This primer spans the senses of the aesthetic experience with refreshing surprises such as “jam and marmalade.” It explores several mediums and art forms that I previously had known little or nothing about. For example, a triptych is a three paneled painting. I had though that a photomontage was simply a series of photos, however learned that it is rather “the composite of two or more photographs to create an unreal subject.” I was delighted to learn that monochrome is not just an adjective but a noun as well– a painting that explores “one color or shades of one color.”
The author also explores the semantics of a word like “organic” which is both so overused and nuanced given our modern day outlooks and idiosyncrasies and the state of our environment. This primer also reflects on philosophical questions that surround aesthetics and teaching. For example, when defining “Knockoff,” the author asks, “What makes something real? Who ‘decides’ what constitutes art and what does not? Is it the tastemakers, the academics, the markets, the museums, the galleries, the artists themselves?” These are crucial questions to ask ourselves as well as our students.
Finally, this primer exposes an array of aesthetic mediums but also reflects on art itself and curates many deep and often unanswerable questions that surround the arts– questions that are frustratingly delightful to attempt to answer.