Recent Articles
Are you daring enough to opt for op art?
Living With Art
Energetic, High Spirited and Downright Dynamic – Are You Daring Enough to Opt for Op Art?
Invite a few new faces in, via contemporary portraiture
Close Look
Invite a Few New Faces Into Your home Via Contemporary Portraiture
Trevor Paglen talks about his new show Bloom
Q&A
Trevor Paglen: ‘Bloom was put together in a moment of death and mourning, a moment when the fragility of our lives and institutions is in sharp focus.’
Eye on the suburbs? Here's some art that works outside the city
Living With Art
Eye on the suburbs? Then consider some art that works outside the inner city
It's Time to Take Cartoon Art a Little More Seriously
Living With Art
It's Time to Take Cartoon Art a Little More Seriously
Bring New York and London's Fashion Weeks Into Your Home
On Trend
Bring New York and London's Fashion Weeks Into Your Home With These Elegant Artworks
The Artspace Group Show: The City
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: The City
Fall for Your Walls: Bring an Autumnal Aspect to Your Collection
Expert Eye
Fall for Your Walls: Bring an Autumnal Aspect to Your Collection
The Artspace Group Show: Science Fiction
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: Science Fiction
The Artspace Group Show: The Sea
Living With Art
The Artspace Group Show: The Sea
5 Great Pieces on Women's Equality Day
Expert Eye
Rhinestones, Sequins, Paint, Photography and Linocuts - 5 Great Pieces on Women's Equality Day
Broaden Out Into New Media With These Innovative Works
Expert Eye
Beyond Two Dimensions: Add New Media To Your Collection With These Innovative Works
INTERVIEW: Wolfgang Tillmans
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Wolfgang Tillmans: ‘Classic photography seemed so remote, so irrelevant to me. It just didn’t touch me'
INTERVIEW: Mark Bradford
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Mark Bradford: ‘Everybody should have a little protection, a little cover, a little bit of a net and society should give it to us'
Paul McCarthy 'I suspect they're disturbed when ketchup is blood'
Q&A
INTERVIEW: Paul McCarthy: 'My work refers to my private, forgotten or repressed memories. I recognize them as existing, but I am not sure how they relate to me. Are they specifically my trauma, or someone else’s?'

The Phaidon Folio

Dan Graham on the 5 Best (and 4 Worst) Things About Art School

By

Dan Graham on the 5 Best (and 4 Worst) Things About Art School
Documentation of the artist Dan Graham performing Present Continuous Past(s), 1974

Dan Graham, one of the earliest proponents of conceptual art, is one of its most popular and enduring practitioners. After founding the John Daniels Gallery in 1964 (where he gave Sol LeWitt his first solo gallery show), he went on to produce some of the seminal works of American conceptualism—ncluding his genre-bending magazine pieces, his glass and mirror pavilions, and his much-loved video essay Rock My Religion (1984). In this excerpt from Phaidon’sAkademie X, Graham (a self-taught artist whose formal education ended with high school) explains the best and worst aspects of art school.

 

BEST

1.) Visiting artists: lectures and studio visits.

2.) Class trips.

3.) Availability of video, film and audio equipment with technicians.

4.) Practical training in areas such as graphic design.

5.) Good libraries.

 

WORST 

1.) The emphasis, since the 1980s, on making art as a specialist professional "career" rather than as a passionate experiment.

2.) The obsession with the artist as a future "art star."

3.) The obsession with making an academic rationale for art, a good example being the overuse of the word "problematize."

4.) Teaching only the contemporary art that is found in the art magazines in the library.

 

My personal observation is that most of my favorite artists have either come out of areas other than art, or like myself, never went to either art school or university – being self-taught. In my case, I initially wanted to be a writer. When I accidentally started the John Daniels Gallery, I pursued being an artist-writer due to my admiration of “young” artist-writers whom I showed in my gallery. These were Don Judd, who made his living writing art reviews, Dan Flavin, who had a monthly column in Artforum, and Sol LeWitt, who had studied architecture and then worked both in a major architect’s office and as a magazine graphic designer. He shared my love of literature and also wrote occasionally. After my gallery failed, I supported myself through writing about cultural phenomena such as rock music or television. Because of my published articles on art, art schools invited me to do lectures or limited teaching. I invited myself to a short residency at Nova Scotia College of Art (NSCAD) in Halifax in the late 1960s to try out video and performance art projects, utilizing the school’s film and video equipment and my students as participants in these projects. The shared communication and feedback in the small group setting in this art school facilitated the realization of those ideas.

When I first started teaching at NSCAD I wanted the school to be placed into the local community. I used local cable television’s public-access stations for student projects. I first announced my Likes: A Computer Astrological Dating Service through my appearance as a guest on a local TV news program. Although the school had done a limited edition of prints by three visiting artists including myself, I thought this use of the school’s facilities very limited, so I suggested that the school invite my friend Kasper König, and later Benjamin Buchloh, to oversee the NSCAD–NYU Press to make monographic books that would involve such artists, musicians, and dancers as Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Dara Birnbaum, Steve Reich, Michael Asher, and myself, as well as republishing the previously out-of-print early reviews and articles of Don Judd. The school had previously invited visiting artists to come for short stays of two or three days, so I initiated a course where I would do a three-week stint to be followed by three-week stints by a series of visiting artists who had never taught before. At the end of the year, I would do another three weeks of teaching (Jeff Wall, Michael Asher, Dara Birnbaum, and Martha Rosler were the first artist-teachers I invited for this course).

From the position of the visiting-artist teacher at an art school, I see teaching as both a great place to earn some cash and to have very focused conversations with young artist students, whose works are often more inspiring when in first bloom than when later refined in a gallery setting. I have also enjoyed talking about other shared passions like rock music. I especially enjoy learning from the cultural context and personal biography of foreign students. Finally, the art school setting is a way for artists who are friends but rarely see each other any more to spend fun time together again.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS