The following extract is from "What does it mean to know art? An institutional account" by Ted Bracey. 2001. P. 59 in 'On Knowing. Art and Visual Culture.' Eds. Duncum P. and Bracey T. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, New Zealand 2001.
Most 'ordinary consumers of art' would tend to share the aesthetic educationists' view that the point of art works is to provide us with meaningful aesthetic experiences, but when art works fail to provide them with such an experience they become distressed. In the view of the aesthetic educationist, this distress is caused by failure of the ordinary folk to acquire those 'skills of aesthetic appreciation' that would enable them to gain genuine aesthetic gratification from their attention to art works. Smith and Smith (1977), for example, distinguish what they call 'aesthetic gratification' from the 'pure sensual pleasure' that can be gained from art works, on the grounds that the former 'presupposes a skill', and the latter does not. While the latter may provide a greater degree of 'immediacy', the former provides 'more joy' (p.309).
Do you have a reaction to this? Arguments for? Or against?
Tomorrow: Part 2.