May 20, 2015

School Watch reports from USC and Rutgers: Exit letter from USC’s first-year MFAs and Karen Archey on The MFA That’s Not 100k

Art & Education
Reception for the MFA – BFA Thesis Mentorship Program at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Courtesy of Marc Handelman.

Entire USC First-Year MFA Class is Dropping Out
Intro by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer
The University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design’s internationally-renowned MFA program is, sorrowfully, over as we have come to know and love it. For most of the past decade, this graduate program has excelled as an exemplary institutional model and major epicenter of pedagogical mentorship, cultural critique, and artistic rigor with outstanding faculty and celebrated alumni registering far-reaching ripple effects across the landscape. And so, it is nothing short of scandalous (and utterly baffling) that the university administration, led by recently appointed and conspicuously unqualified Dean Erica Muhl, has elected to squander, self-destructively, the school’s significant reputation, unique standing, and immense so-called “cultural capital” by antagonizing faculty and students alike in a misguided structural overhaul that valorizes neo-liberal corporate clichés of “disruption” over critical discourse, intellection, and deep studio practice. Caught in the middle of such tumult, the first-year MFA students collectively reevaluate their course of study.

Read their exit letter here.


Rutgers: The MFA That’s Not 100k
By Karen Archey
Having finished undergrad with a bill totaling over one hundred thousand dollars at the dawn of the financial crisis, I’ve been desperately and embarrassingly broke since 2008. I’ve worked dead-end retail jobs, ridden out unemployment, and moved back in with my parents during art world off-seasons just to be an art critic. Was it worth it? I can’t really say yes, but I acknowledge it was my decision to dig in my heels and pursue a chronically underfunded profession despite all logic and parental advice. Feeling that you’re born an artist or writer is what keeps these industries going, because logically 99% of us are setting ourselves up for failure and financial ruin—but hey, I’m a creative type, so, YOLO—I went to art school… [read more]


School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.


art&education now features Yearbook, a platform for schools to present student work from MFA shows, open-studio presentations, and other annual student exhibitions.

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.