What can we learn from art? The modern world is in many ways a culture of quick consumption. Images are more and more being treated as icons: as one simple thing with one particular meaning. If we turn to great works from the history of art, they offer us an insight and a journey into another perspective, where we are free to see meanings as manifold and open-ended, as human experiences often are.

This workshop opens a space, in our busy world, to stand still in front of an artwork, to take time, to pay attention, to develop qualities of receptivity, to see the world through the eyes of an artist, and at the same time to pay attention to our own response, to how it affects us. The experience of art is more than an intellectual discourse in an artistic medium, but is rather a kind of artistic meditation: a space for contemplation, conversation, and encounter, a conscious choice to broaden awareness. It can be not only a significant and fun learning experience, but also transform the way we look at life.

Format

This course is offered as a one-time workshop, as well as a series of encounters, each with a different focus. Topics include:

“Art as Poetry”

“Art as Experiment”

“Art as Observation”

“Art as Philosophy”

“Art as Storytelling”

“Art as Choices of Attention”

“Portraiture and Gesture”

Methods

We work at the intersection of visual arts, music, literature, philosophy, embodiment and movement. We strongly believe and experience that complex questions of today’s world require an expansive thinking, broad cross-disciplinary vision, and flexible mind. True wisdom is born in an encounter, as synthesis and integration of different ways of looking at things. In this class, we explore different works of art, we learn together intertwining lectures, exploration, discussion, sensory experiences, embodied presence and awareness training.

This class can also be offered as a merged experience between art history, theory, contemplation and art practice.

Co-teacher: Geoff Lehman (PhD, Columbia University), art historian and professor at Bard College Berlin

Images from workshops at Bard College Berlin