Issue #200
A Party To End All Parties November 9, 2012

Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment

Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment
Edited by Paper Monument
Paper Monument, 2012.

In a past life I was an Assistant Professor in the Art Department at a small liberal arts college. Designing and doling out assignments made up a significant portion of my pedagogical life. After-all, they were the platform by which concepts were imparted, discussions started and skills learned. Yet I was often tempted to discard assignments all together–my skepticism of the traditional notion that ‘art‘ can be administered and skills acquired through the completion of a series of tasks was always creeping in through the side door. A collection of exercises from over 100 contributors (Liam Gillick, Bob Nickas, Harry Roseman, John Baldessari, Mira Schor and Amy Sillman just to name a few) this anthology presents a cross-section of the art assignment and in doing so encapsulates the concepts and pedagogical trends of not only the assignment, but art school itself. With studio programs occupying an increasing complex role and responsibility in the education of artists‘, breaking down these ideas through one of its foundational elements is a perfect entrée into thinking more deeply about what art school actually is. The Art of the Art Assignment is a rich and at times combative look into the practice of artist-teachers and the myriad ways in which they’re approaching their classrooms. It works as both a handbook and voyeuristic window into art education. Teacher or not, grab a copy of this book while you can.

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