Art as Experience


Dewey's theory is an attempt to shift the understandings of what is essential and characteristic about the art process from its physical manifestations in the ‘expressive object’ to the process in its entirety, a process whose fundamental element is no longer the material ‘work of art’ but rather the development of an ‘experience’. Experience is something that personally affects one's life. That is why these theories are so crucial to people's social and educational life. Such a change in emphasis does not imply, though, that the individual art object has lost significance; far from it, its primacy is clarified: one recognizes an object as the primary site for the dialectical processes of experience, as the unifying occasion for these experiences. Through the expressive object, the artist and the active observer encounter each other, their material and mental environments, and their culture at large.

the author

John Dewey (1859 – 1952 ), 
American Philosopher and educational Reformer