Art and fear

Chris Corrigan links to a review of the book Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, from which comes the following quote:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality,” however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Hehehe, I looooove that. And here’s another thought: I think art and work are approaching each other, or rather, I think that the way we work is coming more and more to resemble the way we produce art. Work used to be about producing something, and of course it still is, but increasingly work is also about self-expression and creating meaning for yourself and others, as in art.

This book is going in my shopping basket.

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