Once I finally managed to make it out of food-coma from the weekend spent at Lake Michigan, bobbing around the dunes (it’s like a roller-coaster that you direct!) and practicing roasting donuts over an open fire while it hailed. The talks were both interesting and sleep inducing.
Perhaps my state of being, during the earlier point of the panel, was to blame but it felt like they spent far more time on their history than the actual subjects for the panel. However I will say it was pretty cool that they had such a good variety of people to be a part of it; The Dean of UofM’s art department, a gallery curator from NYC (Heather), apparently white head has grown his hair out (explains why I kept on looking at him but couldn’t place a name, I feel like such a creeper), an independently educated artist (the guy that was showing, cool!) and a formally trained one that was showing down in Detroit.
While it really is no surprise to me that education was the main focus of the panel, it did surprise me how much concern people seemed to have over the newly emerging degree level. At first I thought it was an overreaction, as my family history is down the engineering side of college where PHD’s and doctorates are never founded apawn and are actually quite useful. However after hearing the crowds concern it eventually dawned on me that once again art is different in every way and that the artificial ‘tiers’ of skill brought on by extended education in art really isn’t the way it should be allowed to go.
The last thing that I would like to mention is about the hosts well put concern over the direction of Oakland’s art school. His mention of its theory heavy curriculum and wish that it could get more towards the practice was nice to hear. For a while I was thinking that perhaps Oakland wasn’t interested in having its artists prepared physically for what they could mentally envision and express.