Last night, I was excited to attend an Art History lecture — yes, I get excited about lectures — at an unnamed gallery, by an unnamed well-known, published professor from an Ivy League University. I had never heard this professor speak before, but knowing his background made me confident that I was in for a night of education and enlightenment.
If you have visited this site before, it is fairly obvious that I have a passion for art and its history. This love comes from amazing professors whose teaching style opened the art world up to me in a unique and fascinating way. Having had a series of teachers whose education style melded perfectly with the way I learn, I expected nothing less from the Ivy League Professor that I was paying too see for fun.
Oh, how wrong I was...
Standing in front of a room full of people of all ages, backgrounds, and knowledge, this professor gave a presentation the seemed to be the seventh class in a semester of an advanced Art History program. In other words, it went way over pretty much EVERYONE'S head (mine included, and it was my minor in University!).
He gave zero context for the era of art he was talking about giving his 'earth-shattering' conclusions absolutely no weight and, the WORST part was that he seemed to use every 7-letter word known to man-kind simply for the sake of it. (Instead of simply saying 'people' he would say 'constituents'... SO unnecessary).
At the end of the presentation, during the question period, there were many people specifically asking for context and clarification, and he seemed unable to articulate anything that made ANY sense or did anything but confuse. The questions themselves (posed by people who clearly had an extensive background in art history) gave me more information on the topic then the presentation itself did.
I left feeling a bit listless. It wasn't the lost admission fee that bothered me, I was feeling let down by the academic system in general. How could someone So smart be SO incapable of teaching?
If the first experience that people have with art and its history is from people like that, no wonder they hate it!