Gardner to Focus on “The True, the Beautiful, and the Good” in MoMA Lecture SeriesBy Jill Anderson
Professor Howard Gardner will begin a unique lecture series at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) next week. The lectures entitled “The True, the Beautiful, and the Good: Reconsiderations in a Postmodern, Digital Era” will explore concepts and problems surrounding truth, beauty, and goodness in today’s age of rapid technological advancement.
“I have long thought that education should help us to think clearly about the true, the beautiful, and the good and how to contribute to a world which exhibits those virtues,” Gardner says, noting his 1999 book, The Disciplined Mind, which focused on how to teach these topics. “The book was written naively – I simply accepted the terms of truth and falseness, beauty and ugliness, and goodness and evil as given. But as an observer of the academy, I know that these terms are much contested, particularly in postmodern and deconstructivist terminology, and educators cannot simply ignore these critiques.”
Part of Gardner’s current research involves how the new digital media are affecting young people’s cognitive capacities, dispositions, and ethical senses. In this three-part lecture series, Gardner will argue that it is far more complex, but still possible, to approach truth, beauty, and goodness in a digital era, but the pursuit is anything but automatic.
“What is truth in an era of blogging and Wikis? What is beauty, when anyone can experiment endlessly with any display? How do the new media affect our senses of privacy, authorship, membership in a community? These are some of the issues that will arise in the lectures and, I hope, I’ll provide some convincing answers as well,” he says.
Following each lecture, Gardner will be joined for a discussion by fellow scholars. They include Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in the History of Science and Physics, Harvard University on November 25; Paola Antonelli, senior curator, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA on December 2; and Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, and director, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California on December 9.
A longtime fan of the MoMA, Gardner served on the museum’s education committee for 20 years and is currently on the board of trustees. Gardner’s lectures will incorporate hundreds of slides and music to illustrate the topic, and notes that the subject is important for everyone to consider today.
“It’s easier to be naÃ¯ve or simple-minded, but as a scholar and an educator and a parent and a citizen, I don’t feel that we can or should sweep these questions under the rug,” he says. “Only if we look squarely at the threats to truth, beauty, and goodness, posed by post modern critiques and by the potentials both positive and negative of the new digital media can we arrive at clear thinking and warranted conclusions. And only then will we be in a position to help young people and indeed interested people of all ages to think cogently about these vital virtues and their status today and going forward.”
For more information, visit: http://www.moma.org/calendar/events.php?id=10171&ref=calendar