With the debate of Art Education becoming hastly heated amoungst the masses of art students, arts and educators alike Art Monthly gets loads of letters written in about the state of Art schools today. If you think that we have evolved over the last 80+ years then you should guess again.
Take Sheffield Hallam, PSalter Lane campus. A building built in the 60’s PURPOSELY built for studios and art making. The windows are all situated perfectly that everyone gets natural light. High roofs, wide corridors, lifts and wide stairs. It’s not too big either so I can run the possibility of running into lecturers and having friendly chats and not just the art business chatting. It trancsends well. It’s iconic. The spaces are both light, and fragile, but strong and existential. The spaces enables one to work freely. Move into different spaces with no questions asked, both physically and mentally. Both in life and in the art of which I create.
For Labour to continue on with the Tatcher Education Reform act of 1988, they are consequently making us pay for a mediocre education system inwhich is aimed at business and moneymaking rather than the actual beauty of learning, and the education of failing in your own terms in order to move forward. It’s aimed at those lucky middle class masses whose only worry is who out of their friends will earn the most and how they are going to get onto the housing market. This marketisation of the education then makes the institution try and save on the actual education and rather spend money on advertising a course, making new courses and fitting them into the same space which was used the previous year for a less amount of people and it was still full then, and spending money on commodities such as 10,000 on a Journal Shelf or a 10,000 on a window which projects films onto the street – however the people of the university like their students can’t use it. It’s for an outsider curator and already established artists which already have 1000000 art spaces to use and abuse. Where as the Art students, who need to practice curational skills and what their work transcends in a gallery setting, have no nutural spaces to do this.
It’s all very well making the university look flashy, but if you’re producing medicre courses – or courses that have had the greatest potential and then you reduce everything that made it what it is, what are you really starting for. You are no longer about the education. No longer about the art, no longer about the students. It’s merely a money making gimick, the false sense of security and greatness and the perfect example of the Ghost of Thatcher and post-modernity. By post-modernity I mean the end of truths and all that shizzle. This is the end of education.
The selling of a building wasn’t just selling a building (which apparently the selling deal fell through at the last minute) it was selling out, throwing away an ideal, a disfunctional utopain, a place of friendships and tales. The actual physical destroying of any modernist ideals. Destroying anything with no surplus value for business, like every art school in the UK seems to be doing.
Well, because of this situation there was a letter written into Art Monthly about Sheffield. It’s nicely written, sugarcoating our actual situation. For example it says that we missed out on purpose built studio’s. That’s bullshit… we didn’t “miss out” it was never considered. It wasn’t like we had to sign up for a building and a space or whatever. Yes we are goin to be in a basement with no natural light – but it is spun with ” Refubnished studios in the basement with lighting simulating natural light” Not in spaces half the size of what we had at Psalter lane WITH NO NATURAL LIGHT, NO WINDOWS…. but it’s okay because they have lighting like they use at Marks and Spencers. The letter continues, saying students are angry (we are indeed!) but eloquantly angry. And that paragraph refers to my group and I (Contemporary ARt as Dialogue). we did some sort of demonstration, and questionnaires – just like the 1968 french student revolution started out – however being from Sheffield Hallam, and of course being only eloquantly angry… we calmed down and became even more so disillusioned when we had a meeting with a bigboss dude, and he basically wasn’t listening and didnt really want to do anything that would disrupt their money making.
It’s a tough world out there, but hey at least I get an unnamed mention in an article in Art Monthly. That’s pretty cool. What the chance of being unknowningly published about twice in one month? One day, I will have a real article written by me in Art Monthly. One day…. Till then
Look out for my post about my trip to London and Olympic celebration shizzles!
You need to buy a copy and see the debates for youself. Other stuff in this months Art Monthly:
Traces du Sacré
Centre Pompidou, Paris
The Object Quality of the Problem / Les Inquiets: 5 artistes sous la pression de la guerre
Henry Moore Institute Leeds / Pompidou
Home Lands – Land Marks: Contemporary Art from South Africa
Haunch of Venison, London
Tate Britain, London
Marine Huggonier: The Secretary of the Invisible
Max Wigram Gallery, London
Bereznitsky Gallery, Berlin
Sonsbeek 2008: Grandeur
Various venues, Arnhem
Psycho Buildings: Artists Take on Architecture
Hayward Gallery, London
Stuart Croft: Drive In
Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
Pump House Gallery, London
Andres Lutz & Anders Guggisberg
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
If you want to read more…