Monday, July 25, 2011

Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery Blog - MFA: Is it Necessary? --- The Debate

This is an informative and timely article.  I saw Paul Klein share this article from Huffington Post about an hour ago on facebook.  It is timely because Rusty and I just had lunch with Quin Mathews and we were discussing the sometimes tedious nature (at least to me) of academic conceptual art.  Jane's words would have been perfect for our conversation, "We're teaching artists to TALK about art. Anything is art as long as you can justify it using the codified language of academia. As my friend Ted says, there's no good art, no bad art, just an endless dialog about art." I also agree with her earlier statement, "It's supposed to be VISUAL art, after all."

Personally, I want to 'get' the art on my own without having to read a novel about the concept the artist was trying to achieve first.  I appreciate the text museums provide to give viewers a sense of the time period in which a work was made and how the contemporaneous events of the artist's life influenced the work.  For example, when I view William Kentridge's work I can immediately see that many works address apartheid.  Accompanying text helps me to round out that understanding by learning that he had several lawyers in his family that took on civil rights cases against apartheid.  But that information and overarching concept is not necessary for me to appreciate the beauty of his drawings of typewriters or other desk objects, or short films that seem to take us into space through constellations of his own imagination.

My very dear friend, James Watral, retired from teaching this month.  James earned his masters at Tulane in New Orleans and his bachelor at Cleveland Institute of Art.  He taught for many years in DFW area universities before I met him thirteen years ago.  However, he had been a full time studio potter for several years when I met him.  He went back to teaching ten years ago, and has now retired prior to his 69th birthday.  He made an interesting statement a couple of weeks ago as we were out running errands together.  James said that galleries started to pay more attention to him when he stopped teaching because they recognized that he was then dedicated to making art.

No comments:

Post a Comment