Matters, Instinct, and Education: Need to Synergize Three Books

What I'm Reading...

I had tasked myself last month or so with reading three books that I then intend to synergize to answer all the questions about why museums are so important, broadly and to me especially.

The first is Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct: Beauty Pleasure, and Human Evolution.

The second is James Cuno's Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedia Museum. Cuno's was the first of these three that I read, and I was mildly troubled that Cuno appeared to be boxing his way out of a corner.

The third book, which I just completed is Putting the Arts in the Picture, from Columbia College Chicago.  Putting the Arts in the Picture is a compelling work about integrative arts education practice in the schools.

Putting the Arts in the Picture: Reframing Education in the 21st Century, our book on arts education, makes a new argument for moving the arts, usually located on the margins of public education, to its center. By examining the role of the arts in education, investigating the cognitive benefits of learning in the arts, and suggesting practical solutions for improving education and learning, Putting the Arts in the Picture seeks to demonstrate that arts education is an effective strategy for improving education and learning opportunities for children and young people. In cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Boston, arts integrated schools are defying educational odds and expectations. Their stories, documented in this volume, show that arts integration can profoundly influence student achievement, and that it is a strategy within the reach of most schools, districts, and communities.

Now I look to synergize these three books into one essay, one life, one next year as I look to draw out different arrows at different times from the quiver as we move into battle.  It's a war out there people.

These museums...sheesh:
Artist John Baldessari resigned Thursday from the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in the wake of the ouster of the museum’s chief curator and other recent changes at the Los Angeles institution.
The noted artist said in an interview that “to live with my conscience I just had to do it.” His departure follows the museum's ouster of respected chief curator Paul Schimmel and news this week that the pop-cultural slant the museum has taken under director Jeffrey Deitch will continue with an exhibition on disco music’s impact on art and culture. 
-  Artist John Baldessari resigns from MOCA board LA Times, By Mike Boehm, July 12, 2012

As we track the controversies at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, I am strengthened by the words published in a recent NY Times piece where  Maxwell Anderson, recently appointed Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, is quoted as saying:
It’s up to museum professionals to change the topic and measure what we know matters, not what’s easy to measure.
I feel so lucky to have the job I do, and feel that it is my responsibility to make sure others love the work we do equally as much.

And who doesn't love a good book?


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