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.

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