The legacy of John Dewey’s Art as experience: Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock

David Granger


This article begins with an overview of the contrasts between John Dewey’s natu-ralistic aesthetics, primarily as presented in his classic work Art as experience, and the more formalist aesthetics of art collector, philanthropist and educator Albert Barnes. This contrast is then used to explore and explain their disparate compati-bilities and relationships with the pioneering work of the iconic 20th century Amer-ican artists Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock. This examination ultimately underscores both the genuine catholicity of Dewey’s aesthetics and its deep roots in the endless meaning-making possibilities of everyday experience. The article then concludes with a brief discussion of the educational implications of these findings for our thinking about Dewey in the context of art and aesthetic educa-tion.


Dewey; Aesthetics; Art education

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