Monday, February 12, 2007

Art School Confidential

Sarah and I watched this movie the other night. Sarah's reaction was "eh" but enjoyed it. It's probably because I attended art school and I recognized so many things about it to be true.
The movie focuses on Jerome, a budding young artist of considerable talent. His renderings of people and figures are very good. After high school, Jerome enters the world of art school and his perceptions of art and all that go with that are shattered.
There are so many scenes in this film that ring true of my experiences in art's hard to revisit them all here. One scene, in which the students put their work up for critique, is funny and acurate. They have been given the assignment of a self-portrait. Jerome's is a well executed academic portrait in charcoal. Another student has done a version that looks like crosshatching by a blind person. Many students in the class focus on the crosshatch version and how much they like it. Jerome's disgust is finally picked up on by the teacher (played by John Malkovich) and he asks for a comment. Jerome says it looks like a bad Cy Twombly knock-off. It's at this point the girl who did it begins to cry.
I have never seen anyone cry during a critique (although I have seen someone cry during a boring esoteric lecture) but I have seen a fist fight. One of my professors told a guy in our class that he had no business pursuing a career in art because he had no talent. The guy protested saying it didn't matter because it was the profs job to teach him. Words were exchanged, shoving began and before we knew it, the fists started flying. Yikes! Talk about uncomfortable.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that artists are a breed unto themselves. I could tell countless stories of odd behavior from artistic folk. This movie, even though it's not the greatest film, reveals some of the weirdness that is art school. It sent me back in my memories to some fun, if not weird, times. Perhaps I'll share some stories with you all when I get the chance.

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