Michael Newall: A Philosophy of the Art School

If one were to devise a motto for the art school of today, the choice between ‘you too are an artist’ and ‘abandon all hope you who enter here’ would be difficult. Despite significant changes in mainstream art education in recent decades, many anglophone art schools have not abandoned the principal tools of the masterclass or the crit that stem from some stubborn 18th-century ideas and the belief that creativity is the preserve of the artistic genius. Considering these histories can shed light on the role of the art school in the 21st century.

Research on art schools has been largely occupied with the facts of particular schools and teachers. Michael Newall’s book presents a philosophical account of the underlying practices and ideas that have come to shape contemporary art school teaching in the UK, US and Europe. It analyses two models that, hidden beneath the diversity of contemporary artist training, have come to dominate art schools. The book draws on first-hand accounts of art school teaching and is deeply informed by disciplines ranging from art history and art theory to the philosophy of art, education and creativity.

Michael Newall speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about the masterclass and the crit, the pervasive idea of the Romantic genius, creative disagreements with Kant, and the lessons for the future that a historical perspective may offer.

Michael Newall is a programme leader in art and philosophy at the University of Kent.

Alana Jelinek: Between Discipline and a Hard Place

Between Discipline and a Hard Place
The Value of Contemporary Art

Alana Jelinek

Published by Bloomsbury, 2020
ISBN 9781350100473

Some fields have an easier time describing themselves than others. “History is the study of past events.” “Biology is the study of living organisms.” But art? Is art a discipline? Is it a practice? Who gets to answer this most fundamental of questions, and why do we prefer not to try? Between Discipline and a Hard Place, written from the perspective of a practising artist, proposes that, against a groundswell of historians, museums and commentators claiming to speak on behalf of art, it is artists alone who may define what art really is.

Between Discipline and a Hard Place is a passionate treatise arguing for a new way of understanding art that forefronts the role of the artist and the importance of inclusion within both the concept of art and the art world.

Alana Jelinek speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about a disciplined and disciplinary approach to thinking about art and its value outside the current preoccupation with economic considerations and the great potential of interdisciplinary working.

Alana Jelinek is an artist and a researcher at the University of Hertfordshire.

Patricia Bickers: The Ends of Art Criticism

Crisis? What Crisis? At a time where there are repeated claims of the impending demise of art criticism, The Ends of Art Criticism  dispel these myths by arguing that the lack of a single dominant voice in criticism is not, as some believe, a weakness, but a strength, allowing previously marginalised voices and new global and political perspectives to come to the fore.

Patricia Bickers speaks with Pierre d’Alancaisez about her time as the editor of Art Monthly, the changing role of art criticism, the politics of speaking and writing about art, the art school, the relationship between artists and critics, the academicisation of critical discourse, the relationship between art history and criticism, and.. the art of the interview.

Some of the works mentioned in the conversation: