Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Lie of Useless Degrees

It seems a couple times a year the headline for another article comes out about useless college degrees. Because the thesis is that the potential income is low and therefore, worthless. Because these news outlets need any dribble to fill their content requirements. Enviably someone will write this completely conventional wisdom article based solely on the numbers. Cold hard numbers don't fully paint the whole picture, especially when it comes to the arts programs. The Daily Beast listed 20 and the visual Art was 16th on the list, and followed up by 17th for Fine Art. And this story jumps around different news outlets as if this was an exclusive.
The fact is, the visual art has a great deal of ways to measure success that have little personal economic value, but does create a great deal for the rest of us. Like juried shows, which help sponsor non-profits art establishments. Artists might get a little money for a museum show or might not sell much at a solo show, but the credibility of that artist rises. Someone might write about the artist in a show and this increases the value of the artists work without creating direct immediate monetary value. Also, for a passionate artist, the quality of life and enjoyment a Fine Art or Art degree provides is immersible. Saying that something is worthless and only equating money as the only value shows their lack of understand behind what drive human passions. Money is not the end all and be all of human wants and desires.
Another problem is that many people bring up that only a few rise to great success, so this proves their argument. Then again, why be a politician if your not going to become president. Or why get a job at a big corporation if your chances are so low to become the CEO. This is a non-starter augment, and if you swallow their myth that you will never be successful at art, then go get a mythical job job you can live your life without worries or risks. Being an artist is extremely risky and challenging. More so than the politician or corporate job, because as an artist, you have to be both the means of production, the promoter, and the sales person all role into one. Sure you might get people to help along the way, but the most successful artists are the ones that get it out there to the public and stand behind their work with fervor and conviction. And I would like to see a person become president or CEO after they die. Unlike most jobs, an artist can become successful after death as will as when they are alive.
Another rant on MFA trash talk.

1 comment:

Troy Camplin said...

"You have failed in the market economy, therefore you are a failure."

"But I was never really participating in the market economy. As an artist, I'm in the gift economy."

"You have failed in the market economy, therefore you are a failure."

"You're a leftist, aren't you?"

"Yes. How could you tell?"

"You reduce human beings to nothing but economic actors and commodities. Only leftists do that."

". . ."