Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ok, because of anonymous' reaction, I think I might need to reframe my argument here, or maybe adjust my preachified tone or something.

I love my students, and am invested in their growth technically. I don't always accomplish this, nor does my exposition regarding contemporary art always yield new opinions. I know this.

I am not enlightened, but what I am and have always been is curious. I always investigated art and art-making and tried to figure out where I fit in. And I'm surprised and underwhelmed when others are apathetic and lack curiosity. Pretentious of me? Self-centric? Maybe, but teaching others (esp. art) is experiential and frankly, it's hard for me to imagine a teacher or teaching style not based on experience. Some people just do a better job at hiding their bias than others.

For the record, I usually assign older artists in tandem with contemporary ones; i.e. I am not totally contempo-centric.

And my students are mostly juniors, not freshmen, which makes me a little more demanding in terms of their art-historical knowledge and concept understanding. I don't expect my freshmen to know Caravaggio, let alone Mike Kelley.

But anon., the beauty and downfall of UT's art dept. is that it is entirely faculty-driven, so of course you're going to get a roller-coastery multitude of opinions. Sometimes it's good, sometimes bad. Tenured or not, everyone has a niche and often a very opaque predisposition. The opposite extreme would be a department that had a consistent aesthetic and conceptual code, stamping every student with a certain look and artistic mission.

So, it's good to have opinions, I just like ones that are well-researched. And I appreciate your response, because it made me think a little about my approach. And that's cool.
There were a lot of shitty insinuations though, my dear anon, some of which you might need to clean up if you want to be taken seriously. And I think you should air your grievances to UT, not me, to some tenured prof. who actually has the power and institutional validation to make things happen.

2 comments:

D said...

My experience is that getting a good professor in any given course is a crapshoot at best and it has less to do with experience or tenure and more to do with how smart (the creative use of intelligence) and enlightened (street savvy and aware) the instructor is. A recent grad like yourself (yourself in particular) can help provide a more comprehensive and relevant view of art and the art world than a faculty flush with big names and tenured profs. Many of your recent posts leave me lamenting the lack of wit and snap in the MFA program I'm in. Unlike Anon I appreciate an insightful person with strong opinions and the integrity and regard to kick some student ass. I say if you fall off your high horse you should get right back on it.

Anonymous said...

So "d" really really really has no qualms or critical perspective on spending hsrd earned money/time playing craps?? Thats odd to me, I thought the job of the artist was to be critical.
Instead of "kicking ass" I say set an example they have to elevate themselves to.
I will alter my statement from before because you're right, maybe she should stay on her high horse. I do appreciate unique insight and strong opinions, otherwise I wouldn't read this blog of hers and she is highly capable. I just got rubbed the wrong way by that one entry.