Q. o’ th’ D.: Dave Hickey

…from an interview with Sarah Douglas.

SD: In a lecture in Michigan not too long ago, you talked about the problems inherent in art education—that it’s not something that can actually be taught. The conundrum of grading, for instance. I think you said that in your class one would earn an A for not turning anything in.

Dave Hickey: Well, I think artists should be proud and too cool for school. I told my students in my last class that I always had my TA grade their papers. They asked why I didn’t read their papers. I asked them how much they would enjoy teaching a swimming class where everybody drowned. So, I’m quitting teaching, too, and saving myself from that sort of desolation. Also, I’m too far away. I’m not competent to critique the work of young artists over whom I have so much leverage and experience. It’s like crop dusting with a 747. Bad for the crop and bad for the plane. This doesn’t mean I’m that much better, just that I’m ‘way older. What do you say about a painting or a story by a kid who hasn’t seen a million paintings or read a million books? Also, nobody cares if it’s good, anymore, and everybody hates it when something’s really great.

Legacy Gear


“Ralph Gibson uses Andreas Feininger’s tray, Abe Frajndlich uses Minor White’s, and John Coplans’ tray is used by Amanda Means. The tradition of darkroom printing carries on, regardless of the arguments surrounding it and its supposed demise.”


I inherited an armload of items from Mrs. D.’s uncle, and I have a precious one-of-a-kind film drying…device… from Eileen Weber. On occasion, when donations to the Huge School darkroom arrive, we see fit to bequeath sundry pieces to diehard devotos who’ll give ’em a good home.

Richard Learoyd used a 19th century lens loaned to him from a portrait camera in Thomas Joshua Cooper’s office at the Glasgow School of Art.


Garry Winogrand’s Leica. http://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm

Somebody has Joel Peter Witkin’s enlarger. http://www.photoeye.com/auctions/citation.cfm?id=1