I think the question of whether youngsters study art history enough or whether they study it more than their ancestors is ultimately a subjective one based on anecdotal evidence at best, for any one of us.
I feel the best approach to art is an openness to any vision, any process, any material, any subject matter that will give you what you're after. That openness sometimes looks like willful ignorance of history, but there's just so much time in a day and sometimes you spend it shooting crappy photos with your camera rather than read or look at art. As someone else said, the serious artist or student of art usually resorts to history at some point, when she has the time, especially when he runs out of material . . .
And I'm also getting a lot out of this discussion, at least about 80% of it.
The discussions here lean pretty heavily towards emphasizing process. Over content, form, art history, meaning. Which is to be expected at APUG, that's what it is.
I would love to find more discussion of aesthetic, art history, compositional, social engagement issues as they bear on photography, but have not found a website for that type of discussion , except occasionally here, on a few blogs (Conscientious is one) or in books. Any sites like that?