Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Not Having a Master's Degree

I still don't understand why it is seen as so important or necessary to have a Master's Degree in Art. I totally understand the necessity of it for teaching, but I was recently declined from a couple of places who were direct enough to specifically cite that as a fault. Although I appreciate their forthrightness, I feel that they are losing out (not necessarily on me but on a lot of amazing talent out there in general). And I am annoyed that the lack of a Master's Degree is essentially a stain on my resume despite the fact that I am so active showing otherwise and am involved with a lot of different things.

I do appreciate that it is the institution's prerogative how they determine the appropriateness of their applicants and that they are likely inundated with submissions, but they are missing out on some amazing opportunities by thusly limiting themselves. Some of the best artists I know don't hold art degrees at all and many others who are very savvy businesspeople and amazing artists in their own right don't have their Masters' degrees.

And I find it all the more frustrating because it cycles into itself. I feel that this can further foster some of the same attitudes that alienate the general public. I realize that not all artists are interested in engaging the general populace and that it is not good to generalize what people will be interested in, but I still feel that the more institutionalized art becomes, the less the public is engaged and that the less supportive the public is the harder it will work to cut funding for programs, furthering the cycle of disinterest, apathy and nonsupport.


Colin said...

It's a title you pay for. I feel like I worked as hard as any graduate student would on my new work this summer... maybe I could get an honorary degree. You draw better than a few of the graduate students I've met, actually- much better. And you have some really good conceptual ideas. It's amazing how many people finish art school that can't draw/paint, have nothing to contribute, and some that end up doing nothing.
But yes- the degree will get you a job.

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

I'm not totally against graduate degrees but it seems that so much emphasis is placed on them. I think that in truth the art should speak for itself and that the artist should be judged by their artistic merits first and foremost.