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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Return of the Academy

  • Author(s): Hextrum, Robin Hilary
  • Advisor(s): Laxton, Susan
  • et al.

Since the 1970s a movement called classical realism has grown across North America and Europe. Classical realist painters reject modern and contemporary art in favor of traditional academic painterly practices. This thesis investigates the origins and implications of the presence of this movement within the context of art education. This paper considers the role of pastiche in the philosophy of the classical realist movement, the similarities and differences between the 21st century classical realist atelier and academies of the past, and the ways in which the atelier offers a simplified alternative model of education in the face of contradictory art educational models. Citing work by Howard Singerman, James Elkins, and Nicholas Houghton, this thesis builds on commentary about the role of education in shaping the artist and the art world. In this case, classical realism provides a window into larger issues at stake in both art education and the contemporary art world.

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