Though I’ve been silent on the topic of art education in these pages for nearly two years, I’ve frequently weighed in on it elsewhere. Since those articles would no doubt be of interest to my readers here, what follows is a brief summary of their genesis and content.
Owing to space limitations, “Art History Gone Amuck” (previously noted)—published in the Fall 2020 issue of Academic Questions, the journal of the National Association of Scholars—omitted a crucial aspect, which I covered in a subsequent AQ article: “The Lamentable Politicization of Art” (Winter 2020).
That was followed by “Poisoning the Well of Art Education” in the same journal (Fall 2021). It deconstructed the “anti-racist” agenda of the National Art Education Association—an ultimately destructive agenda inspired by critical race theory’s bogus claim that the United States is “systemically racist.”
The predominantly negative response to that article by NAEA officials and members prompted me to write “Confronting Woke Groupthink in Art Education,” just published in the Summer 2022 issue of Academic Questions. It is a slightly revised version of an article by the same title that appeared online in the NAS blog in December of last year.
In another vein, I was invited to contribute an essay to a symposium on art education in the British journal Visual Inquiry (August 2021). Entitled “The lamentable consequences of blurring the boundaries,” it deplores the open-ended concept of art that now prevails among art teachers as in the artworld at large. And it credits Kenneth M. Lansing for being the only prominent art educator to warn against such an open-ended view decades ago. (His comment on “Woke Groupthink in Art Education” [scroll to end of article] is also significant.) As I will observe in a response to the symposium to be published in Visual Inquiry, many of the other contributions exhibited the deplorable intersectional groupthink I had written about in Academic Questions.
“Should We Normalize Sexual Deviance?” (American Greatness, June 5, 2022) does not deal directly with art education. But it responds to a suggestion made by a high school art teacher during a session at the 2022 NAEA convention. “Canary in the Coal Mine of America’s Future” (American Greatness, August 21, 2021) is also tangentially relevant to art education, since it debunks crucial assumptions about immigration that are promoted by many art teachers, as I noted in the Wall Street Journal more than a decade ago.
Given such trends, one may well conclude that what passes for “art education” today is more deleterious than beneficial.