Reshaping an art department

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Reshaping an art department

From Virgil Elliott

Published before 2005


I'll add an anecdote that relates to this subject [on Norberto Navarro's letter on the possibility of reforming a university art department]. In my twenty years of teaching, only two students stood out as being absolutely hopeless, unable to learn to read shapes in three dimensions, unable to make any progress in drawing, and one of them was a retired art professor who had taught art in a university for 35 years before coming to my class. Not only did he have an MFA degree, but also a Doctorate in some art-related field (I seem to recall it was art history). He was a nice fellow, and intelligent, but he simply could not draw, and seemed unable to improve at it no matter how hard he tried. He agreed with me that there is something very wrong with a system that allows people who cannot even draw to teach art, and issues Master of Fine Arts degrees to such people.

How much help could he have been to his students, with no better eye than that?

- Virgil Elliott