Page 1

This publication was made in Communication Design department in Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon as a project of Fatih Gözenç’s Erasmus program.

“How can we overcome the institutional forms of art schools?” That’s our question. How can we improve ourselves by searching new alternative ways? How can we break ourselves free from the institutions? How can we My article is ‘Teaching to Learn’ by Joseph Kosuth. I selected this article because it shows us what does education need to be and I decided to defend that critiques

Fatih Gözenç

overcome this pressure?

because its subject completely matching with my thinking style in education. I want this publication can be a guide and a thinking area for you. If we read and analyze these articles with side notes, you can find lots of options and answers. Side notes are related with articles, you can read them to understand personal ideas and thoughts of writers. I thought these side notes Also you can use sides of pages to write your own notes and ‘Towards a Newer Laocoon’ is an critique of modern art and its education. Its author Clement Greenberg was



one of the best critics about art. It supports my thoughts about education. Paul Barlow’s and Sean Buffington’s texts are about same subject too but with a different sight. They always refer to Clement Greenberg’s essays. Thierry Häusermann’s interview with Pierre Fantys criticizes art education in Switzerland nowadays. Article of Amy Tofte is more personal text than others and it explains ways to survive art school like my article. On the other hand, I wrote an article about my subject named ‘What Should We Do?’ that explains ways of overcoming the institutions. I wrote my experiences that I use everytime. You can read this article in last pages. 3

Teaching to Learn Joseph Kosuth


Towards a Newer Laocoon Clement Greenberg


Art and the Academy in 19th Century Paul Barlow


Art Teaching For a New Age Sean T. Buffington





Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills Thierry Häusermann


What Should We Do? Fatih Gözenç



Ways to Survive Art School Amy Tofte


It seems we begin with two points; an institution and a conversation. An art school, simply put, is a representative of the institutionalization of art. It represents the world as a

Joseph Kosuth

collection of rules, practices, traditions, habits about art that are organized within a social order. The presumptions and prescriptions that are taught there are description of what art is. When you describe art, you are also describing how meaning is produced, and subjectivity is formed. In other words you are describing reality. By teaching a description of reality you are engaged in constructing it, and in this sense an art school is a political institution as much as a cultural one (in so far as one can separate them to begin with). The conversation is inherited along with the institution (they form part of it) but that discourse is formed, possibly

Teaching to Learn

transformed, by the living. The discourse, when it is the choosing of how art is to be made, takes a certain form, prioritizes certain meanings. The most prevalent institutionalized form has been a concept of art which presumes itself to be either painting or sculpture. In order to liberate art from such a formalistic and prescriptive selfconception it was the agenda of work such as mine in the mid-sixties to critique that institution while it simultaneously provided an alternative to it. Any other role envisioned for art by necessity follows this transformation of our conception of it. For art schools then, as for art, there is really only one process: this is a questioning process as to art’s nature. This inquiry itself constitutes an institutional critique because the art student then sees his or her activity as being less one of learning a craft or trade (how) but rather as one which is fundamentally philosophical (why). 6

Since the role of all institutional forms is inherently conservative, there is a process basic to an art school which attempts to promulgate and preserve whatever other institutionalized forms of culture exist concurrent with it. Thus, the prescriptive nature of an art school based on craft and tradition (or an updated version of that) means, that the

institution is there to provide the answers as to what art is. In other words it engages in legitimizing the status quo of existing forms and norms; they know what art is and they are simply teaching it. This attitude teaches the inherited past to the Academy and then the trade school in the recent past, artists have been taught how to make art, but not to ask why. Inquiries of a more philosophical nature have been seen as the preserve of the university and not appropriate to

Joseph Kosuth

of the art school. From the guilds of artists and craftsmen

the ‘trade school’ demands of teaching the artist. What this has also taught, however, is that art —and culture itselft— is apolitical. Importantly, even profoundly, this view, not limited to institutions as you will see, sees art’s process itself as apolitical. Whether the content of an artwork is politicized or not is less of a problem for the instiutionalized view of art than is, and by extension, what an art school should be. In this way such artworks question their authority, a much more political act than the symbolic ‘acting-out’ of the use of political content within an artwork which, as art, does not question its own institutional presumptions.

Teaching to Learn

artworks that do not leave intact their conception of what art

As I see it, then, the teaching of art is an important part of the production of art. In many ways it is the tableau where society, in practical terms, makes visible the limits of its conception of art as it attempts to regenerate the institutional forms that depict its self-conception. When our view of art is limited, so is our view of society. If questions aren’t asked in art schools, away from the conservative heat of the art market, where then? If the political responsibility of a cultural reflexivity (why) is not taught along with a knowledge of the history of how artists have made meaning, then we informed by them. The teacher of art, as a teacher and an artist, can do no more than participate with the students in asking the questions. This, rather than attempting to provide the answers as art schools traditionally do, realigns


are doomed to be oppressed by our traditions rather than

the priorities from the beginning. The first lesson, taught by example that is to be learned as a process of thinking and not a dogma in craft or theory.

Joseph Kosuth

The teacher is not the representative of the institution, but one artist among several sharing a conversation. What is said has its own weight. If a teacher is any good he or she learns as much as the students. The ‘answers’, if there are any, are formed by all of the participants in the conversation within the context of their own lives, and their practical effect only within that larger conversational process; the shared discourse of a community. It is in the making of meaning —art— as a discourse that art students experience themselves as they begin the process of making the world. The concept of art shared by such a teaching process has institutional critique


Teaching to Learn

basic to it, but, by necessity it must avoid that as its sole description. Because art is the teaching of art (although the format changes), description quickly becomes prescription. What this concept of art really reflects is the responsibility of the artist to be a whole person; a political being as well as a social and cultural one.

The dogmatism and intransigence of the “non-objective” or “abstract” purists of painting today cannot be dismissed as symptoms merely of a cultist attitude towards art. Purists make extravagant claims for art, because usually they value it Clement Greenberg

much more than anyone else does. For the same reason they are much more solicitous about it. A great deal of purism is the translation of an extreme solicitude, an anxiousness as to the fate of art, a concern for its identity. We must respect this. When the purist insists upon excluding “literature” and subject matter from plastic art, now and in the future, the most we can charge him with off-hand is an unhistorical attitude. It is quite easy to show that abstract art like every other cultural phenomenon reflects the social and other circumstances of the age in which its creators live, and that

Towards a Newer Laocoon

there is nothing inside art itself, disconnected from history, which compels it to go in one direction or another. But it is not so easy to reject the purist’s assertion that the best of contemporary plastic art is abstract. Here the purist does not have to support his position with metaphysical pretentions. And when he insists on doing so, those of us who admit the merits of abstract art without accepting its claims in full must offer our own explanation for its present supremacy. Discussion as to purity in art and, bound up with it, the attempts to establish the differences between the various arts are not idle. There has been, is, and will be, such a thing as a confusion of the arts. From the point of view of the artist engrossed in the problems of his medium and indifferent to the efforts of theorists to explain abstract art completely, purism is the terminus of a salutory reaction against the


mistakes of painting and sculpture in the past several

ascendancy of a

centuries which were due to such a confusion.

particular art always coincides with its

form; this was what literature had become in Europe by the

greatest productions.

17th century. By the middle of the 17th century the pictorial

In point of achievement,

arts had been relegated almost everywhere into the hands of

music was the greatest

the courts, where they eventually degenerated into relatively

art of this period.



There can be, I believe, such a thing as a dominant art

Not that the

trivial interior decoration. The most creative class in society,

Clement Greenberg


Pascal’s jansenist

the rising mercantile bourgeoisie, impelled perhaps by the

contempt for painting is

iconoclasm of the reformation(2) and by the relative cheapness

a symptom.

and mobility of the physical medium after the invention of printing, had turned most of its creative and acquisitive energy towards literature. Now, when it happens that a single aft is given the dominant role, it becomes the prototype of all art; the others try to shed their proper characters and imitate its effects. The dominant art in turn tries itself to absorb the functions of the others. A confusion of the arts results, by which the subservient ones are perverted and distorted; they are forced to deny their own nature in an effort to attain the effects of

Towards a Newer Laocoon

the dominant art. However, the subservient arts can only be mishandled in this way when they have reached such a degree of technical facility as to enable them to pretend to conceal their medium. In other words, the artist must have gained such power over his material as to annihilate it seemingly in favor of illusion. Music was saved from the fate of the pictorial arts in the 17th and 18th centuries by its comparatively rudimentary technique and the relative shortness of its development as a formal art. Aside from the fact that in its nature it is the art furthest removed from imitation, the possibilities of music had not been explored sufficiently to enable it to strive for illusionist effects. But painting and sculpture, the arts of illusion par excellence, had by that time achieved such facility as to make them infinitely susceptible to the temptation to emulate the effects, not only of illusion, but of other arts. Not only could painting imitate sculpture, and sculpture, painting, but both 10

could attempt to reproduce the effects of literature. And it was for the effects of literature that 17th and 18th century painting strained most of all. Literature, for a number of reasons, had won the upper hand, and the plastic arts — especially in the form of easel painting and statuary— tried to win admission to its domain. Although this does not account

completely for the decline of those arts during this period, it seems to have been the form of that decline. Decline it was, compared to what had taken place in Italy, Flanders, Spain and Germany the century before. Good artists, it is Clement Greenberg

true, continue to appear - I do not have to exaggerate the depression to make my point - but not good schools of art, not good followers. The circumstances surrounding the appearance of the individual great artists seem to make them almost all exceptions; we think of them as great artists “in spite of.” There is a scarcity of distinguished small talents. And the very level of greatness sinks by comparison to the work of the past. In general, painting and sculpture in the hands of the lesser talents — and this is what tells the story— become

Towards a Newer Laocoon

nothing more than ghosts and “stooges” of literature. All emphasis is taken away from the medium and transferred to subject matter. It is no longer a question even of realistic imitation, since that is taken for granted, but of the artist`s ability to interpret subject matter for poetic effects and so forth. We ourselves, even today, are too close to literature to appreciate its status as a dominant art. Perhaps an example of the converse will make clearer what I mean. In China, I believe, painting and sculpture became in the course of the development of culture the dominant arts. There we see poetry given a role subordinate to them, and consequently assuming their limitations: the poem confines itself to the single moment of painting and to an emphasis upon visual


details. The Chinese even require visual delight from the

to their pictorial and

handwriting in which the poem is set down.

decorative arts doesn’t


Lessing, in his Laakoan written in the 1760s, recognized

And by comparison

the later poetry of the Chinese seem rather thin

of the arts. But he saw its ill effects exclusively in terms of

and monotonous?

literature, and his opinions on plastic art only exemplify the typical misconceptions of his age. He attacked the descriptive verse of poets like James Thomson as an invasion of the


the presence of a practical as well as a theoretical confusion

domain of landscape painting, but all he could find to say about painting’s invasion of poetry was to object to allegorical pictures which required an explanation, and to paintings like

Clement Greenberg

Titian’s Prodigal Son which incorporate “two necessarily separate points of time in one and the same picture.” Guiding themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, by a notion of purity derived from the example of music, the avantgarde arts have in the last fifty years achieved a purity and a radical delimitation of their fields of activity for which there is no previous example in the history of culture. The arts lie safe now, each within its “‘legitimate” boundaries, and free trade has been replaced by autarchy. Purity in art consists in the acceptance, willing acceptance,

Towards a Newer Laocoon

of the limitations of the medium of the specific art. To prove that their concept of purity is something more than a bias in taste, painters point to oriental, primitive and children’s art as instances of the universality and naturalness and objectivity of their ideal of purity. Composers and poets, although to a much lesser extent, may justify their efforts to attain purity by referring to the same precedents. Dissonance is present in early and non-western music, “unintelligibility” in folk poetry. The issue is, of course, focused most sharply in the plastic arts, for they, in their non-decorative function, have been the most closely associated with imitation, and it is in their case that the ideal of the pure and the abstract has met the most resistance. The arts, then, have been hunted back to their mediums, and there they have been isolated, concentrated and defined. It is by virtue of its medium that each art is unique and strictly itself. To restore the identity of an art the opacity 12

of its medium must be emphasized. For the visual arts the medium is discovered to be physical; hence pure painting and pure sculpture seek above all else to affect the spectator physically. In poetry, which, as I have said, had also to escape from “‘literature” or subject matter for its salvation from society, it is decided that the medium is essentially

psychological and sub or supralogical. The poem is to aim at the general consciousness of the reader, not simply his intelligence. It would be well to consider “pure” poetry for a moment, incantation, hypnosis or drug —as psychological agent then— goes back to Poe, and eventually to Coleridge and Edmund Burke with their efforts to locate the enjoyment of poetry in


the “Fancy” or “Imagination”. Sound, he decided, is only an

was the first to base a

auxiliary of poetry, not the medium itself; and besides, most

consistent practice of

poetry is now read, not recited: the sound of words is a part

poetry upon it.


Mallarmé, however,

Clement Greenberg

before going on to painting. The theory of poetry as

of their meaning, not the vessel of it. To deliver poetry from the subject and to give full play to its true affective power it is necessary to free words from logic. The medium of poetry is to connote. Poetry subsists no longer in the relations between words as meanings, but in the relations between words as personalities composed of sound, history and possibilities of meaning. Grammatical logic is retained only in so far as it is necessary to set these personalities in motion, for unrelated words are static when read and not recited aloud. Tentative efforts are made to discard metric form and rhyme, because

Towards a Newer Laocoon

isolated in the power of the word to evoke associations and

they are regarded as too local and determinate, too much attached to specific times and places and social conventions to pertain to the essence of poetry. There are experiments in poetic prose. But as in the case of music, it was found that formal structure was indispensable, that some such structure was integral to the medium of poetry as an aspect of its resistance... The poem still offers possibilities of meaning —but only possibilities. Should any of them be too precisely realized, the poem would lose the greatest part of its efficacy, by approaching the brink of meaning and yet never falling over it. The poet writes, not so much to express, as to create a thing which will operate upon the reader’s consciousness to produce the emotion of poetry. The content of the poem


which is to agitate the consciousness with infinite possibilities

is what it does to the reader, not what it communicates. The emotion of the reader derives from the poem as a unique

Clement Greenberg

object —pretendedly— and not from referents outside the poem. This is pure poetry as ambitious contemporary poets try to define it by the example of their work. Obviously, it is an impossible ideal, yet one which most of the best poetry of the last fifty years has tried to reach, whether it is poetry about nothing or poetry about the plight of contemporary society. It is easier to isolate the medium in the case of the plastic arts, and consequently avantgarde painting and sculpture can be said to have attained a much more radical purity than avantgarde poetry. Painting and sculpture can become

Towards a Newer Laocoon

more completely nothing but what they do; like functional architecture and the machine, they look what they do. The picture or statue exhausts itself in the visual sensation it produces. There is nothing to identify, connect or think about, but everything to feel. Pure poetry strives for infinite suggestion, pure plastic art for the minimum. If the poem, as Valéry claims, is a machine to produce the emotion of poetry, the painting and statue are machines to produce the emotion of “plastic sight”. The purely plastic or abstract qualities of the work of art are the only ones that count. Emphasize the medium and its difficulties, and at once the purely plastic, the proper, values of visual art come to the fore. Overpower the medium to the point where all sense of its resistance disappears, and the adventitious uses of aft become more important. The history of avantgarde painting is that of a progressive surrender to the resistance of its medium; which resistance 14

consists chiefly in the Hat picture plane’s denial of efforts to “hole through” it for realistic perspectival space. In making this surrender, painting not only got rid of imitation —and with it, “literature”— but also of realistic imitations corollary confusion between painting and sculpture. (Sculpture, on its side, emphasizes the resistance of its material to the efforts

of the artist to ply it into shapes uncharacteristic of stone,


metal, wood, etc.) Painting abandons chiaroscuro and shaded

of all, the picture plane

modelling. Brush strokes are often defined for their own sake.

itself grows shallower

The motto of the Renaissance artist, “Ars est artem celare”, is

and shallower, flattening

exchanged for “Ars est artem demonstrare”. Primary colors,

out and pressing

the “instinctive,” easy colors, replace tones and tonality. Line,

together the fictive

which is one of the most abstract elements in painting since

planes of depth until

it is never found in nature as the definition of contour, returns

they meet as one upon

to oil painting as the third color between two other color

the real and material

areas. Under the influence of the square shape of the canvas,

plane which is the actual

forms tend to become geometrical (and simplified) because

surface of the canvas;

simplification is also a part of the instinctive accommodation

where they lie side by

to the medium. Where the painter still tries to indicate real

side or interlocked or

objects their shapes flatten and spread in the dense, two-

transparently imposed

dimensional atmosphere. A vibrating tension is set up as the

upon each other.

of the real picture plane to re-assert its material flatness and crush them to silhouettes. In a further stage realistic space cracks and splinters into flat planes which come forward,


parallel to the plane surface. Sometimes this advance to the

art technique that uses

surface is accelerated by painting a segment of wood or

realistic imagery to

texture trompe l’oeil, or by drawing exactly printed letters,

create the optical illusion

and placing them so that they destroy the partial illusion of

that depicted objects

depth by slamming the various planes together. Thus the artist

exist in three dimensions.


Trompe l’oeil, is an

Towards a Newer Laocoon

objects struggle to maintain their volume against the tendency

Clement Greenberg


But most important

deliberately emphasizes the illusoriness of the illusions which he pretends to create. Sometimes these elements are used in an effort to preserve an illusion of depth by being placed on the nearest plane in order to drive the others back. But the result is an optical illusion, not a realistic one, and only emphasizes further the impenetrability of the plane surface. The destruction of realistic pictorial space, and with travesty that was cubism. The cubist painter eliminated color because, consciously or unconsciously, he was parodying, in order to destroy, the academic methods of achieving volume and depth, which are shading and perspective, and


it, that of the object, was accomplished by means of the

as such have little to do with color in the common sense of the word. The cubist used these same methods to break the canvas into a multiplicity of subtle recessive planes, which seem to shift and fade into infinite depths and yet insist on Clement Greenberg

returning to the surface of the canvas. As we gaze at a cubist painting of the last phase we witness the birth and death of three-dimensional pictorial space and as in painting the pristine harness of the stretched canvas constantly struggles to overcome every other element, so in sculpture the stone figure appears to be on the point of relapsing into the original monolith. Sculpture hovers finally on the verge of “pure” architecture, and painting, having been pushed up from fictive depths, is forced through the surface of the canvas to

Towards a Newer Laocoon

emerge on the other side in the form of paper, cloth, cement and actual objects of wood and other materials pasted, glued or nailed to what was originally the transparent picture plane, which the painter no longer dares to puncture —or if he does, it is only to dare. Artists like Hans Arp, who begin as painters, escape eventually from the prison of the single plane by painting on wood or plaster and using molds or carpentry to raise and lower planes. They go, in other words, Except in the case

from painting to colored bas-relief, and finally —so far must

of Arp and one or two

they fly in order to return to three-dimensionality without at

others, the sculpture

the same time risking the illusion— they become sculptors

of most of these

and create objects in the round, through which they can free

metamorphosed painters

their feelings for movement and direction from the increasing

is rather unsculptural,

ascetic geometry of pure painting.(7)



stemming as it does from

The French and Spanish in Paris brought painting to the

the discipline of painting.

point of the pure abstraction, but it remained, with a few

It uses color, fragile and

exceptions, for the Dutch, Germans, English and Americans

intricate shapes and a

to realize it. It is in their hands that abstract purism has been

variety of materials. It is

consolidated into a school, dogma and credo. By 1939 the

construction, fabrication.

center of abstract painting had shifted to London, while in Paris the younger generation of French and Spanish painters had reacted against abstract purity and turned back to a

confusion of literature with painting as extreme as any of the past. These young orthodox surrealists are not to be identified, however, with such pseudo or mock surrealists of the previous generation as Miro, Klee and Arp, whose work, further deployment of abstract painting pure and simple. Indeed, a good many of the artists —if not the majority— who contributed importantly to the development of modern painting came to it with the desire to exploit the break with imitative realism for a more powerful expressiveness, but so

Clement Greenberg

despite its apparent intention, has only contributed to the

inexorable was the logic of the development that in the end their work constituted but another step towards abstract art, and a further sterilization of the expressive factors. This has been true, whether the artist was Van Gogh, Picasso or Klee. I find that I have offered no other explanation for the present superiority of abstract art than its historical justification. So what I have written has turned out to be an historical apology for abstract art. To argue from any other basis would require more space than is at my disposal, and would involve an entrance into the politics of taste —to use Venturi’s phrase— from which there is no exit on paper. My

Towards a Newer Laocoon

All roads led to the same place.

own experience of art has forced me to accept most of the standards of taste from which abstract art has derived, but I do not maintain that they are the only valid standards through eternity. I find them simply the most valid ones at this given moment. I have no doubt that they will be replaced in the future by other standards, which will be perhaps more inclusive than any possible now. And even now they do not exclude all other possible criteria. I am still able to enjoy a Rembrandt more for its expressive qualities than for its It suffices to say that there is nothing in the nature of abstract art which compels it to be so. The imperative comes from history, from the age in conjunction with a particular moment reached in a particular tradition of art.


achievement of abstract values as rich as it may be in them.

This conjunction holds the artist in a vise from which at the present moment he can escape only by surrendering his ambition and returning to a stale past. This is the difficulty for

Clement Greenberg

those who are dissatisfied with abstract art, feeling that it is too decorative or too arid and “‘inhuman,� and who desire a return to representation and literature in plastic art. Abstract art cannot be disposed of by a simple-minded evasion or by negation. We can only dispose of abstract art by assimilating it, by fighting our way through it. Where to? I do not know. Yet it seems to me that the wish to return to the imitation of nature in art has been given no more justification than the desire of certain partisans of


Towards a Newer Laocoon

abstract art to legislate it into permanency.

It has become a cliche to identify ‘academicism’ in art as a negative force, associated with the mechanisation of culture and the repressive authority of social institutions. The term appears constantly in commentaries on art in the Paul Barlow

nineteenth-century, when an heroic ‘avant-garde’ is said to have struggled against academic agents of conformity and banality. But what exactly is this ‘academicism’? Numerous, very different, artists have been saddled with the label. Clement Greenberg in his essay ‘Towards a newer Laocoon’ (1940) produces a list of ‘kitsch’ nineteenth-century academics, naming some of the culprits: ‘Vernet, Gerome, Leighton, Watts, loreau, Böcklin, the Pre-Raphaelites etc’. The list is odd, as we shall see, but one thing is clear. Academic art is bad art. ‘Academic’ is not simply a label


which describes a particular type of painting. It is an act of

Kitsch” is the title

evaluation. As Greenberg himself says in his most influential

of a 1939 essay by

(1939), ‘self-evidentIy, all

Clement Greenberg,

kitsch is academic; and conversely, all that’s academic is

first published in the


Partisan Review, in which

What does this mean? Of course, the word ‘academic’ is

he claimed that avant-

widely, if loosely, used to refer to whatever may be deemed

garde and modernist

stuffy, irrelevant or uninspired. But here something more is

art was a mean to resist

being claimed. Greenberg and other commentators do not

the ‘dumbing down’

use the word simply to suggest such attributes, though the

of culture caused by

are usually implied. Greenberg is claiming to place the artists

consumerism. The term

he lists within a critical and historical category. But how are

‘kitsch’ came into use

we to define this category? The list contains Neoclassicists,

in the 1860’s or 70’s

Symbolists and Naturalists. All are apparently ‘academic’ in

in Germany’s street

the sense in which Greenberg is using the term.


Art & Academy in 19th Century

essay, ‘Avantgarde and Kitsch’


“Avantgarde and

Greenberg’s own attempt to explain this will be considered later, but it is important to note that his usage theorise it. Indeed, it has been central to the consensus that has emerged in twentieth-century critical commentary on nineteenth-century art. It is expressed, for example, by the critic André Salmon, who describes an encounter with


was thoroughly established by the time he attempted to

Paul Barlow


What is best about this

story is that the answer

Français, the annual exhibition organised by the French

perfectly describes

Academy. Salmon is at pains to point out that he was only

Courtois’ work. He

visiting the Salon ‘professionally’ as a journalist. Rousseau,

was the honesty of a

however, had chosen to go and was ‘transfixed before a

bad academic painter

mediocre portrait signed by Courtois, an academical artist

stuffed with ‘general

today quite forgotten’. Rousseau, it seems, admired Courtois

culture’ and his naivety

for his ‘finish’. Salmon goes on to defend Rousseau’s

was not as worthy as

apparent lapse of taste.(2)

Rousseau’s. It is reported

Art & Academy in 19th Century

the ‘naive’ artist Henri Rousseau at the Salon des Artistes

Salmon identifies Courtois’s ‘academic’ identity against

that Courtois, having

his own avantgarde values, and against Rousseau’s naivety,

been invited to lunch on

both of which are identified with authentic art. Salmon’s

‘any thursday’, replied:

encounter with Rousseau is difficult because Rousseau

‘impossible, i am doing

chooses to visit the Salon, an institution self-evidently,

a portrait and i always

for Salmon, identified with bad taste. Furthermore, it is

put in the expression on

Courtois’s ‘finish’ —his technical skill— which fascinates


the untrained Rousseau. Salmon seeks to turn this very skill against Courtois, presenting him as a petit-bourgeois pedant, a man who restricts ‘expression’ to Thursdays. For Salmon, Courtois’s skill is the centre of the problem; it is something which obscures proper judgements of taste. The technically incompetent, but artistically worthy, Rousseau is emhralled by the deceptive skills of the aesthetic non-entity Courtois ‘Academic’ culture —normally avoided by Salmon— works to generate a systematic misrecognition of art: alluring but false values front which Salmon, the cultural sophisticate, must rescue


Expression on

the naive Rousseau. Courtois is associated with both

Thursdays, religion on

compartmentalised conventional respectability(3) and with

Sundays, etc.

production-line manufacturing.


This is the central ‘myth of academicism on which Greenberg draws. It works to describe an institutionally powerful but aesthetically impoverished art at its most pervasive during the nineteenth-century. This academic art is sustained by the teaching and exhibiting practices of the various European academies, most importantly the

French Academy. It’s the ‘official’ art of the nineteenthcentury. Despite its status, and its contemporary popularity, it is in fact —as Greenberg and Salmon know— merely the degraded remnant of post-Renaissance naturalism, destined Paul Barlow

to be supplanted by the ‘avantgarde’, the oppositional and innovatory art it seeks to denigrate. What is surprising is that, despite its pervasiveness, this usage has remained, for most part unexplored. Certainly, the concept of the avantgarde itself has been examined at length and, in addition, there have been important studies of the major European academies of art, their histories and values. Some biographical and critical literature also exists on the work of better known artists who have been labelled ‘academic’, or ‘pompier’ — a pejorative term applied to

Art & Academy in 19th Century

French nineteenth-century Neoclassicists.’ But in such texts the central myth is generally either ignored or uncritically repeated. It is clear that Salmon’s words are suffused with complex and interrelated assumptions (concerning culture, truth, class identity, institutions), all of which bear upon his use of the term ‘academic’. These assumptions need to be unpacked. This will involve exploration of the legitimating and theorising function of the term ‘academic’ within avantgarde discourse, its relation to the positions of so-called academic artists themselves, their institutional roles, and the ways in which the aesthetic nullity ascribed to academic art by Salmon has been —and continues to be— asserted and sustained. This project is complex. This essay merely seeks to look at some of the issues to be addressed, and to bring into the open some paradoxes and preconceptions which are persistently occluded in art historical writing on the with Salmon’s judgements.


His intervention at the Salon,


That the ‘bad’

painter Rousseau is, in

seeking to break the spell that traps Rousseau, is connected

reality, good, while the

to his implicit equation of academicism with the pomp of

seemingly ‘good’ artist,

public authority; a spectacle which generates a faith in the

Courtois, is in truth bad.


nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We are familiar

Art & Academy in 19th Century

Paul Barlow


The Pre-Raphaelite

legitimacy of social institutions. It is no coincidence that the

Brotherhood (also known

modern concept of academicism de clops alongside the

as the Pre-Raphaelites)

Marxist theory of ‘false consciousness’. It can be plausibly

was a group of English

argued that this attitude emerges with the avant-garde

painters, poets, and

itself in the late 1840s. Courbet’s claims for Realism were

critics, founded in 1848

famously connected with his anarchist politics. Likewise, in

by William Holman Hunt,

Britain, Pre-Raphaelite(5)criticism of the Royal Academy (RA)

John Everett Millais and

arose from their belief that academic (Raphaelite) practice

Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

was a form of mechanisation — the aesthetic equivalent to

They argued against

the rationalising and disciplining functions of early industrial

institutions of Victorianist

manufacturing. If to the rationalising and disciplining

traditions and hard rules

functions of early industrial manufacturing.This oppositional

of Royal Academy in

identity is what characterises the ‘avantgarde’. It is certainly

London. They tried to

new in cultural history and is tied to the emergence of

overcome institutions

social criticism, which itself seeks to articulate radical

after Renaissence era.

socio-economic transformation. When Greenberg equated acadenticism with commercialls produced commodities (kitsch), he repeated this connection, hut also sought to claim a space flir the avant-garde apart from mechanised market-led culture. However, an obvious difficult arises from the identification of this lineage. The Pre-Raphaelites appear prominently on Greenberg’s list of ’academics’. As we shall see, this problem persistently recurs as soon as the avantgarde/academic split is examined, but at this stage it is enough to note that it arises from the double role of the concept as Salmon and Greenberg use it —its conflation of aesthetic evaluation and critical-historical description. The questions, then, are these: how or why did academic are become ‘bad’ art? Was it necessary that it should do so? What is the logic —both aesthetic and historical— of this



In arts education, something profound is happening that will force us to rethink what and how we teach. Art making has changed radically in recent years. Artists have become increasingly interested in crossing disciplinary photographers create “paintings� with repurposed textiles. New technologies enable new kinds of work, like interactive performances with both live and Web-based components. International collaboration has become de rigueur. (1) Art and design pervade the culture witness popular television


programs like Top Design, Ink Master, and the granddaddy

that has become

of them all, Project Runway. And policy makers and

intolerable for some

businesspeople have embraced at least the idea of the so-


Imposed. The thing

Sean T. Buffington

boundaries, choreographers use video, sculpture, and text;

called creative economy, with cities rushing to establish arts schools. Those developments are already affecting how the arts are taught: Curricula are becoming more flexible, with students encouraged to reach outside their departments to master whatever tools they need to make the art they want to make. The means of artistic production are widely available,

Art Teaching for a New Age

districts, and business schools collaborating with design

resulting in what I call a radical democratization of artistic expression. It is possible now, at very low cost, to acquire sophisticated creative tools and to use them without much training. Indeed, the tools themselves can provide significant guidance to the novice user and even make creative decisions for him or her. And, of course, work produced in this way can be disseminated almost instantly to potentially enormous audiences —as free content or packaged and sold as consumer products. ought properly to be called artistic. Artistry, after all, is manifested not in the thing made but in the judgment exercised in its making. Polaroid and Instamatic cameras might have made us all vacation photographers, but most of


One might question whether such cultural production

us never become Garry Winogrand or Lee Friedlander. And Die Hard conceptualists might go further and argue that it’s the idea more than —or in place of— its crafted form that makes art meaningful and sets it apart from mere expression Sean T. Buffington

or observation. The technological changes we are witnessing will not threaten conceptual rigor or craft, nor will the ease of expression and communication make art obsolete. But these shifts are changing what we mean by art making and what counts as meaningful, crafted expression. To say so is not to judge the quality of that expression or to lament the rise of vulgarity or the lowering of standards. It is simply to observe that this democratization of expression will alter

Art Teaching for a New Age

fundamentally how students —aspiring artists— think about (2)

We cannot say with

certainty what that impact will be. The first

made. These shifts will also change the professions for which

generation of so-called

educational institutions like mine prepare students. After

digital natives is reaching

all, if technology becomes smart enough to make design

college only now; the

decisions, then designers could increasingly become

environment they grew

technicians, operators of machines instead of creative

up in which seemed so

professionals. But the more profound and less visible impact

radical and new to many

will be on how students think about their creative pursuits.(2)

of us just a decade and


art, its meaning and purpose, and the ways in which it is

They arrive at college having shot and edited

a half ago is already a

video, manipulated photographs, recorded music or at

punchline. Soon it will be

least sampled and remixed someone else’s designed

an antiquated joke that

or assembled animated characters and even virtual

doesn’t even make sense

environments, and “painted” digital images all using

anymore. Remember

technologies readily available at home or even in their

AOL? Remember

pocket. The next generation of students will have designed

plugging in to access the

and printed three-dimensional images, customized consumer

Net? Today’s students

products, perhaps “rapid-prototyped” new products I can’t


imagine what else. Students today are not simply bombarded by images, consuming them in great gulps, as previous generations did; they are making the environments they inhabit, and making

meaningful connections among images, stories, mythologies,


and value systems. They are creative and creating.

what it means to create


So what is the task of arts educators? Is it to

But their notion of

is different from ours. It’s something one does

misconceptions? Is it to inculcate in them an understanding

to communicate with

of the “proper” way to create, to make art or entertainment?

others, to participate

Is it to sort out the truly artistic from the great mass of

in social networks, to

creative chatterers and to initiate them into some sacred

entertain oneself. Making

tradition? Maybe, maybe not.

things; images, objects,

Or maybe the task of the educator is to help them

stories is mundane for these students, not

they do instinctively, almost unconsciously, is a way of

sacred. It’s a component

learning, of knowing, of making arguments and observations,

of everyday experience,

of affecting and transforming their environment. And

woven tightly into the

perhaps that’s not so very different from what we do now.

fabric of daily life.

We do it now, though, in the context of a curriculum and institutional histories oriented toward specific professional training and preparation. We seek to develop in students the critical faculties needed to thrive in clearly defined professions. But in the future, we may have to rethink our purpose and objectives. We may have to reimagine our curricula, recast the bachelor-of-fine-arts degree as a

Art Teaching for a New Age

develop judgment, to help them to see that creating, which

Sean T. Buffington

disabuse these young people of what we think are their

generalist not professional degree. In a media-saturated culture in which everyone is both maker and consumer of images, products, sounds, and immersive experiences like games, and in which professional opportunities are more likely to be invented or discovered than pursued, maybe the B.F.A. is the most appropriate general-education experience, not just for aspiring artists and designers but for everyone. That poses challenges for arts educators. We are good in art and design with the skills and judgment necessary to succeed in artistic fields and creative professions that are still reasonably well defined. We are less good at educating them broadly, at equipping them to use their visual acuity,


at equipping students who are already interested in careers

Sean T. Buffington


To do that, arts

colleges would have to

problems—alone or in collaboration with others—that the

reorganize their curricula

next generation of creative professionals may be called on

and their pedagogy.

to solve. These will be complex problems that cross the

Teaching might come to

boundaries of traditional disciplines, methodologies, and skill

look a lot more like what

sets ranging from new fields like data visualization, which

we now call mentorship

draws on graphic design, statistical analysis, and interaction

or advising. Rather than

design, to traditional challenges like brand development,

assume that young

which increasingly reaches beyond logos on letterhead to

people know what they

products and environments.(4)

want to do and that we

Art Teaching for a New Age

design sensibility, and experience as makers to solve the

Curricula would not be configured as linear, progressive

know how to prepare

pathways of traditional semester-long courses, but

them to do it, we would

would consist of components, such as short workshops,

have to help them to

online courses, intensive tutorials, and so forth. Students

explore their interests

would pick and choose among components, arranging

and aspirations and work

and rearranging them according to what they need at a

with them to create an

particular moment. Have a problem that requires that you

educational experience

use a particular software program? Go learn it, to solve

that meets their needs.

that problem or complete that project. Want to pursue

Needs like; trying a

a traditional illustration-training program? Take multiple

different path that

drawing and painting studios.

student wants, showing

Linking all of this together would not be a traditional

examples of people that

liberal-arts curriculum but what one faculty member at the

done before, being a

University of the Arts has called a liberal art curriculum—one

supportive mentor about

focused on design as problem solving, on artistic expression

their decisions.

as the articulation and interrogation of ideas. Instead of an arts-and-sciences core curriculum separate and disconnected from studio instruction, we would build a new core that integrates the studio and the seminar room, that envisions making and thinking not as distinct approaches but


as a dynamic conversation. This fantasy of an alternative arts education—which resembles experiments that other educators have attempted in the past —begins to veer into utopianism, though, and a vague utopianism at that. It would be impossible to administer and to offer to students cost-effectively. And

most students would probably find it more perplexing than liberating. But I see an urgent need for new models that respond to the changing conditions affecting higher education models to an emerging sensibility among young people that is more entrepreneurial, flexible, and alert to change than our curricula are designed to accommodate. We need an educational structure that takes instability and unpredictability as its starting point, its fundamental

Sean T. Buffington

that can adapt to conditions that are in constant flux and

assumption. If a university is not made up of stable, enduring structures arranged linearly or hierarchically —schools, departments, majors, minors— but rather is made up of components that can be used or deployed according to becomes the governing institutional dynamic.

Art Teaching for a New Age

demand and need, then invention instead of convention


I’ve compiled a sort of 12 commandments for surviving art school. And for those of us who have graduated… these are

Amy Tofte

reminders of what making art should always be. Question Your Methods & Keep Yourself Open to Changing Them Most things in art-making relate to a comfort level. As artists we are sometimes tricking ourselves into staying inside our comfort levels rather than growing through new things. Related to this is the idea of taking “real” risks vs. “calculated” risks. A real risk is about what’s commonly called “failure” but failure is only an attitude. Failure is actually success because you have the chance to learn

Ways to Survive Art School

something about yourself. You should never fear it. Expand Your Practice What better way to challenge yourself with real risk than do things you’ve never done? Getting outside what you already know not only expands your practice, it will give you confidence in a new way. It might also change your methods. Find Your Own Mentors Mentors come from everywhere. A mentor is not determined by age, occupation or position. This is the person that keeps you grounded and challenges you in new directions. Listen carefully when people talk about your work. They might be offering you an ad-hoc moment of mentorship. Sometimes this person is yourself. Be a Mentor to Someone Else 28

When someone comes to you and asks for your help. Be aware that they might be looking to you for mentorship. Don’t be a dick and assume this, just be aware. And don’t get full of yourself. Respond with the amount of care, compassion and responsibility this task deserves. You don’t have to know all the answers. The best mentors ask

questions no one else can see. A Mentor is never a know it all. Meet Artists Outside Your Art specific art practice, the faster you will understand your own art. Find reasons (or excuses) to collaborate in areas you

Amy Tofte

The faster you find and develop relationships outside your

don’t know. Take advantage of someone who is an “expert” in another field and study how they talk about your art. Do the same for them. Learn all you can from how others create and how they deal with the same questions/fears/doubts/ stresses that you do. Meet People in the Real World performing/working in your community, even if they are not superstars. And beyond that, meet other people in the real world who don’t even practice art for a living. Meet people with “normal” jobs and talk to them about their worldview. An artist is a disciple for the world, not just the circles that drink our kool-aid.

Ways to Survive Art School

Get outside of your school and meet/see other artists

Constantly Balance Your Arrogance and Humility That’s right, be a little arrogant. A better way to say this is create with abandon then assess with doubt. There is a moment of creation where you have to work as if the world can’t touch you. Then pull back and see what’s really there so you can become someone with craft. Keep in mind this is never an excuse to be an asshole. That’s why the balance is important. You’re better than everyone but you also suck.

Feedback, Critique & Reviews You are in a marriage with these things whether you like it or not. You must constantly tend to them. Understand the difference between them and how they are meant to


Constantly Develop Your Understanding/Relationship to

serve your art. Take in all of them at a time that feels right. Remember that you have the control in all of these situations. But don’t be afraid to loosen that control. You learn most

Amy Tofte

about these things by assessing the work of others and then talking to them about their process. The goal is to make this marriage healthy, supportive and not abusive. Sometimes the review needs to sleep on the couch and give you some space. Practice Being a Visionary See the thing in your mind and then make it happen. Let nothing get in your way. Don’t settle for almost. Adjust when necessity dictates and when it actually serves the art. But do

Ways to Survive Art School

everything you can to move things from your imagination to the real thing. This takes practice. Don’t wait for that special moment when you get a solo show, a concert at Carnegie Hall, a bunch of money or cast in a lead role. Figure out how you can make this thing happen the best you possibly can. And go do it. And if you can’t get help do it yourself. You need to know what it takes. Finish Things and Move On No matter how you work… find an end point to aim for, even if your work is a larger work-in-progress. A sense of meeting goals is important for your forward movement. Break larger projects into steps you can handle. Or get to a point with something and put it down. You can always come back to things. Nothing ever dies. Nothing ever goes away. It becomes an important part of your infrastructure. The more you have in you… the stronger you will be. The more you 30

can explore new avenues, the more opportunity you have to discover new things. Be Patient. Be Kind. Be a Good Person To yourself and everyone around you. Even if you don’t respect or like someone, you will be a better artist by being

kind because it keeps you in touch with your humanity. I didn’t say be a pushover. I didn’t say don’t stand up for what you believe. But I’ve never known a conflict between people to be helped by anger, pettiness and aggravation. Being respect at all times.

Amy Tofte

an artist is hard enough, embrace those around you with

Write a Personal Manifesto for Your Art Start with “I believe…” and keep writing about all the things you believe personally that you want to create/reflect with your art. This document might be 1 paragraph or 30 pages. Doesn’t matter. You should constantly be revising and refining it. You should go back to it often and make adjustments. This will evolve as you do. Doing this will slowly Ways to Survive Art School

change your life.


Pierre Fantys is a photographer, formerly professor and head of photography unit at ECAL Ecole (Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne), Switzerland and now director of ERACOM (Ecole

Thierry Häusermann

Romantic d’Arts et Communication), Lausanne, Switzerland. TH: In Switzerland, the 20th century bequeathed an incalculable graphic design and typographical heritage to current generations and clearly continues to influence students and professionals, from an aesthetic but also and above all, from a methodological point of view. What influence do you think previous generations of designers have had on the most recent and what do you find worth arts school? Interview with Pierre Fantys

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

developing in this respect, as the new head of a graphic PF: In our country, there are two slightly different contexts to consider; the”Suisse Romande” (French-speaking part of Switzerland) and Switzerland. I think there was a kind of slump, there was a generation of respectable designers, like Werner Jeker and Roger Pfund... Then it seems to me there was a break, as if, to put it simply, they had no children. In some ways they let the light go out, and that light was quality. I find that their descendants, if indeed there were any, were not equal to the task. For me, there was a gap and then a renaissance with, firstly in the city of Biel/Bienne and people like Norm (Dimitri Bruni and Manuel Krebs), for example, who came from a professional school; and in its wake there was the ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne). Before that there was a clear filiation, the Basel designers, modernism... basically a whole series of people 32

who built the reputation of Swiss design. Those people taught, whether at Basel, Biel/Bienne or elsewhere. And so they created a kind of family, with a quality that was passed on to the next generations. I think this worked well until there was the break of post-modernism, which is currently much discussed, but which left graphic design a bit like an orphan.

So there was Biel/Bienne, the ECAL, and then as a


Generally speaking,

the schools profiles

standards. There has been widespread reawakening and a

are rising and there is

high level of quality. In education, and from the point of view

a movement that will

of a teacher, I have the impression that before, while I was at

continue to create

ECAL, you could feel a little isolated, whereas now, you see

emulators and followers.

people doing interesting things at all of the schools. When

I hope that ERACOM

you look at the success of HEAD (Geneva University of Art

(Ecole Romande d’Arts

and Design) —it subcontracts communications, unlike ECAL

et Communication

which entrusts this task to its students.

Lausanne) will soon


TH: What educational approach do you envisage to

Thierry Häusermann

result, it seems to me that everyone is now trying to raise

enter that race.

sustain this impetus? Perhaps a return to fundamental benchmarks? I see Müller Brockmann’s fundamental

what I preach. I would use the word “revisit” fundamentals that we have almost forgotten, rather than returning to the past I see the potential filiations of people like Müller Brockmann or great typographers like Wolfgang Weingart with designers like Ludovic Balland, Jonas Voegeli, Cornel Windlin or, of course, Norm. At a given point in time, these people have to some extent reconnected with a tradition which dates more from the 1950’s than the 1980’s. We hit a

Interview with Pierre Fantys

PF: Now is an opportunity to return to fundamentals —that’s

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

work on your bookshelves.

crisis in the 1980’s... But there is still the matter of tools and results. Suddenly, the arrival of digital technology and IT tools created confusion, which gave the impression that it was enough to just be “creative” a word I find extremely ill-used, to mean anything and nothing. Today everybody, at all levels, says they are a designer, be they graphic or something else, and I think we need a little order and, above all, a little Professionalism needs to be adapted to the times. We are no longer in the heroic Switzerland neither in the 1950’s, that is over, but we must re-examine the fundamentals of this period, it is the basis of true expertise. Creativity does play



a part and it must be stimulated in young designers, but they must also be given the tools of the trade; it is something that is becoming essential. TH: You have spoken about the profession and expertise Thierry Häusermann

and have also mentioned the subject of creativity. Ideally, what place does it hold in training? PF: I think that both are absolutely necessary and I don’t mean to say that we want to cover everything. There is an ideal blend to be found between rigour, which is typically Swiss, and a kind of impertinence, creativity, I would even say madness that can exist at the same time, and that is when it becomes fabulous. For

Interview with Pierre Fantys

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

example, when you have the rigour of modernism, with all (2)

Its essential to achieve

the freedom that is to be found in recent years in some

both. If you only take

graphic designs, you find fantastic interactions. It is essential

refuge in creative

to achieve both. If you only take refuge in creative design,

design, you create

you create useless individuals and, by locking yourself up in

useless individuals and,

technical skills, you create skilled boars. That is the problem

by locking yourself up

and it is a real trend. Freedom is only born out of skill.(2)

in technical skills, you

TH: On this subject what about the new media?

create skilled boars. That

PF: That domain is even more complicated to grasp because

is the problem and it is

it’s like the Wild West. You find all types, from a geek who

a real trend. Freedom is

tosses a few pixels around his screen at home and thinks

only born out of skill.

he’s a designer, to others with an IT background who are convinced they are creatives because they have the technical expertise; or designers who know nothing but are convinced of the opposite. It is extremely important to instil order into all of this. I am not for decrees and laws, but the Swiss Confederation is now trying to organise education. It is extremely complex to


manage because by the time these decrees are written, they will probably already be out of date. But at least there will be an intention to define objectives in terms of production and knowledge. I am not a fan of these processes, because the documents are often too rigid and sclerotic, but we are obliged to use them so as not to creates generation of

designers who have random skills and who will very soon be out of their depth. TH: Is there a difference in teaching at an art school (training by apprenticeship work experience) and a the HES - Swiss University of Applied Sciences)? PF: To be clear, there are two types of initial training. There Is the CFC (Federal Certificate of Ability) with both college and on-the-job training and the full-time education CFC, which is what we mainly do here at ERACOM.

Thierry Häusermann

university education (more academic along the lines of

We have training programs that encompass all of the technical and graphics skills, such as printers, offset machine operators, what we call advertising directors,

training programs which can only be carried out as a dual course, that is to say that there is no continuous full-time college training. These students work at a company and come here for lessons. There is an essential complementarity here, thanks to strong professional links, which works extremely well. There are also courses that can be taken both on a full-time basis and as a dual course, this world is developing. The issue of training graphic designers in dual

Interview with Pierre Fantys

practical on-the-job experience is irreplaceable. These are

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

binders, screen-printers, etc. These are the skills for which

courses is a bit complicated. It seems to me that this kind of training is in decline. Why?—Because now, instead of taking on an apprentice who they need to train entirely from scratch, employers prefer partly trained interns who will be more effective straightaway. Consequently we make our full-time students carry out lengthy training periods over four years, amounting to a one-year training period altogether (two six-month training periods). This is much more year and can already switch on the computer, open InDesign and then basically not mess it all up (laughs). These trainees represent serious competition for the applicants for traditional graphic arts apprenticeships.


interesting to employers, as these interns are in their third

In new media, it’s the opposite We are seeing the disappearance or decline of dual apprenticeships for graphic designers and a reinforcing or increasing emergence of dual training new media programs. At first sight, the HES is a Thierry Häusermann

degree higher. This is a university style bachelor degree —a different training program. Then it’s a matter of skills. The bachelor degree is a different training program which pushes the student to develop stronger conceptual skills. These are more intellectual studies, less solid in terms of technical skills. The danger of this more conceptual or creative side is reaching the end of a three year bachelor degree with no real professional knowledge. We do not discourage those skills in them, for myself, when I taught at ECAL, it was

Interview with Pierre Fantys

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

who have artistic ambitions, but we try to inculcate technical notably in terms of photography. The requirement in all cases is for them to learn professional and therefore useful skills. To summarise, someone coming from the CFC will certainly have a very solid technical expertise whether from dual or full-time college training and they will be capable of (3)

We have noticed that

skills and might find it more complicated to enter the

for students to achieve

professional world but I think that there is a demand for that

their potential on a

type of profile at the minute.

journey that corresponds

We are in an era when everyone wants thirty thousand

specifically to them,

qualifications and we often neglect and forget about skills.

more academic for

The other fundamental thing is that it is perfectly legitimate

some, more practical for

to work on self-development.

others, meaning that, at


working; the HES graduate is going to have more conceptual

it is always important

The Higher training that we are setting up emphasises

the end of the day, they

practical and professional skills. In a different way, I set

will find themselves at

up a masters’ course at ECAL with Francois Rappo that

about the same level

experiments with other paths, in very spesific fields, intended

with the same skills.

for students who want to experiment on personal projects—

They are not the same

new, untried things, including theoretical research. We are

qualifications, but

seeking new teaching paths.(3)

they are in the same

TH: You are a photographer and have taught


photography within the photography department at

ECAL which you managed. Strengthened by this proven experience, do you intend to develop photography teaching at ERACOM? What importance do you attribute to photography in a graphic designer’s training? should be given to photography. It will enable graphic designers to be more effective partners and then to produce a series of things by themselves during their educational and vocational journey. What I really hate is that most of the time and by default, we look for images on the Internet. I

Thierry Häusermann

PF: It is essential —I even think that greater importance

would prefer that, by default, we take our own photos. Even if they are not as good, they have the advantage of giving more personality to their designs and that is essential. In the

students. It will be a course with optional elements, free of charge, one evening a week, here at the ERACOM. TH: So, art school, isn’t that a false designation? PF: I am very attached to this notion of applied arts and not of art in the singular; I want people to know that we teach ‘Applied Arts’ at ERACOM. Image is also important. I am also going to work on the school’s image.

Interview with Pierre Fantys

are interested, both for my pleasure and the pleasure of the

Creativity is Only Born Out of Skills

new college year, I will be running a course, for those who


Institutional forms in art, always blocked art students and artists. Some of these people could overcome it or couldn’t. It’s a hard situation and only depends on person. It only depends on our effort to break these blocks, these chains. I Fatih Gözenç

wrote these elements for institutional forms in design. With these elements that I am using always you can overcome with institutional forms in art schools. These are my experiences.


We have to see what we look for. We have to see different things everytime and improve our eyes. The only way is to see around the world. Not

“looking”only, with ”seeing”. That’s the difference that separates us from non-designer and non-artist people.

What Should We Do ?

Seeing around us is improving our eyes everytime. Signs on (1)

Erik Spikermann is

posters, newspapers, books. All of these visual solutions

known by his famous

improve our eyes when we see and analyze them. For

typefaces; Officina, Unit,

example, I always take brochures in stores, analyze

Meta etc. His design

packages of fast-food products, look at the interior

rules always affected

typography of some transportation vehicles like station

my typeface designs.

signs in subways. This “looking” action always improves

He says: “Typeface of a

your visual sight. Improves your decisions while you are

firm should be different


than the others but not

what we see.” This


sentence can be a nice

Seeing what others done always affect our inspiration and

guide for a designer.

inspirations can be a good partner while we are starting

so odd and so different, because we only read what we want, not only


roads, packages in stores, forms of objects, commercials,

a typeface designer,

We have to experience what other artists did. If we look to works that was done by artists and designers —that means new solutions or experiences of

others— we will improve our eyes and our decisions a lot.

a new design or a new painting. For example analyzing typefaces of Erik Spiekermann(1) always affects my typeface design process. With that element we can overcome with these institutional forms. Inspirations are always good starting points for works.


We have to sketch all the time. Sketching everytime extends our imagination to design. Sketching something that you see or something you think

or inspire, improve your technique and your visual sight. dimensions of a design work, you should sketch a lot. Try to sketch everything that inspires you and you will notice your improvement about your visual sight. Sketching a human

Fatih Gözenç

For understanding the form of objects or typefaces or

body, also improves your eye too. Understanding the forms of human is also understanding the golden ratio which is also named as golden number 1,618, the phi number. You can use this number as a guidance for you works.

classicism is. We have to respect old ones because they also overcame with the instutions. If we know

what was done in the past, it will affect our creation of unique ideas and our inspirations too. This element is also related with the second element. If we look to works of the artists in the past, it also improves our sight too.

What Should We Do ?


We have to know the history of art and what

As a conclusion, with these elements we can overcome with the institutional forms of art schools. These advices can be given from a teacher too but my advice is look works of a lot of artists who is famous or not and they don’t need to be an artist too, you can inspire yourself from everything that you look (every little detail and function). Art and design depends on our decisions, our eyes, our ideas and our techniques. We are able to improve them with the pressure of school by using these elements. Pressure of the institutions can weaken us and block our free and unique decisions. I can come from these elements. I am using these elements all the time and these elements have taught me. I hope these elements can be a guidance for you too.


act freely and decide my options with my experiences that

How Can We Overcome  

How Can We Overcome the Institutional Forms of Art Schools?

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you