MFA

Manual Labor in the Age of Academe

PRESENT AN ALIEN FROM OUTER SPACE with an illustrated time line of Western art—from, say, Theodoros of Samos to selected offerings from any museum of contemporary art. Ask the fellow if he can tell which end of the time line is the beginning. [It is not a trick question. We just do not know whether aliens read from left to right or the other way around.] If the frequencies along his optic nerves run as ours do, and if he has his wits about him, he will choose, with confidence, the contemporary stuff as the slime from which Theodore eventually emerged. Continue Reading
CalArts Graduating Class, 2010

IS THERE A VACCINE FOR ART INTOLERANCE? If so, please tell me where to get it. At the beginning of the summer CalArts announced its exhibition of work by this year’s crop of MFA grads. This next wave of artistic talent washed over downtown Los Angeles’ Chinatown from July 2nd through July 9th at six participating galleries. The culminating exhibition of fledgling master work was called Box Scheme, organized by independent curator Ana Vejzovic Sharp, former curator of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. Continue Reading
The Pathos of the MFA, part I

I RECEIVED THE OFFER OF A TEACHING JOB, accepted it, and resigned all in the same day. Yesterday, I opened my computer to find an invitation to teach a graduate class called Art and Culture in a New York art school’s MFA program. It meant leading a weekly 90-minute seminar on assigned readings and attending, together with students, guest lectures by artists chosen by the department. Sounded good. The opportunity to guide and play devil’s advocate to young artists in their twenties and thirties who are committed to painting the figure appealed to me. Continue Reading