Art School Confidential
Art or Idiocy? staff reporter E. Wenzel reporting
Via a blog, there is a link to another blog. Wait, hang in there. That links to a preview for Art School Confidential. On the Cusp, a blog from Indianapolis, reported it last Tuesday.
You can see the preview here.
This movie has seemingly been in the works for ages. I first heard of it when I myself wasin art school back a few years ago. In case you don’t know, Art School Confidentialit is the product of Dan Clowes and Terry Zwigoff. Clowes being an alternative com(x/cs) artist (that is a mouthful) who brought us Ghost World, as well as Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron. (A graphic novel which seems to be destined for David Lynch to adapt.) Clowes is part of the comic art royalty that Chris Ware belongs to, both coming out of Chicago around the same time. But Clowes is much better at crafting engagning stories and doesn’t make you follow along through needlessly complex diagrams. Is there self loathing? Sure, but Clowes is able to do a critical thing that will forever hold Ware back: He can create characters that aren’t thinly vailed self portraits of hatred and pity. Maybe it is just that legions of kids don't go around professing zealot-like devotion to Clowes' godhood that makes me like his work more.
Clowes and Zwigoff teamed up for Ghost World. This makes sense, as Zwigoff made it big with the documentary on the father of alternative comics, Robert Crumb. Ghost World earned an Academy nomination for best adaptation, but lost out to A Beautiful Mind because the Academy can only remember one thing at a time. And they are all a bunch of useless smelly twats anyway.
Art School Confidential is based on a four page story Clowes did of the same name in his sporadically published Eightball comic. So, it is only loosely based on the story. Also, since some of the gags were used in Ghost World. Clowes himself went to art school, Pratt. In the original comic we see a down and out graduate flipping burgers with a Pratt degree displayed behind him.
This should be interesting and at least entertaining. Especially with John Malkovich as a lead. The bit where the kid (whose gone to school to be the "Greatest Artist of the 20th Century") asks Malkovich “so how long have you been painting triangles?” is so spot on. (Why is it that triangles are the perfect symbol of abstract art?) “I was one of the first,” he replies, in his trademark voice.
Based on the preview it shows promise, but also most likely has the pitfalls of ignorant generalizations of art. Then again, art students almost exclusively focus on ignorant generalizations of art. And how can anyone who’s gone to art school not see this movie?
From Art School Confidential by Daniel Clowes
At first I was a little upset, like art school was my place. It's not like another college football movie, this is serious! I guess I am not so bothered by a Hollywood pic about this subject anymore. I am more secure as an artist and in myself. Imagine, though, all the students in art school now, or all the teenagers in high school who will see it. I wonder if it will be better or worse than seeing Basquiat before “deciding to be artist.”
But that is the whole thing, right, who “decides” to be an artist? Not to sound so romantic, but art is not a decision, it is a necessity. And if you have decided to be an artist, it probably won’t work out. You’ll probably slouch through school worrying more about how you look than fussing over ideas. And when you are done you will be really bitter. And you'll spend a number of years honing a religious-like devotion to disavowing art school. Never once considering that you could have called it quits, that you could have dropped out. Or that it was inane to assume it will all be handed to you. And that if only the teachers and the institution were better, you’d be a successful artist by now. (That was all an open letter to art students, past present and future).
I personally liked art school a lot. It was everything I wanted: a place and time to devote to the study and practice of what I am wholly interested in. And an environment to meet others like me, to build relationships and connections. And network, oh how we networked. The only draw backs were the kids who dressed like artists, made bad, vaguely Abstract Expressionist paintings, and talked in irony. The beautiful irony being, of course, that Ab Ex is so “lame” and so “out” in the artworld in-crowd of Artforum. And that any ironic hipster should know that, since sincerity is “finished," Ab Ex has no place.
What untold secrets will Art School Confidential reveal? Will it set of an art school craze? Bigger than the one now? Well, there’s always grad school.
L I N K S
• The official ASC website, including hilaiously accurate student work
• Fantagraphics Blog
if you scroll down has some productioni stills. And apparently there once was a great pin up artist named Wenzel...
• Interview with Clowes about Art School Confidential