Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Art School or University
Is it a different MFA?
Electives and classes in both worlds are very different. The approach to getting a degree is different, as well. University programs are entrenched in English departments, whereas art school programs are insular. Problems, concerns, debates, dilemmas?
At the school of the art institute, here in Chicago, we have critiques where the art world comes together and tells you something about your work. It's harrowing, but helpful. I've learned a lot about specificity and form. I didn't think a painter or architect would be able to read that critically, but they take what their experiences have taught them about critiquing in their areas and apply it to your piece.
Some critiques go off the deep end erupting in fisticuffs. Often writers will cry. Often writers...do cry. Some of this seems to go against what you want from a program. You don't want violence, right? Then again, I've heard of editors (Lish) destroying a writer. Maybe it's all preparatory.
Within our writing department there's a lot of firm support after critiques, and stepping out into the art world with your text is only so scary as it can be when you've a great set of writing faculty to fall back on. Anyway, that's my two cents on my side of the MFA, I wonder if Universities expose their writers interdepartmentally?