Ucla Mfa Creative Writing
'' The schools have taught a generation of artists how to make art without laboring in their studios. You just assemble found objects into an installation, say the word 'gender' and you're done.'' Like the creative writing programs that became ensconced in universities in the 70's and spawned a generation of ''workshop'' novelists, the fine-art schools have fostered their own conceptually driven style. This year, only 1 out of every 32 applicants was accepted, which makes U. By contrast, Harvard Business School accepts 1 out of every 10 applicants.'' We've never had so many applications,'' says Mary Kelly, a well-known feminist artist who is chairwoman of the art department at U. '' What students don't understand is that having an M. I figured my night at the Warner Building would be an occasion for long, impassioned conversations about developments in recent art.
Its invasion of the art world has been abetted by the commercial galleries, where an obsession with novelty and art-as-investment makes every recent graduate a potentially hot property. It didn't quite turn out that way, though I did hear about a Viennese dealer who had made the rounds that afternoon. '' I sold them all.'' In the hallway, I tried to engage a mustachioed student, but to little avail.
His '' Shooting Piece'' required a friend to fire a bullet into his left arm from a distance of 15 feet. A Master of Fine Arts degree has become an essential credential.
Perhaps that's why, when we recently met at the University of California at Los Angeles, I found it hard to imagine him patiently sitting through faculty meetings. You wait long enough and even the most outrageous rebels end up grading papers and sharing career tips with students. A skinny art student paused to tell him that she had just been interviewed by a local news program about campus crime. Or so one might think, judging from the success of graduate art departments, where applications are at a record high. boom has not been accompanied by a growth in the amount of first-rate art being created in this country.
California artists are fond of disparaging not only Yale ('' I've met Yale students and going to Yale is the highlight of their career,'' says Chris Burden), but also the entire Northeastern art-school scene.In their studios, they diligently fabricate cutting-edge art: videos, performances and room-size ''installations'' intended as an exercise in cultural critique. is frequently described as the power art school of the late 90's; visiting the campus is like attending an opening of the Whitney Biennial. '' You can't teach someone to be a Michelangelo,'' he said, ''but you can't teach someone to be an Einstein either.Oddly enough, the academic vogue for French post-structuralism has turned out to be an efficient recipe for American-style success. In addition to Burden, the first of the crop to be hired, you spot Charles Ray and Barbara Kruger, Nancy Rubins and Paul Mc Carthy, Lari Pittman and John Baldessari, a 68-year-old conceptual artist with flowing white hair and a matching beard. It bothers me that people think that physics can be taught but that art can't be.'' He took a bite of his vegetarian burger and added confidently, '' I think we teach students to think better.'' To be sure, not every teacher sees critical theory as the path to perfect enlightenment. I've known a lot of geniuses who went by the wayside.Stopping into the studio of Sandeep Mukherjee, an Indian student with an elegantly shaved head, I found him at work on an interesting drawing based on photographs. '' I don't want my name in your article,'' he said, explaining that he recently had a one-man show at the Steffany Martz Gallery, in Manhattan, and ''it would hurt my reputation if people knew I was a student.'' Someone else pointed out that you can't damage your reputation if you don't have one.Delia Brown, who paints pictures of herself dressed in campy ancien regime costumes, giggled, and said on behalf of everyone, '' We each nurture the delusion that we'll be the one artist to make it.'' Are academies good or are academies bad?
Unlike Manhattan, where an artist can be part of a community just by walking down a street in So Ho, the L. art scene, like the city itself, has no geographic center. While California artists know they've made it when they're offered a teaching job, New York artists know they've made it when they quit their teaching jobs.'' In New York, you just don't get teachers who have large careers,'' says the artist Barbara Kruger, who is famed for her screaming, red-and-black critiques of power. A., she stressed that the school's prominence shouldn't be seen as unshakable.