School Watch

Critical Mass at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

by Andrew Cappetta & Jason Foumberg

Founded in 1866 as the Chicago Academy of Design, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) emerged at a critical moment in the development of two American civic institutions: the museum and the university. In 1872, the school initiated a program of collecting art to further its mission of art education, a purpose shared by both the art school and the museum. By 1882, this hybrid museum-school was christened an “art institute,” as a means to encapsulate these similar yet distinct approaches towards art education, one through instruction and the other through curation and display. SAIC is not [...] read more

Video School

The Myth of the Given: Nominalism, Naturalism & Materialism, by Ray Brassier

“The myth of the given,” as proposed by the American philosopher Wilfred Sellars, is as much a problem for art as it is for philosophy. Effectively, it is a model of perception that proposes there is a world (i.e., objects) that can be spontaneously apprehended (or “given” to perception) without the perceiving consciousness (i.e., the subject) applying any recourse to reason (i.e., the subject need not apply any of its cognitive capacities to receive the “gift” of the perception of “the given”). Ray Brassier’s lecture outlines this concept and details other terms used by Sellars, such as “the manifest image” [...] read more

“This is Art”: The Anatomy of a Sentence, by Thierry de Duve

Thierry de Duve deftly dissects the deceptively simple injunction “this is art” to show how Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain of 1917 forces us to rethink Kantian aesthetics when encountering “candidates” to be considered as art. De Duve outlines three categories of art theory that are unable to deal with the challenge of Fountain: i) art in general; ii) feeling art as such; and iii) a universal basis of comparison for art, which he calls “art altogether.” He states that aesthetic theories of art empirically based on taste/feeling accommodate these specifications of art because they can invoke affect or comparison as criteria [...] read more