“I know you like to line dance…

…with everything
so democratic and cool
But baby
There’s no guidance
When random rules…”

Scattered, scattered thoughts.

So here they are: randomly.

Current art education is utterly without method in the true sense of the word Currently most curriculums are simply habitual, based on the habits of generations of art teaching. They are not based on a philosphy mostly because the the current philosophy of art is hoplessly muddled. If I wanted to figure out a curriculum for artists I would do well to ask the question what do artists need to know? Any attempt to answer that question leads us into the quagmire of further question like what are artists actually doing, how might we imagine that changing over the course of their lives, etc.
I was thinking about this today on the way to work in the following manner: what about skill and what about talent? We assume that an artist needs both, and that we can teach skill but not that talent is innate. So in part, the relative importance that we assign to either of those two determines how much we can teach an artist, and what we need to teach them. Since the romantics we have come to value the talent side more and more and yet created more official structures for imparting training for artists, So in a way we’ve created a big apparatus for teaching people something that we’re not sure they actually need.
I’m trying to to think about skill these days, primarily as the result of drawing more.

– – –

I’m very happy for all my friends who went to MAL, and it’s been a treat to read about people’s rich experiences there. But often over the past weekend I found myself twitchy about the whole thing. I don’t have particulalry good feelings about circuit gatherings of any kind -some of it is my stupidly reflexive behavior that leads me to position myself outside of any group I find myself in – and I’m particulary ambivalent about the leatherverse, which of course doesn’t really exist as any sort of coherent entity, but like most myths, does exhert a kind of ideological force. This weekend I began contemplating initating something I called F.U.K. for the Fellowship of Unaffilated Kinksters: kinky people who don’t belong to any major organization, and yet would like to find a way to meet others. I don’t need to be reminded of the absurdity of creating a group for lone wolves…

– – –

I have a suspicion that my therapist is sneaking koan study into our sessions…

– – –

More TV is going on in my life, which means that I now wish Jay would stop wearing the stupid scarves and I wish Austin would just stop period.

enough for now.

0 Comments +

  1. This weekend I began contemplating initating something I called F.U.K. for the Fellowship of Unaffilated Kinksters: kinky people who don’t belong to any major organization, and yet would like to find a way to meet others. I don’t need to be reminded of the absurdity of creating a group for lone wolves…

    It’s not a bad idea though. I mean, I’d join. Weirdly, I could swear I heard someone else (on LJ) come up with the same idea, but using a different name. Perhaps I just dreamed it.

    More TV is going on in my life, which means that I now wish Jay would stop wearing the stupid scarves and I wish Austin would just stop period.

    You see, I read things like this, and I think, perhaps you should try giving up TV for good.

  2. This weekend I began contemplating initating something I called F.U.K. for the Fellowship of Unaffilated Kinksters: kinky people who don’t belong to any major organization, and yet would like to find a way to meet others. I don’t need to be reminded of the absurdity of creating a group for lone wolves…

    It’s not a bad idea though. I mean, I’d join. Weirdly, I could swear I heard someone else (on LJ) come up with the same idea, but using a different name. Perhaps I just dreamed it.

    More TV is going on in my life, which means that I now wish Jay would stop wearing the stupid scarves and I wish Austin would just stop period.

    You see, I read things like this, and I think, perhaps you should try giving up TV for good.

  3. Have you ever read Ben Shahn’s lectures — The Shape of Content? He gave them at Harvard after its release of a report that anointed the arts as worthy of University degrees (the birth of the MFA or, more rightly, and answer to “whatever will we do with the refugees of the Bauhaus?”).

    To his credit, he really questions the idea of ensconcing the arts in the academy — largely in line with the questions you raise.

    I have to say, I don’t think I believe in “talent,” but I get your point about the schism between skill and content. I suspect, in some real way, those we see as “talented” find an individual synthesis between skill and content.

    Just some quick thoughts…

    Now, you can hire me on your faculty.

    hehehehehe

  4. Have you ever read Ben Shahn’s lectures — The Shape of Content? He gave them at Harvard after its release of a report that anointed the arts as worthy of University degrees (the birth of the MFA or, more rightly, and answer to “whatever will we do with the refugees of the Bauhaus?”).

    To his credit, he really questions the idea of ensconcing the arts in the academy — largely in line with the questions you raise.

    I have to say, I don’t think I believe in “talent,” but I get your point about the schism between skill and content. I suspect, in some real way, those we see as “talented” find an individual synthesis between skill and content.

    Just some quick thoughts…

    Now, you can hire me on your faculty.

    hehehehehe

  5. as a casualty of muddled art curricula, I have the following to say:

    The single most important thing an art student needs to learn (or identify) is why he/she is studying and/or making art. the specific reason is only important to the individual, there is no right answer. it could be as ridiculous as what I suspect most of my peers in LA were doing: studying art because they weren’t cute enough to be models or talented enough to be actors. But generally speaking, identifying where the personal need to make art is coming from is the first and most important part of a reasonable curriculum, in this dog’s opinion.

    second is a genuine balance between content and form. my experience was skewed towards content, and while I got a serious charge out of theory, I feel cheated on the fundamentals of form. Conversely, I have heard from others who studied elsewhere that they felt so bogged down in issues of form and foundation coursework, that they felt unable to distinguish the art in their work from the craft.

    third, (on the issue of content)is the necessity of teaching artists to take responsibility for the content of their work. teaching student artists to read, to research outside of the insular art world. say a student submits work for criticism that plays off of chauvinism in modernist painting, then the student should have at least read some Freud, even some Adrienne Rich, to support his/her concept/content/theory

    fourth (and the biggest pipe dream) would be to foster collaboration instead of competition.

  6. as a casualty of muddled art curricula, I have the following to say:

    The single most important thing an art student needs to learn (or identify) is why he/she is studying and/or making art. the specific reason is only important to the individual, there is no right answer. it could be as ridiculous as what I suspect most of my peers in LA were doing: studying art because they weren’t cute enough to be models or talented enough to be actors. But generally speaking, identifying where the personal need to make art is coming from is the first and most important part of a reasonable curriculum, in this dog’s opinion.

    second is a genuine balance between content and form. my experience was skewed towards content, and while I got a serious charge out of theory, I feel cheated on the fundamentals of form. Conversely, I have heard from others who studied elsewhere that they felt so bogged down in issues of form and foundation coursework, that they felt unable to distinguish the art in their work from the craft.

    third, (on the issue of content)is the necessity of teaching artists to take responsibility for the content of their work. teaching student artists to read, to research outside of the insular art world. say a student submits work for criticism that plays off of chauvinism in modernist painting, then the student should have at least read some Freud, even some Adrienne Rich, to support his/her concept/content/theory

    fourth (and the biggest pipe dream) would be to foster collaboration instead of competition.

  7. You can be a FUKster and still get a lot out of MAL, I say. Numerous FUKsters who inhabit the geographical and social peripheries of my leatherworld and whom I rarely see or have never before seen (including some New Yorkers) were there. Events like this attract them.

    It’s a question of knowing what you’re going for and saying screw the rest. Only a small number of men there are titleholders, most don’t even go to the contest, many don’t even wear leather. I spent most of the weekend not wearing any, and god knows I wasn’t exactly snubbed.

    I understand your aversion to orthodoxy, but I think it may be misplaced here. I think Nayland Blake – with or without the trappings – would have a fun time at MAL. Try it – you might like it. 🙂

  8. You can be a FUKster and still get a lot out of MAL, I say. Numerous FUKsters who inhabit the geographical and social peripheries of my leatherworld and whom I rarely see or have never before seen (including some New Yorkers) were there. Events like this attract them.

    It’s a question of knowing what you’re going for and saying screw the rest. Only a small number of men there are titleholders, most don’t even go to the contest, many don’t even wear leather. I spent most of the weekend not wearing any, and god knows I wasn’t exactly snubbed.

    I understand your aversion to orthodoxy, but I think it may be misplaced here. I think Nayland Blake – with or without the trappings – would have a fun time at MAL. Try it – you might like it. 🙂

  9. enseignement de l’art

    And yet skill is often not taught, either. I certainly didn’t think it was at Bard (it was another student who showed me how to build a frame for the large canvases that were so often mandated, not one of the teachers). In fact, the most intense actual “training” I got there was from a new teacher who taught Albers’s color theory.

    I still think the Bauhaus may have been the best, most coherent philosophy of all, and one thing I think it did right was focus on primarily visual elements: line, color, composition, geometry. Experience with those constituent elements (and how they interact on perception) can be taught, almost (but not quite) like a science.

    But what does that matter when art has become not an intellectual exercise or spiritual enlightenment, but rather a cult of personality. I’m big on crazy missing link theories (I’ll save how Aerosmith ruined rock with the well-intentioned but misguided gesture of collaborating with RunDMC for another day), but I think it was Andy Warhol who killed art education in America.

    If all that matters is surface, if all that interests is appearance, if everyone will always already get their 15 minutes … then what does it matter if you can draw or not? It’s more important that someone notice you doing it; quality control is beside the point.

  10. enseignement de l’art

    And yet skill is often not taught, either. I certainly didn’t think it was at Bard (it was another student who showed me how to build a frame for the large canvases that were so often mandated, not one of the teachers). In fact, the most intense actual “training” I got there was from a new teacher who taught Albers’s color theory.

    I still think the Bauhaus may have been the best, most coherent philosophy of all, and one thing I think it did right was focus on primarily visual elements: line, color, composition, geometry. Experience with those constituent elements (and how they interact on perception) can be taught, almost (but not quite) like a science.

    But what does that matter when art has become not an intellectual exercise or spiritual enlightenment, but rather a cult of personality. I’m big on crazy missing link theories (I’ll save how Aerosmith ruined rock with the well-intentioned but misguided gesture of collaborating with RunDMC for another day), but I think it was Andy Warhol who killed art education in America.

    If all that matters is surface, if all that interests is appearance, if everyone will always already get their 15 minutes … then what does it matter if you can draw or not? It’s more important that someone notice you doing it; quality control is beside the point.

  11. Hard to find a tribe when you’re anti-tribe; but you, I think, have a talent for it, because your charisma steps in where people would normally look for scene-specific legibility. And I do recall the first (and as far as I know, only) edition of Brains, the one with the Mr. Peabody spread . . . .

  12. Hard to find a tribe when you’re anti-tribe; but you, I think, have a talent for it, because your charisma steps in where people would normally look for scene-specific legibility. And I do recall the first (and as far as I know, only) edition of Brains, the one with the Mr. Peabody spread . . . .

  13. Now, you can hire me on your faculty.

    Hmmm scanning for a new job already?

    I had the shape of form on my bookshelf for years and never cracked the cover. I think now I might have gotten rid of it, but I’ll check.

  14. Now, you can hire me on your faculty.

    Hmmm scanning for a new job already?

    I had the shape of form on my bookshelf for years and never cracked the cover. I think now I might have gotten rid of it, but I’ll check.

  15. Indeed, I am sniffing under every rock that comes my way.

    If you can’t find it, and you would like, I can send you photocopies of the first and last essay.

    I hear you met a friend of mine. I will send real email soon… been snow blinded for a few days.

  16. Indeed, I am sniffing under every rock that comes my way.

    If you can’t find it, and you would like, I can send you photocopies of the first and last essay.

    I hear you met a friend of mine. I will send real email soon… been snow blinded for a few days.

  17. Now, you can hire me on your faculty.

    Hmmm scanning for a new job already?

    I had the shape of form on my bookshelf for years and never cracked the cover. I think now I might have gotten rid of it, but I’ll check.

  18. anti-tribe tribe

    see our show ‘the wild boys’ which is our second venture into working in a gallery together as a group of lone wolves

    tim hilton
    trevor fry
    richard gurney
    and others
    livejournal community ‘thewildboys’
    from 13th feb to 6th march
    mememememe gallery,
    sydney australia

  19. anti-tribe tribe

    see our show ‘the wild boys’ which is our second venture into working in a gallery together as a group of lone wolves

    tim hilton
    trevor fry
    richard gurney
    and others
    livejournal community ‘thewildboys’
    from 13th feb to 6th march
    mememememe gallery,
    sydney australia

  20. shot

    i started reading this when you first posted it
    and was too busy/distracted/travelling to respond
    so stopped
    though it’s been hovering

    “see all the wonders that you leave behind
    the wonders humble people own
    I know a boy from a tribe so primitive
    he can call me up without no telephone

    see all the wonders that you leave behind
    enshrined in some great hourglass
    the noble tongues, the noble languages
    entombed in some great english class”

    unfortunately
    i feel most “artists” move from a desire that most every [ill-dignified] person moves from:
    the desire to be immortal

    Art has made people immortal that were total wrecks in their days
    conforms to the old christian myths of “treasures in heaven”
    a way to have millions of suburbanites reading about you and copying your work for decades to come

    which is the silly thing
    the oldest “artists” we highly skilled and are only remembered because of their innovations (inspired by their talents)
    the newests artists generally lacked this immense skill (though, to some’s credit, certainly many possessed some)
    but took the bravado of the growing Americas and the revolutions in Europe
    to just jump off cliffs and try wild ideas
    yet again, inspired

    fame is caused by that talent, not so much by the skill

    though anyone of culture apprciates the skill to no end
    because it is a language that clearly communicate intent
    … still, so many Art Students don’t understand that
    because they don’t have Intent to begin with
    only an intent for their desired outcome:
    to be famous;= to be immortal
    as opposed to saying something (which isn’t even all that important)
    or Giving something
    which is what artists have always done:
    fed culture
    (like a bacteria culture, ya know? artists are the special FOS foods that keep the intestianal tracks of Society from being overrun by parasites and stale yeasts; allows life to be digested by transmuting it into something easier to assimilate… to be understood SOMEHOW)

    we are the great translators!
    the great SpoonFeeders

    (laughs)

    we work magic
    and real art is the Voice of God speaking to those who have their walkmans turned up too loud to the pop stations
    blinding their eyes
    shocking their ears into clarity
    and adding an iota of knew experience and knowledge…

    “an anthropologist he wrote a book
    he called it ‘myths of heaven’
    he’s disappeared, his wife is all distraught
    an angel came and got him

    his hair was light, his wings were love, his words were true,
    his eyes were lapis lazuli
    he spoke in a language oh so primitive
    he made sense to me”

    the lines blur
    imagination creates reality
    “takes life by the balls
    makes what i want to make happen”

    and on and on

    what are you dreaming about?

    the push-pull of acceptance/isolationISM
    you’d think you were two fish trying to eat eachother’s tails or something
    tales or something
    reminds me of a Koan
    no, it was about the Tao…
    i should be off to bed

  21. shot

    i started reading this when you first posted it
    and was too busy/distracted/travelling to respond
    so stopped
    though it’s been hovering

    “see all the wonders that you leave behind
    the wonders humble people own
    I know a boy from a tribe so primitive
    he can call me up without no telephone

    see all the wonders that you leave behind
    enshrined in some great hourglass
    the noble tongues, the noble languages
    entombed in some great english class”

    unfortunately
    i feel most “artists” move from a desire that most every [ill-dignified] person moves from:
    the desire to be immortal

    Art has made people immortal that were total wrecks in their days
    conforms to the old christian myths of “treasures in heaven”
    a way to have millions of suburbanites reading about you and copying your work for decades to come

    which is the silly thing
    the oldest “artists” we highly skilled and are only remembered because of their innovations (inspired by their talents)
    the newests artists generally lacked this immense skill (though, to some’s credit, certainly many possessed some)
    but took the bravado of the growing Americas and the revolutions in Europe
    to just jump off cliffs and try wild ideas
    yet again, inspired

    fame is caused by that talent, not so much by the skill

    though anyone of culture apprciates the skill to no end
    because it is a language that clearly communicate intent
    … still, so many Art Students don’t understand that
    because they don’t have Intent to begin with
    only an intent for their desired outcome:
    to be famous;= to be immortal
    as opposed to saying something (which isn’t even all that important)
    or Giving something
    which is what artists have always done:
    fed culture
    (like a bacteria culture, ya know? artists are the special FOS foods that keep the intestianal tracks of Society from being overrun by parasites and stale yeasts; allows life to be digested by transmuting it into something easier to assimilate… to be understood SOMEHOW)

    we are the great translators!
    the great SpoonFeeders

    (laughs)

    we work magic
    and real art is the Voice of God speaking to those who have their walkmans turned up too loud to the pop stations
    blinding their eyes
    shocking their ears into clarity
    and adding an iota of knew experience and knowledge…

    “an anthropologist he wrote a book
    he called it ‘myths of heaven’
    he’s disappeared, his wife is all distraught
    an angel came and got him

    his hair was light, his wings were love, his words were true,
    his eyes were lapis lazuli
    he spoke in a language oh so primitive
    he made sense to me”

    the lines blur
    imagination creates reality
    “takes life by the balls
    makes what i want to make happen”

    and on and on

    what are you dreaming about?

    the push-pull of acceptance/isolationISM
    you’d think you were two fish trying to eat eachother’s tails or something
    tales or something
    reminds me of a Koan
    no, it was about the Tao…
    i should be off to bed

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