In anticipation of The Ivory Tower, an art-academics' gripe-fest, er, I mean discussion I'm organizing for Jen Dalton and William Powhida's upcoming think tank, #class, at Winkleman, perhaps we should put Art School: (Propositions for the 21st Century) on our reading lists (optional, of course).
Here are some other things we might be talking about during the Ivory Tower discussion at #class:
• Art schools have drawn heavy fire recently for churning out young artists driven towards quick commercial success at the expense of their long term artistic development. Yet most artist-academics do not consciously try to instill in their students an impatient mercenary sensibility. Where, then, does it come from?
• Artists who are lucky (right?) enough to find full-time teaching jobs have to find a way to fit into conventional university systems that don't understand anything about art. Promotion and Tenure Committees, comprising professors from all departments, may understand the importance of gallery exhibitions, but are completely baffled by relational aesthetics, new media distribution, and other contemporary art practices. How do unorthodox artists maintain their identity and artistic integrity while working within the traditional academic system? (Update: OMG--Asst. Prof. Amy Bishop kills members of the Biology Department when her tenure appeal is denied.)
• Dialectics and lectures as art form. Hey--aren't art academics the experts in this area? How come we didn't come up with it first? Are we guilty of simply maintaining the status quo by accepting that teaching and art practice are two separate and distinct activities? Are we failing to think creatively? What's up with the Bruce High Quality Foundation University?
Any other suggestions?
And, since this event takes place during art fair week, after the discussion let's head over to INDEPENDENT, a hybrid model and temporary exhibition forum taking place at the former X Initiative / Dia Center for the Arts. INDEPENDENT was conceived by Elizabeth Dee, New York gallerist and founder of X Initiative, and gallerist Darren Flook, from Hotel, London. Part consortium, part collective, INDEPENDENT lies somewhere between a collective exhibition and a reexamination of the art fair model, reflecting the changing attitudes and growing challenges for artists, galleries, curators and collectors. On Thursday, the doors open to the public.
Save the date: "The Ivory Tower," Thursday, March 4, 4pm, Edward Winkleman Gallery, 621 W. 27th Street, New York, NY. Naturally, heartfelt "letters of thanks" will be provided on letterhead for promotion and tenure dossiers. More details to come.
Related post: The Promotion Project