Pragmatism, Art and the Ottoman New School

Summary of lecture: The reform of art education at the Teachers’ Training College in Istanbul in 1909 introduced a quite novel approach to art. It shifted the primary artistic concern away from the finished object towards the creative act. This lecture traces the philosophical underpinnings of this process-oriented concept of art through the work of its main promoters, the educationalists Satı‘ al-Husri (1880–1969) and İsmail Hakkı Baltacıoğlu (1887–1978). It analyses their engagement with Progressive Education and Pragmatism, as well as the unexpected role of contemporary object-centered interpretations of Islamic art in the development of these international movements. Martina Becker is Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan. She teaches Islamic art history and works on objecthood and process in modern Islamic art, Islamic art historiography, and art education in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.