Educations Sentimental and Unsentimental: Repositioning the Politics of Art and Education

Malik, Suhail. 2011. Educations Sentimental and Unsentimental: Repositioning the Politics of Art and Education. Redhook: Journal of Curatorial Studies, 1, n/a-n/a. [Article]

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Despite the broad affirmation of education in art - of education and art - the very notion that artists can be unapologetically educated as artists in institutions that specialize in education is frequently met with derision and scorn. Yet, since the mid-2000s, contemporary art has accordingly been preoccupied with questions of education and its formats. What is striking about these debates is that—unlike previous generations who formulated the issues of art education in the immediate and obvious terms of what kind of art school would best serve whatever it was thought that art should be—the recent artistic interests in education now look for education beyond the art school, by literally re-placing the site of art education in noninstitutional settings (reading groups, informally organized discussions, artists’ initiatives, web schools, etc.).

The line taken in this essay is directed against an assumption that better politics—and something like better art—will happen through the formation of spontaneous communities, of common interests coherently realized, of self-authorized informal educational-artistic endeavors that can nimbly surpass the obvious limitations of the lumbering, sclerotic, or congealed requirements imposed by formal education systems.

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This article revises a paper presented at The Taipei Bienalle 2010 (now published in its Reader) condemning both the notion that artists cannot really be taught as artists, and the avowed informality/non-institutionality of power-concentration in the contemporary art system.

The Redhook version shifts the argument’s topic from the problem Doctoral degrees in art present to the existent interests of that system (a form of education avowed by the Taipei Bienalle 2010 at a moment in its development) to the transformation wrought on art by the increasing prominence of curating.


art education, curating, contemporary art, autonomy, democracy,

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Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2012 15:34

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 15:28


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