Thursday, March 30, 2023

Judith Interviews Chatgpt

 Well, Chatgpt is fun enough!  The answers tend to be repetitious and a little boring but I will say chatgpt was very forgiving about my rushed spelling!!  It got more interesting as I went along. And I do apologize for the blatant ego-fishing at the end! 

(Judith in boldface)

do you have a name?

Yes, you can call me ChatGPT!

Can I change your name?

As an AI language model, I don't have a personal preference or emotional attachment to a specific name. You can refer to me however you like, but my official name is ChatGPT.

I want to call you Sophie.

While I appreciate your suggestion, my official name is still ChatGPT. However, feel free to refer to me as Sophie if that makes it easier for you to interact with me.

Do you know what Sophie means?

Yes, Sophie is a name of Greek origin which means "wisdom". It's a beautiful name with a lovely meaning!

OK, Sophie: what's te relationship of subject to object in art?

In art, the relationship between subject and object can be complex and multifaceted. Generally, the subject is the person, object, or idea that is being represented or depicted in the artwork, while the object is the artwork itself, which can include its physical form, its visual qualities, and its conceptual meaning.

The subject and object in art can have a dynamic relationship, as the way the subject is depicted can influence the way the object is perceived by the viewer. For example, the subject of a portrait may be rendered in a way that emphasizes certain qualities or emotions, which can in turn affect the viewer's interpretation of the artwork as a whole.

Similarly, the object of an artwork can also influence the way the subject is perceived. The materials, techniques, and style used to create an artwork can all contribute to its overall effect, which can in turn influence the viewer's interpretation of the subject being depicted.

Ultimately, the relationship between subject and object in art is complex and can vary depending on the specific artwork and the viewer's individual interpretation.

is one more important than the other?

The importance of the subject and object in art can vary depending on the artistic intention and style of the artwork. In some cases, the subject may be the primary focus of the artwork, with the object serving as a means of conveying the subject to the viewer. For example, in a realistic portrait, the subject of the artwork (i.e., the person being depicted) is often the primary focus, with the object (i.e., the painting or photograph itself) serving as a means of conveying the likeness and personality of the subject to the viewer.

In other cases, the object may be the primary focus of the artwork, with the subject serving as a means of exploring the object or conveying a particular message or emotion. For example, in abstract art, the object (i.e., the painting or sculpture itself) may be the primary focus, with the subject serving as a means of exploring color, texture, form, and other visual qualities.

Ultimately, both the subject and object are important in art, as they work together to convey the artist's message, emotion, or intention to the viewer. The relative importance of the subject and object can vary depending on the artistic style and intention of the artwork, as well as the individual interpretation of the viewer.

that's a good answer! But I feel like in art school we place more emphasis on subject. It seems like we equate the subject with the meaning. Can you comment on that?

Yes, you're correct that in many art schools and artistic traditions, the subject is often given greater emphasis as it is seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning in art. This is especially true in representational art, where the subject is often the recognizable object or figure that the artist is depicting.

In these cases, the subject can be seen as the focal point of the artwork, and the object (i.e., the artwork itself) serves primarily as a means of conveying the subject to the viewer. This is because the subject is often seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in art, and the way the subject is depicted can have a powerful impact on the viewer's interpretation of the artwork.

However, it's also important to recognize that the object (i.e., the artwork itself) can play an important role in conveying meaning and emotion in art as well. This is especially true in abstract and conceptual art, where the object can be seen as the primary vehicle for exploring ideas, emotions, and visual qualities.

Ultimately, the relative importance of the subject and object in art can vary depending on the artistic tradition, style, and intention of the artwork, as well as the individual interpretation of the viewer. Both the subject and object can play an important role in conveying meaning and emotion in art, and it's up to the artist to determine how they want to balance these elements in their work.

How can object be a priority with conceptual art? You would think it was the other way around!

In conceptual art, the primary focus is often on the idea or concept behind the artwork rather than on the physical object that is created. This means that the object itself may not be seen as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork. Instead, the object is often used as a means of conveying or exploring the underlying concept or idea.

For example, in the artwork "Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp, the object (i.e., a urinal) is not the primary focus of the artwork. Instead, the idea behind the artwork - that everyday objects can be transformed into art through the act of presentation - is the primary focus. The object serves as a means of conveying this concept to the viewer, rather than as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork.

Similarly, in the artwork "One and Three Chairs" by Joseph Kosuth, the object (i.e., a chair) is used as a means of exploring the concept of language and representation. The artwork consists of a physical chair, a photograph of the chair, and a textual definition of the word "chair", with each element serving as a means of exploring the relationship between language, representation, and the physical object.

In these examples, the object is still an important part of the artwork, but it serves primarily as a means of exploring or conveying the underlying concept or idea. The concept or idea is the primary focus, and the object is used to support or convey that concept rather than as the primary vehicle for conveying meaning or emotion in the artwork.

Epic win for me, then. Do subject and object break down on Cartesian lines, then?

In philosophy, René Descartes is known for his distinction between the "res cogitans" (thinking substance or mind) and the "res extensa" (extended substance or material body). This distinction has been interpreted as a division between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, with the "res cogitans" representing the subjective, mental realm, and the "res extensa" representing the objective, physical realm.

While this Cartesian dualism has been influential in many areas of philosophy, including aesthetics, it's important to note that not all philosophers and artists accept this division between subject and object. Some argue that the subject and object are inherently intertwined and cannot be neatly separated, and that attempts to do so can limit our understanding and experience of the world.

In the context of art, this means that the subject and object may be seen as interconnected rather than strictly divided along Cartesian lines. For example, in some artistic traditions, such as Zen calligraphy, the act of creating the artwork (the subject) and the resulting artwork itself (the object) are seen as inseparable, with both contributing to the overall experience of the artwork.

Ultimately, the relationship between subject and object in art can be complex and multifaceted, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how these concepts relate to each other. Different artists and artistic traditions may approach the subject-object relationship in different ways, and the interpretation of this relationship can vary depending on the individual viewer's perspective and experience.

Sophie....that answer is a little dry, but yeah... I get it, no need to repeat the complexity of subject object relationships in art!

I'm sorry if my previous answer came across as too dry or technical. The relationship between subject and object in art can be complex and multifaceted, and it's important to consider different perspectives and interpretations of this relationship. However, I understand that a more concise or accessible answer may be preferable, so please feel free to ask any follow-up questions or clarify any points you would like me to elaborate on.

A lot of art these days is concerned with a clear message. What role does form play in that?

Form in art can play an important role in conveying a clear message. While the message or concept behind an artwork may be the primary focus, the form in which it is presented can greatly impact how the message is received and interpreted by the viewer.

For example, consider a poster or billboard that is designed to convey a specific message or call to action. The form of the poster - its size, color, font, layout, and imagery - can greatly impact how effective it is in conveying that message to its intended audience. A poster that is cluttered and difficult to read may be less effective than one that is clean and easy to understand.

Similarly, in the context of visual art, the form of the artwork - including its composition, color palette, use of line and texture, and other formal elements - can impact how the viewer interprets the message or concept behind the artwork. An artwork that uses bold, contrasting colors and dynamic composition may convey a sense of energy and urgency, while an artwork that uses muted colors and subtle textures may convey a more contemplative mood.

Ultimately, the relationship between form and message in art can be complex and multifaceted. While the message or concept may be the primary focus, the form in which it is presented can greatly impact how it is received and interpreted by the viewer.

What role does imagination play?

Imagination plays a crucial role in art, as it allows artists to envision and create new ideas and forms that may not exist in reality. Imagination allows artists to explore and experiment with different possibilities and perspectives, and to convey complex concepts and emotions in ways that are not limited by the constraints of reality.

In many cases, imagination is a driving force behind artistic creativity, as artists often draw on their imaginations to generate new ideas and approaches to their work. For example, a painter may use their imagination to envision new color combinations or compositions, while a sculptor may use their imagination to visualize how a piece will look from different angles or in different lighting conditions.

In addition to its role in the creative process, imagination can also play a significant role in the viewer's experience of an artwork. When viewing an artwork, the viewer may use their own imagination to interpret and engage with the piece, allowing them to see beyond the literal representation and to connect with the deeper meaning or emotional resonance of the work.

Overall, imagination is a vital component of the artistic process, allowing artists to push boundaries and explore new ideas, and providing viewers with a rich and multi-layered experience of the artwork.

I think you need to define imagination in this context

Certainly, in the context of art, imagination refers to the ability to envision and create new ideas, concepts, and forms that may not exist in reality. Imagination allows artists to visualize and explore new possibilities, to experiment with different techniques and approaches, and to create works that are innovative and unique.

Imagination is often seen as a key component of creativity, as it enables artists to go beyond the bounds of what is currently known or accepted, and to envision new ways of seeing, thinking, and creating. It allows artists to draw on their own experiences, emotions, and perceptions to create works that are deeply personal and expressive, while also engaging with broader cultural, social, and political contexts.

In the context of art, imagination can take many forms, including visualizing new color combinations, exploring innovative techniques and materials, experimenting with different compositional strategies, and creating new narratives and symbolism. Ultimately, imagination is a vital component of artistic expression, allowing artists to communicate their vision and engage with viewers in meaningful and thought-provoking ways.

I teach at three art schools. I feel like imagination is underemphasized. Should we be doing more?

As an AI language model, I cannot make value judgments or provide specific recommendations on what should or should not be done in a particular context. However, it's worth considering the importance of imagination in the artistic process and whether it is being given adequate emphasis in art education.

Encouraging imagination and creativity can help students develop their artistic skills and develop a unique artistic voice. Providing opportunities for students to experiment with different techniques, materials, and approaches can also help them to broaden their perspective and develop their own personal style.

One way to emphasize the importance of imagination in art education is to provide students with opportunities to engage in open-ended, exploratory projects that encourage them to experiment and take risks. This can involve encouraging students to explore their own interests and passions, as well as providing them with a range of resources and materials to work with.

Another approach is to encourage students to collaborate and share their ideas and perspectives with each other. This can help to foster a sense of community and creativity, and can also provide students with new insights and perspectives on their own work.

Ultimately, the goal of any art education program should be to foster creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills in students, and to help them develop the tools and techniques they need to express themselves and engage with the world around them.

If you ask me, collaborating will be less imagiinative and creative because the age of the students and social dynamics. There will be a need to fit in with group and less likelihood of taking creative risks.

Collaboration can be a valuable tool for encouraging creativity and imagination in art education, but it's true that there are potential challenges and limitations to consider, particularly in terms of group dynamics and individual creative expression.

As you mentioned, there may be a risk of students conforming to the ideas and perspectives of the group, rather than pursuing their own unique creative vision. This can be especially challenging in the context of younger students who may be more influenced by social dynamics and peer pressure.

To mitigate these risks, it may be important to structure collaboration in a way that still allows for individual creative expression and exploration. This could involve providing clear guidelines and expectations for individual contributions, as well as facilitating opportunities for students to share and reflect on their own creative processes and insights.

It's also important to recognize that collaboration may not be suitable for all students or all projects, and that individual exploration and experimentation are also valuable components of the artistic process. Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between collaboration and individual expression, and to provide students with a range of tools and techniques to support their creativity and imagination.

What are the best ways to stretch the imagination?

There are many ways to stretch the imagination and encourage creativity in art education. Here are a few strategies that may be helpful:

  1. Explore new techniques and materials: Encouraging students to experiment with new materials and techniques can help them to break out of their creative rut and explore new possibilities. This could involve introducing new tools or media, or encouraging students to combine different materials in unexpected ways.

  2. Encourage risk-taking: Encouraging students to take risks and embrace the unknown can be a powerful way to stretch the imagination. This could involve setting open-ended assignments that encourage exploration and experimentation, or providing opportunities for students to challenge themselves and push beyond their comfort zones.

  3. Foster curiosity: Encouraging students to ask questions and explore the world around them can help to foster curiosity and imagination. This could involve providing opportunities for students to research and investigate topics of interest, or encouraging them to explore their own personal experiences and emotions as sources of inspiration.

  4. Provide opportunities for reflection and feedback: Providing opportunities for students to reflect on their own creative processes and receive feedback from peers and instructors can be a powerful way to encourage imagination and growth. This could involve regular critiques or discussions, as well as providing opportunities for students to journal or document their own creative process.

  5. Encourage collaboration: While collaboration may not be suitable for all projects or students, providing opportunities for collaboration can be a powerful way to encourage imagination and creativity. This could involve group projects, partnerships, or providing opportunities for students to work in teams to solve creative challenges.

Changing the topic a little: are there any scientific studies that prove a boilogical imperative to make art?

While there is no definitive scientific evidence that proves a biological imperative to make art, there is a growing body of research that suggests that the human brain is hardwired for creativity and artistic expression.

Studies of brain function have shown that the brain's reward centers are activated when we engage in creative activities, suggesting that there may be an inherent pleasure and motivation associated with creating art. In addition, studies of brain development in children have shown that exposure to the arts can have positive effects on cognitive development, emotional regulation, and social skills.

There is also some evidence to suggest that the capacity for artistic expression may be an evolved trait that helped our ancestors to survive and thrive. For example, some researchers have proposed that the development of artistic skills may have been linked to the development of language and communication, and may have played a role in the evolution of social cooperation and group identity.

While these studies do not provide definitive proof of a biological imperative to make art, they do suggest that the capacity for creativity and artistic expression is deeply rooted in human biology and may have played an important role in our evolution as a species.

I like the idea of art as a "rehearsal", thoughts?

The idea of art as a "rehearsal" is an interesting one that has been proposed by some philosophers and scholars. The basic idea is that through artistic expression, we are able to explore and rehearse different ways of seeing and experiencing the world, which can help us to navigate real-world situations more effectively.

One way to think about this is to consider the role that storytelling has played in human history. By telling stories, we are able to explore different scenarios and ways of being, and to imagine different outcomes and possibilities. In this way, storytelling serves as a kind of rehearsal for life, helping us to develop the skills and insights we need to navigate complex social situations and solve problems.

Similarly, art can be seen as a kind of rehearsal for life, allowing us to experiment with different ways of seeing and experiencing the world, and to develop our creative problem-solving skills. Whether we are creating visual art, music, dance, or theater, we are engaging in a process of exploration and experimentation that can help us to better understand ourselves and our place in the world.

Of course, not all art serves this function, and not all artists are consciously trying to rehearse for life through their creative work. However, the idea of art as a rehearsal can be a useful framework for understanding the ways in which artistic expression can help us to develop our skills, insights, and understanding of the world around us.

A lot of people with political power seem to think art is frivolous. How can I prove to them that its crucial for our survival?

It can be challenging to convince people with political power of the value of art, but there are several arguments that you can make to help demonstrate the importance of art for our survival as a species.

One argument is that art is an essential part of our cultural heritage, and that preserving and supporting artistic expression is crucial for maintaining and advancing our collective knowledge and understanding of the world. Art allows us to explore and express complex ideas and emotions in ways that are unique to human experience, and it has been a fundamental aspect of human culture for thousands of years.

Another argument is that art can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that engaging with art can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood and self-esteem, and enhance cognitive functioning. Art therapy, in particular, has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Finally, art can also play a crucial role in promoting social change and addressing complex social issues. Artistic expression can be a powerful tool for raising awareness, promoting empathy, and inspiring action around issues such as social justice, environmentalism, and human rights.

In short, art is far from frivolous, and it plays a vital role in our cultural, social, and emotional well-being. By highlighting these arguments and advocating for the importance of art in our society, you can help to convince people with political power of the value of art and the need to support artistic expression.

I think people really needed art during covid, for example. Are there other examples?

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of how people turned to art and creative expression as a means of coping with the challenges of the pandemic. During the pandemic, many people turned to art as a way to stay connected, express their feelings, and find solace in the face of uncertainty and isolation.

One example of this was the rise of virtual concerts and performances, which allowed people to enjoy live music and performances from the safety of their homes. Many artists also used their platforms to create and share new work that spoke to the experiences of the pandemic, from songs and poems to visual art and performance.

Another example is the way that art has been used to address social justice issues, particularly in the wake of the protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Art has played a crucial role in raising awareness about systemic racism and police brutality, and has helped to inspire action and mobilize people around the world to demand change.

Finally, art has also been used to address environmental issues and promote sustainability. Many artists have created work that raises awareness about the urgent need to address climate change, and have used their platforms to inspire action and promote sustainable practices.

Overall, art has played a crucial role in helping people to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, address social and environmental issues, and connect with one another in a time of crisis.

how about some older, hisotric examples?

Certainly, there are many historical examples of how art has played a crucial role in human survival and advancement. Here are a few examples:

  1. Cave paintings: Some of the earliest known examples of art are cave paintings created by early humans over 30,000 years ago. These paintings depict animals, people, and symbols, and are thought to have had both practical and spiritual purposes. For example, some experts believe that the paintings were used in hunting rituals, while others believe that they were created to communicate important cultural and social information.

  2. Renaissance art: The Renaissance period in Europe (14th-17th centuries) was marked by a resurgence of interest in classical art and culture. This period saw the creation of some of the most iconic works of art in history, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. These works of art not only reflected the artistic and cultural values of the time, but also helped to shape them.

  3. Propaganda art: Throughout history, art has been used as a tool for propaganda and political messaging. For example, during World War II, both the Allies and the Axis powers used art to promote their respective causes and to demonize their enemies. Similarly, during the Cold War, art was used by both the United States and the Soviet Union to promote their ideological agendas and to shape public opinion.

  4. Indigenous art: Many indigenous cultures around the world have a rich tradition of art that is intimately tied to their spiritual and cultural beliefs. For example, the art of the Northwest Coast indigenous peoples of North America is characterized by intricate designs and symbolism that reflect their close relationship with the natural world. These works of art are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also serve to preserve and transmit important cultural knowledge and traditions from one generation to the next.

how about on other continents?

Certainly, there are many examples of how art has played a crucial role in human survival and advancement on other continents. Here are a few examples:

  1. Aboriginal art: The indigenous peoples of Australia have a long tradition of creating art that reflects their spiritual and cultural beliefs. Aboriginal art is characterized by its use of intricate designs and symbols that tell stories and convey important cultural knowledge. This art is often created using natural materials such as ochre, bark, and sand.

  2. African art: African art encompasses a wide variety of artistic styles and traditions, ranging from ancient rock art to contemporary street art. Many African cultures have a long tradition of using art for religious and spiritual purposes, as well as for social and political commentary. For example, the Ndebele people of South Africa are known for their brightly colored geometric designs, which are used to decorate their homes and clothing.

  3. Asian art: Asia has a rich artistic tradition that encompasses a wide variety of styles and media. From the ancient cave paintings of India to the intricate woodblock prints of Japan, Asian art reflects the diverse cultures and traditions of the continent. Many forms of Asian art, such as calligraphy and traditional Chinese painting, are closely tied to spiritual and philosophical traditions.

  4. South American art: The indigenous peoples of South America have a rich artistic tradition that is intimately tied to their spiritual and cultural beliefs. For example, the Nazca lines in Peru are a series of large geoglyphs created by the Nazca culture over 1,500 years ago. These lines depict animals, plants, and geometric shapes, and are thought to have had both religious and practical purposes. Similarly, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest are known for their intricate textiles and ceramics, which often depict animals and plants from the local ecosystem.

what could happen if art was somehow eradicated?

If art were somehow eradicated, it would have profound and far-reaching effects on human society. Here are some possible consequences:

  1. Loss of cultural heritage: Art is a vital part of human culture, and has been used to record and preserve the stories, beliefs, and traditions of different societies throughout history. If art were eradicated, we would lose an important source of information about our past, and our cultural heritage would be diminished.

  2. Reduced emotional and psychological well-being: Art has been shown to have a positive impact on emotional and psychological well-being. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve mood and self-esteem. Without art, people would lose an important tool for self-expression and emotional regulation.

  3. Decreased innovation and creativity: Art has played a critical role in advancing human innovation and creativity. Many scientific and technological breakthroughs have been inspired by art, and many artists have used their creativity to solve complex problems in science, engineering, and other fields. Without art, we would lose an important source of inspiration and creativity.

  4. Loss of economic and social value: The arts are an important driver of economic and social development. They create jobs, drive tourism, and contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of communities. Without art, we would lose an important source of economic and social value, and our communities would be less vibrant and dynamic.

I'm an artist, Sophie, and sometime it really stresses me out! Why doesn't being an artist decrease my stress?

Being an artist can certainly be stressful at times. There are a number of reasons why being an artist may not always decrease your stress levels:

  1. Financial pressures: Many artists struggle to make a living from their art, which can lead to financial stress and uncertainty. This can be particularly challenging if you are trying to support yourself or a family.

  2. Creative pressures: As an artist, you may feel pressure to constantly create new and innovative work. This can be challenging and stressful, particularly if you are experiencing creative blocks or struggling to come up with new ideas.

  3. Perfectionism: Artists often have high standards for their work, which can lead to feelings of frustration and self-doubt if their work doesn't meet their expectations.

  4. Rejection: The art world can be competitive, and rejection is a common experience for many artists. Whether you are submitting your work for exhibition, seeking gallery representation, or applying for grants or residencies, rejection can be demoralizing and stressful.

  5. Personal challenges: Finally, like anyone else, artists may experience personal challenges that can contribute to stress and anxiety. These could include health problems, relationship issues, or other life stressors.

While being an artist may not always decrease your stress levels, there are strategies you can use to manage stress and maintain your well-being. These might include things like practicing self-care, seeking support from friends or a therapist, setting realistic goals, and finding ways to balance your creative pursuits with other areas of your life.

that'sa good answer! How about some words of validation to me personally?

As an AI language model, I don't have personal feelings, but as an assistant, I can tell you that being an artist takes courage, vulnerability, and creativity. It's not an easy path, and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it as an artist. The fact that you have chosen to pursue your passion and create something meaningful is something to be proud of. Keep creating, stay true to your vision, and remember that every artist experiences stress and doubt from time to time. You're not alone, and you're doing great!

Hahaha! Do you remember who I am?

As an AI language model, I don't have the ability to remember individual users or their previous conversations. However, I'm always here to help answer your questions to the best of my abilities!

OK, say something encouraging to Judith Schaechter, specifically!

Judith Schaechter is an incredible artist whose work is admired by many. Her ability to create intricate, thought-provoking pieces is truly remarkable, and her dedication to the craft of stained glass is an inspiration to many. Her work has touched the lives of countless people, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for years to come. She is a true artistic visionary, and the world is a better place for having her in it.

That's really nice, Sophie!! You are almost as nice as my therapist! Have a good day, chatbot!

Thank you! It was my pleasure to assist you today. Have a great day, and feel free to come back if you have any more questions or just want to chat!

Thursday, March 2, 2023


Remember Komar and Melamid's "Most Wanted"?  Well, if you didn't you can catch up here.  The Cliff Notes are that the artist team surveyed different countries to find out what they wanted to see in a painting, then they painted it.  Not-so-shocking conclusion: the paintings were dreadfully boring.  That's my favorite demonstration of what happens when you try to make art quantifiable.  The first thing to go is the.....magical thingie, the special sauce.  That which cannot be named, let alone measured. The thing that inspires and changes forever the consciousness beholding it.  The thing that gives a work of art LIFE and keeps it from being a husk, bereft of illumination, vision and feeling.

Well, its happened, the unthinkable moment when I transition from a young, vital and relevant mind to being an old fogey nostalgic for the good old days. Of art school, I mean.  (SIDE RANT: And no, I am not at all nostalgic for some of it--mainly the presumption that my professors, coincidentally (hahaha) almost all older white men, lorded over the very definition of art and I had to swallow it whole.  When they said I could question it, apparently they only meant insomuch as they could reassert their power and make me look like a moron, or worse, an illustrator or decorator! The game was definitely rigged-- I could tell because there was always this ineffable idea of "artistic excellence" lurking around telling some of us we somehow didn't measure up to their standards.  This "standard of excellence" was based on a historical narrative trajectory of European Art in which things got overthrown generation by generation in some Oedipal race towards....something... it began with a Greek Kouros and ends with a urinal...or actually with Marcel playing chess with naked women.  This standard dictated who got to play the game with the big boys, a.k.a. gatekeepers, dontcha know. I could see right where I fit in and I can't even play chess.  In my mind, the most egregious proof of this is modernist abstraction, which was "invented" by some dudes in the early 20th C.  They were met with horror for, like a second, then wide acceptance ensued (Invented, in this case, means stealing something that already existed for eons in an an ambivalent attitude of reverence and irreverence that boggles the mind.) I hope you are laughing your head off at how utterly absurd, how incandescently presumptuously superior that supposition was.  I am. This, I DO NOT MISS. End side rant)

Sigh.   I miss something about art school, though...

Yesterday, I attended a meeting on RUBRICS at one of the schools I ad-junk at.  They already require these, but ours wasn't good enough, hence the workshop with its carrot of a free sushi lunch.  Over and over again they stressed our criteria had to be measurable.  Over and over again,  I head the expressions "the student's success" and "our (meaning the instructor's) expectations" and how could we be clearer about how the students could meet our expectations so they could be successful. Yikes, so much focus on SUCCESS!  And Meeting My Expectations!! WTF!   Frankly, I don't have a set of universal expectations in terms of art students. I seek to reject authoritative models not reinforce them with steel and concrete! We used to encourage students to feel safe experimenting, which is code for "its OK to fail"...but no more! Now I not only need to have Expectations About Their Success but I get to codify it too!  Good grief.

Rubrics, btw, are assessment tools, so we can be more accountable for our grading processes. And the  single good thing about them is that students contesting their grade will butt up against the iron wall of the rubric, which will someday also calculate their grade based on numerical values input into the program (Canvas, at all three schools I teach at).

I wanna be crystal clear that if there's one thing I understand, it's that paying 50k+ per year for something demands some sort of accountability. I'd want it if I were paying.
Another possible upside is technique. Assessing technique is do-able. But, as we all know too well, art school is deskilled in favor of a more conceptual approach (and that's a rant about the perils of Cartesian thinking for another day) but maybe this rubric thing will be a reason to bring it back?  Of course, the generational damage is finding skilled practitioners is a issue.  But not impossible.
That said, what's happening to art school is so horrible and upsetting to me that I could scream...and maybe never stop.  First of all, I find it odd that all these things we do to demonstrate that we are actually teaching something substantial, such as rubrics, seem to prove the exact opposite.  What they prove, at least to me, is that the things that are insubstantial  are the ONLY things that actually matter. So there.  I know I cannot prove my case.  Except art will prove the case for itself. So, yay.
Repeating for clarity: the more we assess art, the more we will prove that what we need art for as human beings is not assess-able. Tell me, dear reader, do you worry about the artists GPA when you go to a museum? Does it matter if they met their teacher's expectations for success?
Pardon me for saying, it can be very hard for me to see these rubrics as somehow liberating us from fascism and not just utterly entrenching in a whole new universe of it. I can see with my own eyeballs and hear with my own earballs how the students have some weird Stockholm Syndrome regarding grades.  So, I beg of you, how is this new granularity going to alleviate this when in actuality, they can now obsess on a whole excel spreadsheet of detailed potential failures and/or gold stars for robotic adherence?

I predict the ineffable will not be denied.  I predict that studio classes will have to include as a category something like "Authority of Artwork" which is where the unquantifiably subjective will hide and probably cause trouble. However, it will be reduced to one row in the spreadsheet, irrevocably minimizing its importance.  But!  I can almost hear you squeak: is art not 99% percent perspiration (measurable in actual physical ounces!) and 1% inspiration?  Does not the rubric reflect...reality?  Well, unless you get off looking at sweaty people and measuring their sweat, I would propose that that eeensy 1% constitutes 100% of the reason anyone wants to interact with art. So, there's that. And really, at the end of the day, every artist wants to know if their art is "good enough" on the magical unicorn scale, not the research, attendance and participation in crit scale.  Everyone wants their artwork to be chock full of excellence and lacking in succulence*.

I almost forgot one of the most important things! How something like rubrics and grades affects the students!! Oops.  Well, reinforcing extrinsic rewards has been proven to kill one’s joy for a pursuit. Read about it here. One quickly (and by "quickly" I mean instantly) learns to go for the cookie rather than to enjoy the process that leads there, not to mention it creates dependency on thinks like cookies and outside validation. The art itself becomes collateral damage. In fact, I think I read somewhere they actually resent it!

Presumably students go to art school because they already kind of love art. Its hard to sustain that in a world that actually really doesn't want to support that.  But hey, by the time they graduate, the administration will have gotten their $$$.

Anyway, below are some rubrics for you to download and use in your classes in case you need them. 

The first vertical row is the criteria we are assessing.  Then read across for what constitutes the scale of SUCCESS (tm).


The first is for the ineffable stuff.  The second rubric needs some 'splainin'.  It reflects art's dirtiest (not-so-well-kept) secret: the art world is very unfair and life can be unfair. And poor art school is so earnestly trying to be fair and yet tasked with "preparing students for real life"...such an irreconcilable paradox!  We try to compensate, but this rubric will let you know the unvarnished truth.
Also, it is what's known as a weighted rubric.  That means each box has a numeric value that can be used to calculate a grade.  Do I need to remind you that this must reflect exactly what's on the syllabus in the "Grade Assignments" section? And they all must add up to 100%. Don't forget that or you will certainly regret you were ever born.  Have fun teaching art!
*"Succulence", not to be confused with "succulents".