"On Performing the Critical" is an essay on race and critical discourse in MFA education. It appears in Beyond Critique: Contemporary Art in Theory, Practice, and Instruction, edited by Roger Rothman and Pamela Fraser (Bloomsbury, 2017).
Abstract: With the proliferation of masters and doctoral degrees in the fine arts, critique as a defining pedagogical module has become a naturalized mode of transaction and performance. The production of more art degrees and artists has resulted in an impoverished notion of critique that fails to uphold a self-critical stance towards a radical repositioning of its own inequalities within. Unfortunately, art schools neither adequately address nor sufficiently prepare students for the asymmetrical relations of power and social hierarchies of the art industry, let alone of the art school itself. With more artists being produced as subjects of and through critique than ever before, we might ask what is being replicated in the name of critique. How are art schools reflective of uneven relations of power and discourse and how are they productive of them? What is urgent for art and art education in this current moment and in what ways might we imagine critique differently? How might a reengagement with critique engender new possibilities from fraught locations?