Why shouldn’t I get an MFA? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m getting an MFA, and my professor puts a canvas on my desk, something nobody else can paint. Maybe I take a shot at it, maybe I paint it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I painted it well with a mop. But maybe painting is an antiquated medium, and I should have filmed myself destroying said canvas blindfolded instead. Once my peers hear about this, they let me have it in critique, and fifteen people I barely met, never had no problem with, kill it in the comments on my Instagram.
Now my thesis committee is sayin’, “Oh, send in the donors, they’ll love this huge drippy abstract painting” ‘cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid getting into massive student debt. Just like it wasn’t them when they wisely chose a Business degree over Art. It’ll be some kid from Northampton with a naïve and financially untenable dream takin’ “constructive criticism” in the ass.
He graduates to find that the professor he was TA for got canceled for focusing too much on tits, and now works mixing paint at Lowe’s. And the local critic who destroyed his last solo show joined the faculty in Critical Theory cause he’ll work for 150K a year and a sweet severance. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he taught painting in the first place was to uphold socioeconomic class division through a discipline in which critics and competing artists claw at each other in an esoteric art market that ultimately benefits collectors as they make millions off these otherwise intangible and aesthetically suspect investments.
And, of course, the galleries use the skirmish over there to jack up prices, a cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my ruined professor at $15 bucks an hour. The university is takin’ their sweet time mailing him his personal belongings, of course, maybe they even took the liberty of getting an intern who likes to get high and fuckin’ play Marina Abramovic at the desk, and it ain’t too long ’til she gets hypnotized and spills kombucha all over his grant application.
So now my buddy’s working minimum wage at Lowe’s, and he can’t afford his studio in the East Hamptons anymore, which sucks ‘cause since his last review he’s gotten chronic depression. And meanwhile, he’s crying’, ‘cause every time he tries to enter a regional juried show, the only thing his former colleagues are thinkin’ is his misogynist yet hyper-realist tit paintings.
So what do I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it, why not just ruin my professor with a hit piece, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, transfer to Critical Theory, announce the death of painting in an op-ed in Artforum, and sleep with the intern? I could graduate cum laude.