While working as a museum educator, I learned about DBAE, or discipline-based art education, the development of which is often credited to the Getty Center for Arts Education. In the 1980s, DBAE was identified as a method (one of several) for teaching in the arts, one that examines the arts through four lenses:
- production (creation)
- history (role in culture)
- criticism (interpretation and analysis)
- aesthetics (the nature of art and judgments about art).
All of these areas might be used to formulate "talking points" about art, and indeed, DBAE has been adapted by several states to develop curriculum standards for teaching in the fine arts, including dance, music, theatre and visual art.
Often when I write about a work of art, I find it helpful to try to incorporate some or all of the DBAE ideas. I might discuss art as a creative product, place art in context, speculate about possible meanings for art, and theorize about art. You may also find it helpful to remember the "talking points" with this nifty catch phrase: create, relate, evaluate.