Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal


This is a story of composing and being composed by “Aesthetics and curriculum”, a course I taught for 28 years at the University of Illinois. The course aimed at living with questions, as Rilke famously suggested, rather than seeking ultimate answers; heightened experience, wonder and exploration rather than mastery; creating openings rather than pre-destined knowledge. Tuning inward and outward were complementary processes that supported each other in a dynamic conversation involving artworks, the self, and aesthetic theories. We learned about ourselves in the process of encountering artworks and aesthetic theories, and, in turn, the encounter with our individual selves was crucial to the understanding of artwork and aesthetic theories. The aspiration to connect, to open ourselves to how artwork can expand us, rather than mastering it, built on Martin Buber’s notion of “I-Thou”.



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