how the phd in art history changed my life - when I blew it off
Post #443 • January 3, 2005, 7:10 AM • 86 Comments
I doubt anyone will moisten their hankies over this, but I have decided once and for all not to pursue a PhD in Art History.
I like to write about art, so I thought of going into a program where I could put that liking to use. Then warning signs began to appear, as if on cue. Goodreads and Modern Kicks began featuring articles about the water-moccasin-filled cesspool that contemporary academe has become, and the people who had added great joy to their lives by refusing it. (Tim, Miguel, if you're reading and have time to throw up some links, I'd gratefully appreciate it.) I consulted with the smart people in my life, who pointed out that critical commentary such as my own will not receive a warm reception among academics (in other words, I am going to politely turn someone's pet theory into a fricassee and spend the rest of my academic career engaged in open warfare). I realized on my own that none of my favorite art writers possess commensurate academic credentials, and I began to suspect that cause, not coincidence, produced that fact.
But besides that, by going through the contemplation, I feel aligned with painting more than ever, and my New Year's resolutions reflect that. Someone else will write the art history. Me, I will do my best to make it.