A Consideration of Pragmatic Aesthetic Experience in the Inclusive Model

By Matthew Mullane.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Current critical museology has largely discounted the “transmission style” institution to the point of tacit agreement of its failings in providing an educationally effective and aesthetically minded environment. Within this old-style institutional ideology, the teacher, or in this case the museum, is only successful if a “correct” reception of the material is received by the visitor. Often based upon the narrative of art history and built directly into the museum as an exhibiting structure, this method excludes the visitor unfamiliar with the esotericisms of art history and narrows the scope on possible aesthetic experiences. Although the problem is clear, the solution, often asserted to be the “constructivist” model of learning or the “inclusive” museum, poses important questions concerning the practical applications of the aesthetic issues bound in this experiential method. Constructivism encourages active participation, interpretive communities, and a greater dialogue between teacher and learner. With this more open approach to presenting information, the art museum is no longer an enforcer of historicity, but a nurturer of aesthetic experience. Therefore, at the intersection of pragmatism, constructivism, and inclusivism, we must ask “What is the importance of the aesthetic experience in this new environment?” Using John Dewey’s experiential model of aesthetic experience, I plan to clarify the individual’s now necessarily active role in the inclusive museum and justify said experience’s primary importance.

Keywords: Aesthetic Experience, Constructivism, John Dewey

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.61-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 538.690KB).

Matthew Mullane

Hiram College, Hiram, OH, USA

Matthew Mullane is currently a student of Art History and History at Hiram College in Northeastern Ohio. His studies, in addition to his works in poetry, music, and improvisation, focus on art theory, the somewhat nebulous intersection between experience and practice, and the role of sound in traditional art history. He has worked with The Butler Institute of American Art, SPACES Gallery, and smaller galleries including the Trumbull Art Gallery and Hiram College’s own educationally motivated gallery. Future studies will continue these interests and institutional relationships whilst further emphasizing aesthetic considerations in art and music.


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