1st Edition

A Philosophy of the Art School

By Michael Newall Copyright 2019
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    *Winner of the American Society for Aesthetics 2019 Outstanding Monograph Prize*

    Until now, research on art schools has been largely occupied with the facts of particular schools and teachers. This book presents a philosophical account of the underlying practices and ideas that have come to shape contemporary art school teaching in the UK, US and Europe. It analyses two models that, hidden beneath the diversity of contemporary artist training, have come to dominate art schools. The first of these is essentially an old approach: a training guided by the artistic values of a single artist-teacher. The second dates from the 1960s, and is based around the group crit, in which diverse voices contribute to an artist’s development. Understanding the underlying principles and possibilities of these two models, which sit together in an uneasy tension, gives new insights into the character of contemporary art school teaching, demonstrating how art schools shape art and artists, how they can be a potent engine of creativity in contemporary culture and how they contribute to artistic research. A Philosophy of the Art School draws on first-hand accounts of art school teaching, and is deeply informed by disciplines ranging from art history and art theory, to the philosophy of art, education and creativity.


    1 The Contemporary Art School

    2 The Art School: A Typological History

    3 The Masterclass

    4 The Crit

    5 Can Art Be Taught?

    6 Lessons for the Art School


    Michael Newall is Director of the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent. He is author of What is a Picture? Depiction, Realism, Abstraction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and many articles on art and aesthetics. Before entering academia, he trained as a visual artist, and worked as a critic and curator.

    “By analyzing concepts of art, originality, genius, artistic freedom, creativity, and education, Michael Newall argues persuasively that creativity can in fact be taught in today’s art schools through a judicious practice of group crits and master classes. Interweaving philosophical analyses with historical accounts and examples, his discussion is exceptionally clear, rigorous, and interdisciplinary in the best sense of the word. It will make a significant contribution to many areas of intellectual discourse.” -- American Society for Aesthetics