Lebenskünstler

Why Relying On Professional Artists Is A Bad Idea – Outsourcing Creativity

Posted in Uncategorized by dilettanteventures on 05/06/2012

from The Outsourced Life – NY Times

The bad news in this case is the capacity of the service market, with all its expertise, to sap self-confidence in our own capacities and those of friends and family. The professional nameologist finds a more auspicious name than we can recall from our family tree. The professional potty trainer does the job better than the bumbling parent or helpful grandparent. Jimmy’s Art Supply sells a better Spanish mission replica kit than your child can build for that school project from paint, glue and a Kleenex box. Our amateur versions of life seem to us all the poorer by comparison. [emphasis mine]

Dana Gioia – Professionalization – The Urgency of Poetry

Posted in Uncategorized by dilettanteventures on 05/03/2012

“Can Poetry Matter?” by Dana Gioia is as relevant for art as poetry and as urgent today as it was in 1991. A must read. Really.

American poetry now belongs to a subculture. No longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life, it has become the specialized occupation of a relatively small and isolated group. Little of the frenetic activity it generates ever reaches outside that closed group. As a class poets are not without cultural status. Like priests in a town of agnostics, they still command a certain residual prestige. But as individual artists they are almost invisible.

…Decades of public and private funding have created a large professional class for the production and reception of new poetry comprising legions of teachers, graduate students, editors, publishers, and administrators. Based mostly in universities, these groups have gradually become the primary audience for contemporary verse. Consequently, the energy of American poetry, which was once directed outward, is now increasingly focused inward. Reputations are made and rewards distributed within the poetry subculture.

Bruce Fleming – Professionalization of Literature

Posted in Uncategorized by dilettanteventures on 12/26/2008

From Bruce Fleming’s “What Ails Literary Studies”:

“We’re not teaching literature, we’re teaching the professional study of literature: What we do is its own subject. Nowadays the academic study of literature has almost nothing to do with the living, breathing world outside. The further along you go in the degree ladder, and the more rarified a college you attend, the less literary studies relates to the world of the reader. The academic study of literature nowadays isn’t, by and large, about how literature can help students come to terms with love, and life, and death, and mistakes, and victories, and pettiness, and nobility of spirit, and the million other things that make us human and fill our lives. It’s, well, academic…That’s how we made a discipline, after all.”

There are some conservative overtones to his piece, but he’s right on the mark with regard to the way professionalization can stifle human experience. I found myself substituting ‘art’ for ‘literary studies,’ but pretty much any disciplinary field is applicable.