Episode 103: Carol Becker

August 19, 2007 · Print This Article


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Duncan and Terri talk to Carol Becker about the School of the Art Institute, the future of arts education, and her new position at Columbia University.


Dean of Faculty and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She is the author of numerous articles and several books with many foreign editors. Her book publications include: The Invisible Drama: Women and The Anxiety of Change; The Subversive Imagination: Artists, Society, and Social Responsibility; Zones of Contention: Essays on Art, Institutions, Gender, and Anxiety; and most recently, Surpassing the Spectacle: Global Transformations and the Changing Politics of Art.

Prelude to published interview taken from the book, Conversations Before the End of Time by Suzi Gablik.
“In 1994, Carol Becker was appointed dean and vice-president for academic affairs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, having been a former chair of the graduate division before that. She received her Ph.D. in literature at the University of San Diego, where she was a protégé of Herbert Marcuse. A lecturer in women’s studies since the late 1960s, and a writer on psychoanalytic theory and cultural politics, she has been mulling over the obsolete attitudes and strategies of the art world for a long time, particularly the issue of the artist’s responsibility to society, which she claims is a sensitive issue that makes everyone uncomfortable, defensive and insecure. Becker feels that many artists simply refuse to address the issue at all. Artists often choose rebellion, which alienates them from their audience, and then become angry at the degree to which they are unappreciated. In part this is a consequence of the way we educate students in art schools, envisioning the artist as a marginalized and romantic figure who, she claims, operates “out of what Freud calls the Pleasure Principle while the rest of us struggle within the Reality Principle.” Students need to think about their work, she feels, not in isolation, but in relationship to the public and to an audience that has not been addressed in art school pedagogical situations. American art students, like most American college students, Becker claims, have not been trained to think globally or politically about their position in society. In a sense, art has seceded from American culture so completely that it has lost its effectiveness and become a subsidized bureaucracy of self-serving specialists.”

Stranger than Fiction
Will Farrell
Emma Thompson
Dustin Hoffman
Queen Latifah
The Regular Guy
Groundhog Day
Diet Coke Plus
Carol Becker
Columbia University School of the Arts
Venice Biennale
School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Corcoran Gallery of Art/College of Art and Design
Jeff Wall
Rodney Graham
Stan Douglas
Gregg Bordowitz
Zones of Contention
United Farm Workers
Robert Storr
Paul Elitzik
F News
Lisa Wainwright
Jim Yood
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Orhan Pamuk
Patrick Rivers
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode103-Carol_Becker.mp3

44 thoughts on “Episode 103: Carol Becker”

  1. Anne Onymous says:

    Great show, loved the interview with Ms. Becker. I do have a question though is Mike off of his meds?

  2. Terri says:

    Oh My Fucking God. Mike was so funny. I can’t believe it. I love Mike.

  3. Richard says:

    I also think Mike is hilarious but I forgot about some of the contents of his review when I posted this and I think I need to change the rating to Explicit from Clean.

  4. Balzac says:

    I thought that the entire Bad at Sports crew is off of their meds.

    That is the charm of the show.

  5. Yeah Mike! Yeah Mike!

  6. Lekrunk says:

    That was the best intro ever.

  7. Richard says:

    (Richard Bows) Thanks!!!

    I chuckled to myself for half an hour over going from Marcel Duchamp into the Logical song by a certain overproduced 70s band to introduce the Dean of SAIC’s show, and Duncan and I recorded like 4 intros in a row that day and were getting progressively more stupid.

  8. Incredulous says:

    wow, did Carol Becker say that there are no politics at SAIC?!?!? That everyone in her office loves one another??!?!!? holy crapoly that is some bulljive.

  9. bee ay el zee ay cee says:

    My eyebrows went up at this statement as well. I got the impression she was trying hard to make nicey nicey and say all good things about SAIC, classy but dubious.

  10. Richard says:

    What professional in a field as small as art ed is going to shit talk their employer and school even if there is something nasty to say.

  11. Scott Speh says:

    Richard — you are SO “logical”

  12. Richard says:

    Thanks Scott!

  13. That Diet Coke with vitamins stuff is indeed odd, but brilliant. I no longer fall asleep during Hello Beautiful.

  14. canada. says:

    Dude. Is that RUSH again? Let it go. Seriously, time for the Tragically Hip.


    PS. We have had enough. Canadian rock is bigger then Getty Lee.

  15. Richard says:

    It is not. Quit lying.

    AND even with the new format everyone falls asleep during Hello Beautiful. I record it so that I can play it during bouts of insomnia.

  16. Richard says:

    And I think Supertramp is Dutch.

    Canadian bastard.

  17. They won’t prescribe meds for me. They say my problems are psychological, not psychiatric. It’s fucking bogus.

  18. And to anyone who loves me or claims he or she loves me, I love you back.

  19. Bennedetto– have you seen the ‘Propisition’?– I gots to know

  20. Ball Zack says:

    They are ever so clearly psychiatric, and Duncan preferring the tragically hip to rush proves that he too needs meds.

    Keep the Rush coming BAS.

  21. Tony! My man! I have seen The Proposition several times and have spent like an hour pausing, rewinding & slow-stepping through the part where the Aborigine gets half of his head shot off. Now THAT was a Quality Kill! And to take a trip down BAS memory lane, it was the very first film I reviewed for this fine show.

    Chekkit! http://badatsports.com/blog/2006/episode-59-lisa-boyle-reviews/

    Ah sweet memories…

  22. Ball Zack says:

    Memories like the corners of Mike’s mind…..

  23. Mike–I also like ‘Rome’, the HBO thing– stabbing and fucking and stabbing and fucking– with some primo quality kills….

  24. Cool! I’ll check it out. I’ll have to rent– no cable. How bout “Deadwood?”

  25. Deadwood is magnificent– more layered than Dickens and lyricly vulgar– baroque language with the word ‘cocksucker’ in almost every conversation– one of the greatest things they’ve ever put on television.

  26. Richard says:

    You and Tony should do a review together.

    Review something huge like the Godfather series or the Cremaster films.

  27. Great interview people!Thanks!

  28. Great interview people! Thanks!

  29. tony fitzpatrick says:

    I’d love to… the Cremaster films, I’m still trying to figure out if I like them or not– Barney certainly crafts beautiful images — but to what filmic end?… plus they are really kind of boring…

  30. Richard says:

    I love them

    I hate them

  31. I think Barney is our contemporary Jean-Léon Gérôme — exquisitelly crafted manneristic blather.

    I’d like to hear Tony and Mike review ANYTHING — I’m sure even if I hate the thing they talk about (or even if THEY hate it too), that I’ll love their discussion and comments.

  32. To review the Cremaster films I would have to see them again. Instead of that, though, I’ll opt to have molten cheese poured into my tear ducts.

    But hey- I’d be honored to co-review w/ the esteemed Mr. Fitzpatrick.

    Tony? Godfather movies (not including 3)? Something else? Let’s talk!

  33. Richard says:

    1) Even better. Howabout reviewing Tony’s performances in films with Tony!!!

    2) Mike, Sarah wanted me to tell you that you should listen to George Michael’s Father Figure if you want a really creepy incest based thing to rant about.

    3) If we pour molten cheese into your tear ducts can we videotape it for the site?

  34. tony fitzpatrick says:

    Mike call me– 773 342 5381– I just watched the ‘Godfather’s’ again and it was a revelation to see DeNiro and Pacino BEFORE they let all of the salami into their craft — the restrained Pacino was a lesson in what a certain stillness can do for an actor– he was infinitely more compelling when he did less DeNiro– the same way– back then ; Directors could ask actors for restraint and get it– now– the director seems to have less authority with actors — especially when they are stars…. also — 2 of my favorite ‘quality kills ‘ are in the first Godfather– when Virgil’the Turk’ Sollozzo and Sterling ‘Try the Veal’ Hayden get plugged– well– it makes my heart sing…

  35. tony fitzpatrick says:

    When Sterling Hayden gets shot in the throat, while he’s trying to swallow that veal…. that has to suck…

  36. Ok, now. Look here. I don’t really want to hear a creepy incest song or get hot dairy poured in my eye. Sorry for the confusion. (Thanks, though Sarah).

    Tony, I’ll call ya. I’m very much looking forward to this review. BAS fans… hold onto your hats! Or mitts on your heads, whatever.

    Richard- can we get approval for a few more bonus seconds for this one?

  37. Tony! Gracias para tu nombre! We will call you!


  38. tony fitzpatrick says:

    Mike…. if you call and get voicemail… it means I’m on the other line sweet-talking the bar full of latin crossdressers…just leave a message…

  39. Oh yeah, and thanks for saying thanks to us all and for wondering where I was. And most of all, for complimenting Steve Hamann, who is indeed a great artist cartoonist. Wait’ll ya see what we are collaborating on.

  40. Steve Hamann says:

    Thanks for the compliment. Mark et all.

    I’ve been lurking in the shadows. I’ll try to get another cartoon review up on the blog in the future, in addition to Mark and my’s Super Secret Collab. Although no one can hold a candle to MB Super Reviewer.

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