Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Perfect Art School

The editor of American Artist magazine recently asked a group of artists, teachers, and administrators to describe "The Perfect Art School." The new September issue publishes the answers. 


Here's my answer: "The perfect art school would nurture skill but not ostentation, knowledge but not dogma, and tradition but not conventionalism."

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said here about a perfect art school, but we'd have to also add, "Doesn't have an absurdly ridiculous price..."

Michael said...

"A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein ©1977

18 NETWORK OF LEARNING
... schooling in a fixed place, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city: workshops, teachers at home or walking through the city, professionals willing to take on the young as helpers, older children teaching younger children, museums, youth groups traveling, scholarly seminars, industrial workshops, old people, and so on. Conceive of all these situations as forming the backbone of the learning process; survey all these situations, describe them, and publish them as the city's "curriculum"; then let students, children, their families and neighborhoods weave together for themselves the situations that comprise their "school" ...

43 UNIVERSITY AS MARKETPLACE

... original universities in the middle ages were simply collections of teachers who attracted students because they had something to offer. They were marketplaces of ideas, located all over the town, where people could shop around for the kinds of ideas and learning which made sense to them. By contrast, the isolated and over-administered university of today kills the variety and intensity of the different ideas at the university and also limits the student's opportunity to shop for ideas.

... Establish the university as a marketplace of higher education. As a social conception this means that the university is open to people of all ages, on a full-time, part-time, or course by course basis. Anyone can offer a class. Anyone can take a class.

Janet Oliver said...

Great answer, James! I would add that the school would take seriously its "non-traditional" students, by which I mean adult women who want to pick up where they left off before raising their children.

Mark said...

Marie bashkirtseff. So sad.

Lucy said...

Just sayin', 'universities' don't stifle. It comes down to individual artist/teachers sprinkled in the faculty mix that one has to look for. Above-average means there are fewer of these than others who are less exciting.

So the ideal school would have the characteristics others have already said, plus, and basically, individual artists with the teaching gene, passionate about art and teaching, people who read, have the vocabulary, have an excellent peer group, take risks, say 'yes', and 'go ahead, try it. see how it turns out, experience the process.'

Anonymous said...

I never attended art school. I learned through workshops, classes, and books. Lots of books. And a lot of practice. I think that the "perfect" art school doesn't exist. The student should be an independent thinker and assess the learning experience for what is best for them. There is always something to learn, but not necessarily to keep.

G.

Ken said...

If Mr Gurney started an art school i would sign up in a heart beat

twanski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twanski said...

It's a fantastic idea but almost impossible to achieve unfortunately :) Difficult not to agree with Anonymous (Jul 26 2012 8:15 pm), but I would say that an art school could be a good start (for some at least), but you can't be there too long. You have to break away to learn and practice on your own. Most of the learning comes from your own desire to observe, synthesize and craft ideas and techniques.

Keith Parker said...

I think that even if you are in school most of what you learn is on your own. School may make you try new approaches, and give you an excuse to stop making excuses, but at the end of the day 80 to 90 percent of what we learn is up to us. With all the books, and tutorials out there it's probably not right to say any artist alive today is 100% self taught. I think the fine line between educated and self taught is blurring. I'm going to art school as much to motivate me to draw and stop procrastinating as anything else. By spending a ridiculous amount of money I have forced myself to work harder. I doubt I would force myselve to stay up all night to finish some of these projects if the only incentive I had was I need to draw more.