July 27, 2013

Book review part one and six degrees of separation.

If I ever teach painting again, I'd recommend Eric Fischl's memoir Bad Boy as a way of introducing how the current discourse on painting and conceptual art evolved.

And then I'd wait for a student to complain that I was making them read a seminal essay about painting.* [Rim shot.]

I'd like to refrain from calling it a split between conceptual art and hands-on art-making because I believe the two can overlap in the right hands, but this is where Fischl's account of his undergraduate and teaching experience puts both of these camps into a better perspective. I can't provide a full review yet, but so far the book not only lays out Fischl's history of finding himself as an artist, but it also provides a lucid account on why academia continues to have a split-personality when it comes to implementing an undergraduate curriculum (and ultimately how that split infiltrates the surrounding community.) For anyone who's had to "defend" painting, even passively, there's a shared sense of camaraderie that's bound to be lost on today's students, some fellow painters and possibly even faculty today. More later, but I'm highly recommending it as a must-read.

As for the six degrees of separation- years ago as young artists just out of school, my friend Margaret and I painted the interior of his ex-wife's house in Chicago. After the job was done, we all shared a moment as one of his paintings was hung back on our newly painted wall.

*true story

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