I have couple weeks left before I complete my MFA degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and you might say its left me feeling a bit retrospective about my time here and this institution of the Fine Arts-
I’d been skimming through Suzi Gablik’s text titled Has Modernism Failed? A writing from the early 1980s that discusses the selling out of modern art at that time and questions the production of new artists through these expensive academic institutions.
In the book, Gablik makes a comment about graduates of the arts in the 80s, claiming that it had become common for students to come out of these schools feeling as if there was no longer enough inspiration to make art- that it was only the energy of professors and required assignments that kept them churning and once out on their own, money if not anything else was the only thing that really kept them interested. With most schools cranking out 100s of artists a year, many just walked away from the arts, finding they had nothing left to say, and that possibly, there was nothing left to say because Modernism had been exhausted.
Now in the thick of Post, Post, Post Modernism, lol- in a market of art where any damn thing goes- it would seem we are experiencing this lack of voice today.
And you what do I think?
That’s fucking insane! What kind of young person today cant find a voice to discuss something they care about thru their work. I’ve been thinking about Art and Agency as I look around at my colleagues and fellow students. Some of them have such conviction about their art practices, others do not. I see people who can easily move away from the arts simply for lack of agency, of not having something they want to share with people, of not having something to question or simply enjoy. Nothing to question? In all honestly I find myself shocked at the realization that this is true for so many artists soon to go out into the world.
I feel so disconnected from that. I’m All about telling the world what I’ve seen and what I want to do and be and grow and live and thrive and CHANGE shit. you know?
It got me thinking about privilege, about how modernism was an act of privilege, or at least carried that stereotype that art for arts sake is still an act of privilege. And it can be difficult to argue the presence of meaning these days- youre probably assuming I mean POLIITICS, or FIGURATIVE REPRESENTATIONS- that somehow all art should have a political angle. No, thats not what I’m saying, what i”m saying is that even if you are a Gerhard Richter abstractionist or simply obsessed with line and form, there must be a fire to what you are doing- otherwise, why should the world see it? what does it bring to the table? is that why so many students stop making art?
I’ve come across students in Chicago who say they went into art because they had talent in the craft, but not necessarily because they enjoyed it or were passionate about it- its just plain scary if you ask me- HOWEVER- I might be willing to hear the arguement that all this jaded cynicism about having nothing to say these days in fact a sign of this age. I Might…..
Idunno what do yall think about artists who believe they need someone to cheer for them in order to keep on keepin on?