The last twenty-five years has seen a strong growth in curriculum discourse-related visual culture. To an extent, this growth could even be interpreted as reshaping the field of visual art education in order to replace high art with a range of skills, usually invoked through names like “visual literacy,” “visual education,” and visual culture. However, the curriculum research on which this change has developed is drawn from a variety of sources, not all of which recognize the distinct disciplinary integrity of the visual arts as it was pronounced through the discipline-based art education model. Rather, that research often refers to creativity, literacy, and communication as skills that can be specially enhanced by way of a visual culture curriculum. This article argues that such research has failed to demonstrate the ascendant value of visual culture as opposed to visual art. It takes up the work of three well-known proponents of visual culture--Kerry Freedman, Kevin Tavin, and Paul Duncum--by examining their work over the last twenty years for its contribution to curriculum research. It questions whether their discourse provides a sound basis for replacing visual arts education with visual culture education, placing it into the context of neoliberal policy reform.


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pp. 95-111
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