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Josef Albers's Material Study on Sensory Perception From Preliminary Course to Basic Design Course

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2016, 46(), pp.75-116
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.46.0.03
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : February 28, 2016

Sae-Mi Cho 1

1상명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines material studies related to the pedagogy of Josef Albers who was one of the key figures of 20th century modernism. Albers was an influential educator for both the Bauhaus preliminary course (Vorkurs) and Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, North Carolina. Focusing on Albers's understanding of material, this thesis explores his pedagogical development from 1923 to 1949. Emphasizing the simplicity and efficiency of a material's capacity, Albers's approach was based on a rather scientific method. On the other hand, Albers's pedagogy merged with American Pragmatism influenced by John Dewey's philosophy. It was Dewey’s theory on interaction and inter-penetration that effected the formation of Albers's understanding not only of color but also of material. And it was also Dewey's philosophy that led Albers to develope a theory on the difference between recognition and perception related to understanding material. Antithetically, this methodology became critically effective in incubating young American avant-guard artists in the 1950's and 1960's. Although Albers did not intended his pedagogy to produce professional artists, it was Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, Ray Johnson who all became leading figures of mid century American art. It is also important to notice that Albers's pedagogy offered a foundation for these young artists to understand materials as a kind medium that stands between two other things and, thus, something that may transmit from one thing to another for a means of communication. Categorizing art neither for productivity nor self-expression, Albers's pedagogy is significantly effective for us to reconsider what art education should aim for today. Thus, it is important to reinterpret Albers's pedagogy not only to rediscover the relationship between material and man, but also to create a critical discourse to connect art to ethics as well. This paper anticipate to offer an opportunity to assist in revising the system of plastic art education today with the purpose of connecting practice and theory once again.

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