To gain more perspective on the field of fine arts, there is no better resource than the people who are instructing the artists of tomorrow. Howard Rosenthal is a visiting associate professor at the Pratt Institute in New York, and he teaches three graduate level courses, including a graduate sculpture seminar, a graduate new forms seminar and a thesis course. Rosenthal lets us in on what makes the fine arts an exciting graduate study field.
Q: What are your expectations of your graduate students?
A: Students come to our school because they are serious about making art. They are intelligent, creative and passionate about their work. I expect sincerity, experimentation and hard work from our students.
Q: What do you do to expose students to hot research fields/topics?
A: I believe that part of my job is to keep students abreast of current issues in art. We are fortunate at Pratt Institute, in that the largest concentration of contemporary art galleries in the world is just a half hour subway ride away. I regularly take students to galleries, museums and artists’ studios. I also give them newspaper and magazine articles about contemporary art, artists and exhibitions. I try to expose them to the enormous diversity of possibilities in the world of art and the great speed at which that world is evolving.
Q: How much of a resource is the Internet and other technologies?
A: The Internet and other technologies are extremely important to contemporary art, both as a means of exchanging information about art and as a means of making art. One of the most challenging aspects of contemporary art is keeping abreast of new technologies. One of the most rewarding aspects of contemporary art is keeping abreast of new ideas.
Q: What are the international contexts of your discipline?
A: The art world has become global. International art fairs have proliferated, providing a vastly greater number of venues for artists to present their work to a broader public, and for the public to view a much greater variety of art.
Q: What do you see as the future of the discipline?
A: One of the characteristics of our time is that there is no one predominant style of art. Artists are freer than ever before to pursue their own vision and ideas. And art students need to develop their vision and ideas while learning the history of art and understanding contemporary art. We are living in a very exciting time.
Q: What is rewarding about the field of fine arts?
A: I have always been rewarded and I am always thrilled to watch them grow into mature artists.