NONFICTION

Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education

Monacelli. 2014. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781580933667. $46. FINE ARTS
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This feminist artist-author's tangential, personal storytelling often buries important timely, provocative topics that she is clearly passionate about: her pedagogical use of circle discussion, teaching content over technique, and hot topics such as student debt and whether art grads will find art jobs (highly unlikely). Her colloquial tone, with anecdotal and at times distracting segues, prevent the book's cohesion. While organized into eight thematic chapters, the book feels more like a casual memoir than a focused academic piece. It serves to document the author's many higher-ed feminist projects, then (1970s) and now (e.g., partnering with Kutztown University art educators), and this is the strong point. The appendixes will be useful in feminism study as well. The color images are of surprisingly poor quality yet provide supportive documentation and context.
VERDICT Collectors and fans of Chicago's artworks (Dinner Party) and writings (Beyond the Flower) will welcome this strongly charged, feminist-oriented, eclectic narrative; many will need to keep in mind a more balanced, less affected academic discussion on the current state of the arts in higher education curricula.

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