December 7, 2018

School Watch interview with Maria Fusco and a report on the “Poverty of Sensibility” symposium

Art & Education

(1) Give Up Art: Collected Critical Writing, published by New Documents, 2018. (2)  Maria Fusco. (3) Gao Shiming, professor and vice president of China Academy of Art, presents “Poverty of Sensibility and the Art of Emancipation.” (4) Steven Henry Madoff, curator, art critic and Chair of MA Curatorial Practice, School of Visual Arts, presents “The Automaton.” (5) “Poverty of Sensibility” speech panel.

Art & Education presents a new School Watch interview with Maria Fusco on pedagogy and art writing and a report on the “Poverty of Sensibility” symposium at San Francisco Art Institute with China Academy of Art.

Writing as a Visible Practice: An Interview with Maria Fusco
By Chris Sharratt
“I feel that ‘art writing’ is a redundant phrase now, it’s not so useful anymore. The value of having a phrase like ‘art writing’ at the time of the Goldsmiths MFA was a bit like ringing a bell and saying to people, ‘We’re doing this here! Do you want to be involved in it, do you want to do it together?’ By doing it together we could all make it a bit better. I strongly believe in that idea, hence doing things through practice, embodying the rigor and originality of scholarly activity as practice. But now, much in the same way we might have talked about time-based artists or new media artists in the past, it’s no longer a relevant term. It’s not completely irrelevant, but it has lost much of its use value and gained more symbolic value. Phrases are very useful for building a constituency of people who are interested in challenging the practice, but now I think that ‘interdisciplinary writing’ is a clearer, more nuanced phrase; ‘art writing’ now has a smack of antiquity about it.

However, I do think the definitions in ‘11 Statements Around Art Writing,’ which was produced in 2011 with and for the Goldsmiths students, still stands as a kind of definition of the field. This was cowritten with colleagues after the program had been running for perhaps two years, so those statements came out of the practices that we observed and enacted. Two of the statements are particularly important: number 7: ‘Art writing is an anthology of examples’; and number 8: ‘Art writing is reinvented in each instance of art writing, determining its own criteria.’ I think those two are essential. What we all expect, both within teaching and of ourselves and other practitioners, is this sense of reinventing something at each instance. That’s what excellence is.” [read more]

Terms of Exchange: “Poverty of Sensibility” at San Francisco Art Institute with China Academy of Art
By Brian Karl
"The increasing internationalization of art school programs was reflected in the sponsorship of the symposium itself. The formal relationship between CAA and SFAI dates to the 1980s and was a harbinger of the present state of affairs in US art schools, where international students comprise as much as 30 percent of enrollment. Chinese students in particular make up a significant proportion of this population. Though this situation encourages cultural exchange, there is an awareness among many educators of the financial concerns driving much current US art school recruitment, curriculum development, and student outcomes.

Among the more intensely theorized subjects discussed during the first half of the symposium were technological determinism, social media proliferation, data-fication, (self-)surveillance, and the collective impact of all this on not only students and the art world, but society at large. Only a few presenters identified the dominance of capitalism and the influence of the art market on education as issues of concern." [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.

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