Thierry de Duve

I enjoyed the masterclass with Thierry de Duve at the national Art School in Sydney yesterday.
ANU and the National Art School got his tick of approval when our teaching methods combining theory, practice and history in formative combined units matched his description of ideal artist education. We thought this was normal practice but discovered many universities have a theory only model so a conceptual/installation approach often results. Studio skill based teaching is now old fashioned, the traditional master/apprentice model has become rarefied indeed. De Duve’s interest is in revisiting Kant’s philosophy and I am looking forward to reading his book ‘Kant after Duchamp’1996. He found many of the installations in the Sydney biennale so bad they could hardly be called art, and this is coming from a theorist who recognizes today’s inclusive condition that anything can be art which he calls ‘art in general’. I have been reading Donald Kuspitt’s The End of Art which is a great book, he is an engaging writer, and I enjoy his critical approach to this idea of anything goes. From the entropy of Modern Art to the daily life banality of postart, I also borrowed his rebirth of painting as a pick me up. De Duve, in contrast to his assessment of the biennale, loved the Indigenous Triennial at the NGA, which I am looking forward to. He was particularly impressed by Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori and asked Roger Butler if she had seen the work of European modernists, which she of course had not. I explained that there is also grounds for considering indigenous modernism, and multiple modernisms occurring around the world in different cultures at different times. De Duve was agreeable to the idea and I can thank my supervisor Nigel Lendon for this idea shared by Ian McLean and his persistent debate concerning this phenomena in indigenous Australia.

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