In Probably Is
Periodically I check up on art departments of American Universities. It is important to know what is being programed/taught/indoctrinated in the arts because it tells you where a culture is and where it is going. Some changes have happened in the leadership of the Art Department at Yale since I last reviewed them two and half years ago, TOMBS 3: Yale School of Art. The Dean of Art at the time, Marta Kuzma, left that post in 2021, but continued on as tenured professor of art. The new Dean is Kymberly Pinder.
Both Kuzma and Pinder have extensive academic backgrounds that lend great credibility. But, I think some of their projects and writings are noteworthy. In 2014, Kuzma served as director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway and facilitated projects such as On Negritude: The Politics of Art Production in Africa (2012), ISMS: Recuperating Political Radicality in Contemporary Art (2006). She was the founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev, Ukraine; and served as artistic director of the Washington Project for the Arts, in Washington, D.C.
Pindar published Painting the Gospel: Black Public Art and Religion in Chicago, and
Race-ing Art History: Critical Readings in Race and Art History.
They both cover race and politics as important art subjects. But coming from my perspective as a figurative artist in his fifth decade, theorist, author, and professor of drawing, painting, and the figure, propaganda and race-baiting doesn’t garner serious aesthetic consideration. It is like focusing on an artist’s tweet instead of the fundamental philosophical and psychological issues conveyed through an art master.
But in leadership, the proof is in the pudding, what are the artistic results of the students?
A few artworks from the old Dean’s leadership: In Praise of Shadows, February 16, 2021. https://www.art.yale.edu/exhibitions/spring-2021-painting-thesis-group-2
A few artworks from the new Dean’s leadership: A Prologue to Somewhere. Fall 2022.
When it looks like BS, it probably is. What does Yale, its trustees, faculty, and parents of its students have to gain from this? Promoters of aesthetic fraud are not innocent. They are actively involved in a massive BlackOp, fueled by envy of the good and self-hatred for their pathetic lack of self-esteem. The goal is to create a world in which everyone is a liar, cheater, greedy, and a con-artist. They cannot stand the idea that human greatness, integrity, and self-esteem are currency they have to compete with.
BTW, this installation crap was the same type of thing when I was fine art student at USC in the 70’s, found trash for finals, and get an easy A for BS.
What should be happening to students in the Yale Art department is to be learning drawing, painting, and sculpture fundamentals and the figure (if they can master figurative work they can make anything) 18-hours a day. Short of that, students deeply know that they are not free to express any important emotions. The lack of knowledge and skill renders them only to express rage, whininess, and manipulation. Anyone of any skill knows with certainty that skill frees them, and the greater the skill the further they can reach. It is unconscionable to damage and hold students back, to prepare only to BS their way through life and art.
Originally published on my Substack, The Shrewd Artist, https://open.substack.com/pub/michaelnewberry/p/yale-art-when-it-looks-like-bs?r=8d39i&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
Frame of References
Brown, J. and Horowitch, R.: Kymberly Pindar Appointed Dean of the Yale School of Art.
Marta Kuzma, Yale bio.
Memches, F.: The art of the open society, or Soros’ realism.
Newberry, M.: TOMBS: Yale School of Art
Saunders, F. S.: The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. Highly recommended, and I don’t receive a kickback.