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Lesson Plans


Re: critiques and faculty change

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Alix Peshette (apeshet)
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 07:36:12 +0000


> Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 19:29:56 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Sidnie Miller <sidmill.edu>
> To: artsednet
> Subject: Re: critiques and faculty change

Sidnie wrote:
>
> Speaking of faculty change--I would like to hear some comments about this
> question. The University of Nevada is the college that I have had most
> connection with lately, but it seems to me that college art instructors
> have a giant prejudice against anything pretty. If you want a good review
> or critique--your work had better be fairly violent and should contain a
> liberal amount of vaginas and penises. I'm trying to decide if this is a
> college thing or if professors just encourage it by making fun of anyone
> who persues " pretty" art as being trite. I think there is a prejudice
> that unless college art is shocking and sort of a break from their moral,
> goody-goody high school experience--it isn't art. What do you think??Sid
>
>
Hi Sidnie;

Your comments about your university experience rang a series of alarm
bells for me. When I was attending university during the 70' and
80's, there was one painting professor who, during critiques,
always steered the discussion of imagery around to the sexual. He
prompted the students to call out as a group, what body part was
being used in the imagery! This guy was " getting off" hearing a class
full of students yell, "Penis," "Vagina!" This was not a critique;
this was SEXUAL HARASSMENT!!! Unfortunately, we, as young women
students, didn't know that there was a name for it back in the 70's
and were scared and powerless to demand change.

By the 80's, the political climate had changed and the sexual
harassment complaints had started to pile up against the entire
(male side) of the art department. The university had the art
department form a committee to look into these allegations; and the
selected chairman was one of the biggest alleged sexual harassers in
the department!!!!

About pretty art...
There is a destructive mythology about artists and art that says one
has to suffer to make real art. It follows that, art will be
about suffering. I would love to debunk this myth! This
myth encourages artists to live and work under terrible conditions,
because to want (and be able to afford) anything else is bourgeois
and jeopardizes the authenticity of ones art. The need to shock, to
express only anger and violence stems from this belief about
suffering. We, as young artists, always hear the story about Vincent
Van Gogh and the severed ear!!

I would like to put forward a new mythology about the enlightened,
well-fed, creative middle class artist; who reflects the potential
for humanity in his or her work. The role model might be Rembrandt
who was firmly established in the middle class and lived a fairly
prosperous life.

Alix Peshette
non-suffering artist


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