Visiting an exhibition "cold" vs. prepared
How is this a different experience?
Visiting an exhibition without any preparation or prior gathering of information is a very different experience from visiting the same show after having done a bit of background research (or at least reading the exhibition captions). Generally I think students get much more out of a show if they have done some prep, but it is still useful at times to drop into a new aesthetic experience out of the blue.
This way of approaching new artworks intuitively first, then adding knowledge and information -and seeing how this changes your response- can be linked to the activity Intuitive Response
Next time you are taking your students to see a major exhibit that they have done some preliminary research on, try going to see another show, maybe in a small gallery, something that they know nothing about, and asking them to compare their own immediate responses as a viewer.
Use these questions for a class TOK discussion or an informal written response in the journal
- Is it important for a work of art to be seen by an audience or not?
- Does the viewer need to have knowledge of art history in order to understand the artwork? Should art be “accessible” to those without this knowledge?
- How has the role of the audience’s response to art changed from the Renaissance to today?
- What knowledge of art can be gained by focusing on the viewers response?
- Can it be argued that art is brought into being only in the response of the audience, that a work is created anew each time it is viewed?
- What is the role of the critic in judging the value of art?
- Are any of the following sufficient indicators of the value of a work: its popularity, its commercial value in the market, its universality in its appeal beyond its cultural boundaries, and/or its longevity?