“The priest departs, the divine artist arrives.” – Walt Whitman. Anyone who aspires to make new things must be open to ideas that challenge traditional notions of being and thinking. In this proseminar , we will examine the ways in which different artists have approached the challenges they face and evolved methods to guide their aesthetic lives. Paul Valery expresses the belief that “The work of art is never completed, but merely abandoned.” This would suggest that the artistic life is an ongoing process of constant flux and discovery. How has the notion of the artist evolved in the 21st century? What are the cultural impediments to breaking new ground? In what ways does an artist formulate and exercise an ethical relationship with the intended—and accidental--audience? And what possible roadmaps do we find in such thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Alain Locke, Friedrich Nietzsche, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, Lionel Trilling and Ngugi Wa Thing’o? Students will examine these questions through class discussions and through workshop and critique sessions, and consider how they might intersect with and influence their own creative work.
Graduate Core (CORE-GG)