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Event Series Event Series: Art for Us: Let’s Discuss

Art for Us: Let’s Discuss

January 7, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Sundays, January 7 to 28, 2 p.m.

Led by Roger Dell and co-presented by the Farnsworth and CMCA

In this four-part discussion series led by long-time art museum educator and university instructor Roger Dell, participants will answer important questions concerning contemporary art and its historical context. Each session’s theme will be introduced by a brief slide presentation, followed by an honest and jargon-free conversation about the complexity of understanding contemporary art. Take-home readings will be provided at each session to follow up on ideas and prepare for the next session.

Session One: What is Art?
The artist John Baldessari once said “Art is anything an artist does.” Can we be satisfied with that? Writer and critic Susan Sontag believed that art is the process of producing objects of grace, intelligence, expressiveness, energy, and sensuousness. This session will go beyond these two definitions of art, while examining many different answers to the question: “What is art?”

Session Two: What is the Role of the Art World?
The world of art is so much more than the discrete, stand–alone objects we call art. These objects are created by a single artist (or sometimes an artist collective); however, as soon as these objects leave the studio and are encountered by viewers, people in the gallery and museum worlds, their reception becomes unpredictable – and truly exciting! This session will explore the role of the viewer and the many people who show and purchase art, and who consequently close the circle, helping determine what the work of art really is, what it means, and how it is viewed and used. We will also look at our personal roles when it comes to the experience of art.

Session Three: What is Artistic Beauty?
Can it be as simple as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Probably not.  There exists an entire 300-year old discipline in the humanities called “aesthetics,” which attempts to definite what beauty is and what it looks like. We will begin with a broad look at beauty, trace its beginnings back to the ancient Greeks, then zero-in on the history of beauty in the visual arts. What happens when Euro-centric concepts of beauty are applied to Asian art or contemporary art, for example? How is beauty defined in contemporary art, and do contemporary artists even consider beauty when creating their work?

Session Four: What is the Role of Art within the Humanities?
Art was not originally included in the humanities when it was invented by the Greeks in the second half of the 5th century BCE.  However, as time passed, and especially during the time of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael in the Italian Renaissance, art was brought into the discussion. While aesthetics (a subcategory of philosophy) and art history (a subcategory of history), are typically found within the humanities departments of universities today, the production of art is not. In this discussion, we will examine whether art is its own field, one allied with the humanities, and/or whether it is an integral part of the humanities.

Presenter and discussion facilitator Roger Dell has taught art history, art appreciation, arts education, and the history of art museums from Hawaii to Maine, including the University of Maine, Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and the Harvard Extension School. He is the former Director of Education at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

Cost: Series $36 General Admission; $30 for Farnsworth and CMCA members. Single Session $12 General Admission; $10 Farnsworth and CMCA members.
Locations: Sessions 1 & 2 will be held in the Farnsworth auditorium and sessions 3 & 4 will be held at CMCA.

Snow dates next day, Mondays at 2 p.m.

For advance registrations, your name will be held at will-call. Check-in begins in the main lobby a half-hour prior to the event start-time. Please note that 5 minutes prior to sold-out programs, any unclaimed seats will be released.

To register for the series click the Register button below. For single sessions, please click on the session title to be taken to that specific page.



January 7, 2018
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm