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Child Art

David Pariser


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The generic term child art often refers to graphic and even three-dimensional work done by children. The term was first made popular by a leading art educator of the last century, Victor Lowenfeld (1947) . It is occasionally used to refer to “real” artworks produced by “wunderkinder” such as Alexandra Nechita ( Plagens 1996 ) who paints only in Picasso's Cubist style or Wang Yani ( Winner 1993 ) who produced traditional Chinese brush paintings to global acclaim. Two aspects of child art have been studied: the aesthetic, i.e., how good, or expressive, or authentic the image created by the child is; and the developmental, i.e., how best to describe a child's acquisition of graphic fluency ( Golomb 1993 ; Kindler & Darras 1997 ; Kindler et al. 2002 ; →  Art as Communication ; Media Use and Child Development ; Media Use by Children ; Visual Representation ). Aesthetic judgments about children's art are always the result of applying adult norms ( Pariser 1997 ; 2006 ). Thus, judgments about the aesthetic worth of children's art are highly contentious, and are best resolved with the antique quip De gustibus non est disputandum (There's no accounting for taste; →  Taste Culture ). Wilson (2004) noted that the art that children make for themselves borrows heavily from →  Popular Culture (→  Comics ), while the look of “school art” reflects the aesthetic choices and preferences ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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