School of Education News

New book from UW-Madison’s Baldacchino, ‘Art as Unlearning,’ out Dec. 13

December 06, 2018

John Baldacchino, the director of UW-Madison’s Division of the Arts and a professor with the School of Education’s ​art education program, will be publishing his new book “Art as Unlearning: Towards a Mannerist Pedagogy,” on Dec. 13. 

In this book, Baldacchino pushes past traditional art education aspects and uses examples of path-breaking artists to “advance a scenario where unlearning is uniquely presented to us by the diverse practices that we identify with the arts.” He describes the concept of learning as being “hijacked by foundational paradigms such as developmental narratives” and cites that as limiting art education and practice. Baldacchino argues by moving away from these restrictions that the arts assert that unlearning doesn’t rely on learning. 

Art as UnlearningHis book has received outstanding endorsements: “Artists, art teachers, and teachers alike will find this a rewarding read,” says Jan Jagodzinski, an art professor at the University of Alberta. Charles R. Garoian, professor emeritus of art education at Pennsylvania State University, recognizes the excellence of Baldacchino’s work, saying “Baldacchino makes an insightful and compelling case for unlearning and willed forgetfulness as creative dispositions through which the events of art and its education resist and endure foundational assumptions and representations of learning.”

Twenty years before “Art as Unlearning: Towards a Mannerist Pedagogy,” Baldacchino wrote and published “Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer” and “Easels of Utopia: Art’s Fact Returned.” These two books have recently been republished by Routledge as a part of their Routledge Revival series.

“Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer,” originally published in 1996, discusses realism in a post-Marxist context. In this book, Baldacchino talks about identarian and non-identarian dialects as well as the Enlightenment and the end of Modernity.

Two years later, Baldacchino published “Easels of Utopia: Art’s Fact Returned,” which describes the trajectory of art’s duration within the avant-garde style. He presents a contextual analysis of the historic avant-garde, and subsequently discusses larger questions in relation to many artists’ return to individuality within certain aesthetic constructs. 

Read more about "Art as Unlearning: A Mannerist Pedagogy" here. Find Baldacchino’s other books, “Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer,” at this link, and “Easels of Utopia: Art’s Fact Returned,” here.

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