April 26, 2004

Congratulations, kids!

Sunday was Graduation Day. 210 eager students with shiny faces and clean clothes (one wearing a beaver costume, another a striped jail suit) crossed the stage to receive degrees in various aspects of artistic discipline. And that is exactly what you need to succeed in art: discipline. And obsession. A disciplined obsession. A personal obsession that becomes bigger than oneself.

The first speaker, the Chair fo the Board of Govenors, addressed the basic insecurity of the profession, saying that artists are the historians of their times, chronicling the cultural nature of society. In the cultural tenor of the times, a comment like that is always appreciated.

Richard Serra, the world renowned sculptor, received an honorary doctorate degree. His work is in major collections internationally. (To loosely paraphrase his brilliant talk) he said that there are infinite ways to make art. There is no map of how to do it. Start with yourself, your own experience. Rely on your own needs, your own hungers, your own instincts. You have to do it yourself. We all have a subject. He ended by saying: “We are all more than we think we are. And today as you graduate, that is the most optimistic thing I can tell you.”

At the end of the validictorian’s speech, he turned to (now Dr.) Serra and congratulated him on his degree, saying he hoped it would open doors for him in the future!

Posted by leya at April 26, 2004 12:30 PM