Summary of the Penal Discussion 5/24 2019 

— Why do we have the panel discussion in the MFA Alumni Show?

To give SAIC graduate class of 2019 from painting and drawing department some ideas or concepts of being new emerging artists. To teach them how to engage in the community.

— What is the degree of Master of Fine Art? What does it mean to be an emerging artist?

Artists don’t always get MFA. This is a recent trend that art connects with academia. Master of Fine Art means you have been trained well enough to be able to do a research and to discover a direction and things that necessary to accomplish the goal as a professional artist. 

To be an artist requires you to invest your time and your efforts to art for a long time. It is a process of accumulating, and an artist who begins an art career is called an emerging artist. During the process, since there is no specific industry for the artists, so you need to show your work to the public, little by little, then you will probably have a chance to show your work in an important museum or art institution. Master of Fine Art Degree will help but not adequate for being an emerging artist.

— The relation between artists and institutions

Since the institutions have power to collect, show and sell art pieces. As an emerging artist, you need to encourage yourself to get involved in the institutions. However, there are channels other than institutions that could reach audience and sell works, therefor, as an emerging artist, you might like to explore more possibilities.  

— The relation between artists and collectors/market

The institutions have their own agendas for art and artist who meets the agenda get selected. It is easier to negotiate with collectors than institutions, because they are individuals, and they have their own tastes.

— The relation between artists and curators

Curators always want to understand your art, but collectors may not do that, same as institutions. So, there is the power struggled with curators and artists.

— The relation between social criteria and academic criteria 

There is no pure review for art, so you have to bring in a mechanism in which create a framework for criticism.

— Could any social group have their own academic criticism?

Yes, they could create some academic sessions, such as seminars, panel discussions and critical writings. 

— The role of curators

The curators have their own tastes to art, so they gather together the work they like and then they show for the public. Ideally, curators have some relationship to the wealth. 

The curators who are attached to the institutions usually have to follow the institutions’ agendas, which means the curators need to be aware of the institutions’ framework, so they can work around it.

The curators can also be the critics, because there are different things that can be accomplished as a curator that cannot be done as a critic, and vice versa. 

— Curators can grant visibility to art. Collectors can allow artists to survive. So, what is the power of artists?

Artists can change the world by making new things which go into the systems. It is artists’ freedom to pursue the things and to prove the things you are pursuing are right. 

To find right audiences and spaces is very important. Artists influence on their consumers or audiences. When you are telling them what your art is about, at the same time they are telling you what they are thinking. 

Sometimes artists might not be able to say what your work is about, but you have to say what the work isn’t about, especially when there is someone telling you what your work is about. 

Additionally, artists also have opportunities to ask right questions to the public, such as artist’s statement. 

— When do artists have their power? Is it when the artists are in the studio creating work not been viewed? Or Is it when the artist’s work with art institutions and they have to come up with agreeable terms they can both work with?

Artist can have freedom, or independence, of the institution. And in this way, they have to balance themselves between two notions of time, the artist’s time and the institution’s time. The first is the time that artists put into their own work and the other is the institutions time; whose framework may not align with the independence of the artistic language. 

The language that you use in your art in order to be institutionalized must make some compromises with the institution so that you can reach a middle ground in which the language you use in your art is not entirely lost in its transition into the institution. In this since the artist has power in the language they use and how much they are willing to compromise that language with the institution. 

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