Originally published in Artlog. ◊◊

Unfortunately (or fortunately), we can’t all afford to go to art school. But now there’s a much cheaper way to learn from the likes of John Baldessari or Liam Gillick. Brooklyn-based contemporary art journal Paper Monument (sister publication of literary magazine n + 1) has released Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment, which shows that the studio classroom isn’t the only place to receive an art education.

The volume is a testimonial to both learning and teaching a subject that easily escapes verbalization. Honing in on the intricacies of the art assignment, the book’s editors convinced dozens of artists to submit candid accounts of their most memorable classroom experiences. The resulting eighty-nine entries are as much a lateral view of art education in the past half-century as a demonstration of how difficult it can be to teach.

The entries in the book are anecdotal, abstractly theoretical, and sometimes instructional, ranging from drawings to poetic quasi-verse. They ultimately seem to agree that failing to complete an assignment is often as important as completing one. As the editors note in their afterword, we often prize art for its anomalous quality, as “a creative misunderstanding of the rules of a particular game.”

Images courtesy of n+1.