Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bruce High Quality Foundation, Teach 4 Amerika Tour Visits Pittsburgh

For the last 30 or so years, it seems like the art world, lived with a huge contradiction-endorsing free form experimentation, active collaboration and public engagement--while still supporting an elite, hierarchical university system.

"The Bruce High Quality Foundation’s (BHQF) Teach 4 Amerika tour is a five-week, 11-city, coast-to-coast road trip that crosses state lines and institutional boundaries to inspire and enable local art students to define the future of their own educational experience. Traveling the byways of America in a limousine painted as a school bus, BHQF will visit university art departments, art schools, art institutions, and alternative spaces across the nation, bringing together concerned educators, artists, arts administrators, and—most importantly—students to brainstorm on the future of art schools. What are they for? How should they be organized? If not for careers, what is the essence of art itself? These fundamental questions have long haunted artists, and the BHQF are interested in putting the questions back in the hands of students across America. Curated by Nato Thompson, Chief Curator at Creative Time, Teach 4 Amerika will include a combination of dynamic public rallies and intimate conversations hosted by local partners in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland."

The rubber has really met the road, as more students and the wider public question more closely what art is, how should it be learned, who can participate? Does it take $150,000 or much more in college bills (including an MFA) to become an artist?

Not so ironically, the project attempted just to engage students at a group of art schools and a few trendy alternative spaces in this dialog.

Anyway, here's the great post they did about their visit to Pittsburgh.

"People that want to learn about art, who think making better work might be supported by a collaborative critical environment, ought to organize learning situations for themselves.

The pushback we’ve gotten on occasion from professors seems to assume we’re calling for an out and out revolt of the twenty-year-olds. But that’s not the case. We don’t think a group of twenty-year-old students would be served well by divorcing themselves from the wisdom of their forbears. Quite the contrary. We just don’t see why a generational difference should constitute a hierarchy. The best teachers we’ve met think they have something to learn from their students. And we’ve heard that the best way to learn is to teach. So if we really believe these time-honored clich├ęs have any tooth to them, why don’t we scrap the power dynamic for something a bit more fluid?"

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