Friday, October 19, 2007

Art School Critique?

The past month I’ve been thinking way too much about art school. I started out with the intent of critiquing art schools in general and started by focusing on the school I currently attend, the Kansas City Art Institute.

My interest started with how art schools sale themselves to perspective students. Through accessing the KCAI archives I’ve viewed most of the catalogs dating back to the early 1900’s. I photographed elements of the catalogs I found interesting and started making collages out of the photos. But then I started to think too much.

I don’t have a negative opinion of the school, and have benefited tremendously from going to school at KCAI. I’m not interested in work that is merely complaining or reacting off the current administration. But using the school as a subject matter seemed to make perfect sense. I want to teach at the college level after I attend grad school, so why not explore the world I’m about to embark on.

Upon going back into the archives recently they had recently been sent a yearbook that a gentleman had found at a flea market in California. Only one class in the history of the school had put together a yearbook, the 1948 graduation class. The book itself is rather bland and not that interesting, just an ordinary yearbook. But on the front inside cover where a name should be and in the back, the autographs page there was an absence. Someone had gone to the trouble of burning out the signed names. They could have cut out the names, but instead choose to burn them.

The sense of trauma the book has to it became a metaphor for me about what happens to the artist that don’t succeed. But in romanticizing this symbol I left out one factor: That most artist that don’t exceed do so because of his or her own lack of ambition, drive, and talent.

I’m currently still working with theses issues, though my thinking phase is over and I’m just focusing on “Making and Thinking.”

I will be posting some of the work I’ve been making here soon.