptive analysis method.

Findings: The findings obtained in this study suggest that this method helps pre-service teachers define art with a broader perspective, better understand and embrace contemporary art, develop awareness about social issues conveyed through contemporary pieces, explore different expression possibilities for art practices and to form new opinions about art education in a professional sense.

Implications for Research and Practice: Pre-service teachers expressed positive views for the comparison technique and providing an environment for expressing oneself freely. Within this context, it is suggested to design discussion-based art history lesson plans around specific themes.

Keywords: postmodernism, art education, postmodern art, contemporary art teaching