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last updated 6/14/11
Panel for 2011 SECAC Conference (Savannah)
chaired by Brian Curtis, Associate Professor, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
November 11, 2011

Panel participants:
Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University
Chad Airhart, Carson-Newman College
Peter Kaniaris, Anderson University
Franklin Einspruch Independent Artist, Art Writer

After reading two recently published collections of essays, "Art School:Propositions for the 21st Century" and "Rethinking the Contemporary Art School: The Artist, the Ph.D and the Academy," I came away with the distinct impression that the highly visible proponents of a language based, post-studio, post-Duchampian, post-retinal, post-object model of contemporary practice that valorizes digital technology, collaboration, social process, topicality, and discursivity are unashamedly radicalizing the nature of art and in a manner that encourages the elimination of traditional aesthetics and media driven, hands-on studio training. On the other end of the philosophical spectrum we find Denis Dutton in his recent book, “The Art Instinct,” arguing from a Darwinian perspective that humans have evolved with an innate predisposition, embedded deep within our minds and inherited from our most ancient ancestors, to value and crave mega-wallops of direct intuitive sensory pleasure from our experiences of performances or objects that require specialized skill in their making, require a decoupling from practical concerns, logic, and rational understanding, while acknowledging their place in the long-standing traditions of art. Can both of these positions be equally valid? Is there a common ground where both Duchamp’s legacy and Dutton’s application of Darwin’s theory can co-exist?

Chad Wesley Airhart, Ph. D. - Carson-Newman College
Peter J. Kaniaris, MFA - Anderson University
Franklin Einspruch, MFA - Independent Artist, Art Writer