Ucla Creative Writing Mfa Program

Ucla Creative Writing Mfa Program-4
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.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.

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.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.

In the 70's, California Institute of the Arts, which was founded by Walt Disney amid the orange groves of Valencia, became a finishing school for the New York art world.

(Eric Fischl, David Salle and Ross Bleckner are among its grads.) Other prominent schools include Otis College of Art and Design, the University of California at Irvine and, as you hear wherever you go, Art Center College of Design, the latest academy of the millisecond.

While art schools have flourished since the 16th century, it was only in the 1960's that they became lodged in universities -- and critical theory was elevated above craftsmanship.

Whereas once students attended life classes and learned skills by drawing from a model ('' We will begin by drawing, we will go on drawing and then we will continue to draw,'' Ingres famously instructed his charges), today they sit in paint-free classrooms devising strategies for subverting the patriarchal order.

For much of this century, the question elicited the same vehement answer.

Academies, the argument went, were anathema to creativity.One afternoon, eager to see what the hype was about, I drove out to Art Center College of Design.Set in the hills of Pasadena, with a view of the Rose Bowl, it occupies a sleek, black-glass building that looks like an industrial laboratory. program in art, one that has nothing to do with cars.By the 60's, Yale had emerged as the leading American art academy; its alums included Chuck Close, Brice Marden, Richard Serra, Jennifer Bartlett and Robert Mangold, making it seem as if every hip artist in New York was obligated to have an Ivy League degree.By the early 70's, craftsmanship had become passe and, as the critic Arthur Danto has observed, '' Art had turned into philosophy.'' Yet not all philosophies are the same.One can trace the situation to Marcel Duchamp, the modern-art maverick who penciled a mustache on the '' Mona Lisa'' and invented the tradition of art-as-idea.But it makes more sense to trace the rise of American art academies to, of all things, an act of Congress: the passage of the G. Bill in 1944, which sent a wave of World War II veterans off to school, art school included. American artists who might once have studied at quaintly bohemian, craft-intensive schools like the Art Students League (as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko did) or Black Mountain College (as Robert Rauschenberg did) or the Hans Hofmann School of Art in Greenwich Village began enrolling at universities instead.Back in the 1970's, Burden was a legendary wild man, a conceptual artist who bled for his work -- he spent five days jammed into a small metal locker, rolled on broken glass and crucified himself on the roof of a Volkswagen, with nails driven through his palms. Now he's 53, a tenured professor of art, with an annual salary of 2,000 and a package of benefits provided by the state of California. The proverbial romantic artist, struggling alone in a studio and trying to make sense of lived experience, has given way to an alternate model: the university artist, who treats art as a homework assignment. In fact many critics feel that art schools are directly responsible for a decline in the quality of art.'' People think collectors support artists,'' he tells me. This spring, some 2,000 aspiring Rembrandts received Master of Fine Arts degrees, an estimate based on figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, in Washington. degrees, nor students of creative writing, filmmaking, acting, music and dance. programs, but in 1996, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the U. Department of Education, more master's degrees were conferred in the visual and performing arts -- a total of 10,280 degrees -- than in English (8,000), biology (6,000) or math (4,000). '' When I go to the New York galleries, all I see is art-school art,'' says Barbara Rose, the art historian. Young artists today have something in common with doctors and lawyers: they need to be academically certified. '' When, I wondered, did cutting-edge art become a lesson you learn at school?

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