Kay McCrea wrote;
> Recently Terry Barrett at Ohio State University mentioned
> her desire to begin a dialogue on the subject of past personal
> experiences with critiques. I sent her the following, and she
> asked that I share it. She would like a dialogue on this subject.
> I think this would be beneficial for many of us.
> My husband and I both got our undergraduate degrees in the
> 60's. During this time period, it was fashionable for critiques to
> be extremely harsh, sort of public humiliation events. I learned
> beneficial design concepts, formalistic concerns from these
> critiques, but I learned many things that were detrimental in the
> process. I avoided going back and taking additional studio classes
> for a number of years just to avoid critiques. Eventually I got a
> Masters in Art Education; the local university wouldn't let
> students work toward an MFA unless they were full time students.
> (I think this is another topic for discussion!) My husband who has
> an MFA in art had similar critique experiences; he avoids certain
> media thanks to his critique experiences in those area!
> As a result of our experiences, we try to make sure that in
> critiques with our students we have our own students look for
> positive attributes in each student's work. I feel that this is
> not artificial, although sometimes difficult. We also make
> suggestions for improvement in each student's work. Sometimes we
> hold critiques in which only positive remarks are allowed. I have
> had several students tell me that the critique experience was one
> of the most valuable things they learned in high school art classes
> and that dealing with college critiques was much easier as a
> I wonder if extremely negative critiques were the rule of
> thumb through a certain time period.
> Kay McCrea
> Wichita High School South
> Wichita, Kansas
Boy, just reading description of your husband's and your experiences
in University critiques brought back all those memories for me. I
too, experienced only harsh, pompous, and humiliating critiques
during the '70's and 80's while working on two degrees in art. I
don't remember that there was any beneficial design content during
these occasions. It was so painful that I still don't attend critiques as an artist
nor do I do them with my students. I would love to change this!
Anyone want to discuss successful, humane and constructive critique strategies
they have used or experience?