Our first courseware e-book is all about how to enjoy art by just looking at it: The Art Binocular. This e-book written by Jan-Willem van Rijnberk, is translated into English to reach a wider audience and was first published as an e-reader in Dutch in 2008.
Unfortunately, there is no term in the English language to describe the Dutch term ‘kunstbeschouwing’.
In a formal sense “kunstbeschouwing” (art appreciation) is attributed to the theoretical components of the study and research of art. Still, ‘art appreciation’ is a bit of a stepchild in the scientific study of art, probably just because ‘looking at art’ is such a direct personal experience. This is probably the reason why there is little consensus on the methodology and conceptual framework of ‘art appreciation’. At the same time this is a paradox as well, because the act of ‘seeing’ establishes the first connection between the artwork and the viewer.
In the Dutch term ‘kunstbeschouwing’, the “schouwen” part means viewing with an investigative look. This is exactly the direct approach that I advocate in this course. You step into the experience of discovering what seeing art does to you. Led by the motto “Seeing is enough”, I offer you an approach that will instantly increase the fun you will experience id you adopt this investigative manner of looking at art. The course will teach you to look better and you will experience how seeing engages meaning.
There is need for a certain attitude. Briefly, this means that you will have to practice yourself in suspending your judgment until you have looked very careful and considered. In art appreciation, you will learn to understand by analyzing what you see according to an ordered protocol on how to cast your investigative look on an artwork. and in return the appreciation of this experience. So the first questions you should ask yourself when you are looking at an artwork are “What do I see?” and “How does it look?” instead of “What does it mean? or “Do I like it?”.
With this first question you open up the relation between yourself and the artwork. When that happens, the artwork will trigger even more in you. No matter what question you want to have answered, there often is no fast or clearcut answer to be found. Rather, you keep on floating. It is a series of considerations that slowly oozes into content, form and meaning and which also addresses the historical position of the artwork. In short, looking at art is a bit like pealing an onion.
Art is always open to interpretation and thus it makes ideal stuff for dialogue and conversation. When you dive in deeper, you will experience the art experience. Having that conversation nourishes to the pleasure of looking at art.
“The Art Binocular”
This e-book is composed as a brief introduction describing the vision that we want to convey. We have adopted an approach that actively encourages and stimulates the enjoyment of contemporary art. By presenting you with a broad spectrum we want to show how you can achieve more fulfillment from, as well as develop a passion for, contemporary art in a simple manner.
Our principles are centered around the next three statements;
1. Seeing is enough
2. Art is enjoyment
3. Art Inspires!
We will gladly take you by the hand to embark on this proverbially journey together so as to discover the beautiful and wonderous world of contemporary art even further. During our ventures we will provide you with adequate and correct information in order to widen your interest and deepen your passion as an art lover. And we do this with the single goal of further enhancing your enjoyment of contemporary art.