Welcome Mat #2

Posted by on Apr 20, 2009 in The Chicken Wire


We would like to welcome the faculty of the following six schools whom we invited to participate in the art survey (click here).

Yale University
California Institute of the Arts
Maryland Institute College of Art
University of Alaska – Fairbanks
University of New Orleans
William Patterson University of New Jersey

These 6 schools were chosen from U.S. News and World Report College Ranking list for fine art. 3 are found within the top 10 and 3 were selected from the bottom 20, we spaced our selections as best we could across the country in an effort, with a limited number, to represent the greatest level of diversity.  If you are visiting Globatron as one of the faculty members we contacted, Welcome!  Feel free to post your survey or dive into the discussion, as we at Globatron have attempted to build a place for lively dialogue concerning the role of art in the 21st century.  If you are a Globatron fan, feel free to respond to the surveys, or fill it out yourself, would love to hear your ideas.

This art project has been dedicated to The Wire’s David Simon.



  1. Erwin Hauer
    April 20, 2009

    Dear Sir,

    thank you for contacting me with your questions. I regret, however, that I won’t answer any of them. Some of the reasons are, for one, that I have retired from teaching nineteen years ago. Another reason is that art, as it is defined and redefined almost on an annual basis in New York, this art does not interest me in the least. I consider myself a designer, and that is a different kettle of fish. The answer to your question “what is art” can only be answered by a major essay, if at all, and I don’t have the time, nor the interest, to re-visit such a slippery issue.

    I hope you will find somebody else who is more cooperative than I am able to be.


    Erwin Hauer

  2. globatron
    April 23, 2009

    Our theory is that all of the professors we sent the invite to are out of town on Spring Break vacation or are actively engaged in drafting a reply to our letter and will be submitting their answers as soon as possible.

    We truly attempted to make the letter as welcoming and inviting as possible and had hoped for more feedback considering the last letters response was received so harshly.

    If anyone has any thoughts on how to continue, if there are indeed no further responses, we’re all ears.

  3. Akbar Lightning
    April 23, 2009

    I checked into it. They are not on spring break. With an email campaign of almost 100 professors, we have received only one, from a retired professor, who was merely polite enough to let us know he would not respond.

    I find this mind-blowing, but ‘no answer’ is an answer. Let me tell you what this says to art students all over the country. After you graduate you are on your own, don’t think that your art degree gives you access to a community, it merely gives you your gambling papers, and puts you up to the poker table already in debt to the dealer.

    Of course, there might be a few professors, who are laboring away on their answers to our admittedly difficult survey, and their arrival will legitimate the delay, but it seems likely we will not be getting any responses, and I think that is because a lot of those questions have no good answers, no answers they can live with.

    Globatron and Akbar Lightning will be taking the survey ourselves soon. And after that we are going to pick six more schools, and do another round of the Welcome Mat. There must be some art professors out there who have something to profess, something burning so hot inside of them that they will take any opportunity to share with a hungry creative audience. There must be.

    Akbar Lightning

    p.s. – George Bush is a graduate of Yale, that is one of their legacies. In my opinion the day he graduated from Yale University the term ‘Ivy League’ ceased to have any real meaning. (please imbed pic of this great shoe dodger)

  4. Kelly H
    May 6, 2009

    No offense, but they are probably just busy.

  5. Globatron
    May 6, 2009

    I wish it was that easy. And no offense, but who isn’t busy Kelly? This is the second time we’ve sent this out and we’re not giving up. Someone out there should be willing to answer the survey.

    I can’t imagine over 100 people just being busy as an excuse that holds water.

  6. Akbar Lightning
    May 6, 2009

    yeah Kelly, you might be right, but question is, how would you know?

    being too busy to reach out to fellow artists in the community, that in itself is a statement about academia.

  7. Kelly H
    May 6, 2009

    Well, as somebody who is a perpetual student and also has been employed by universities, I know that professors are on the whole a group of people who are overworked and underpaid.

    Plus, it’s the end of the semester for many profs, which means working overtime to meet deadlines.

    Plus, most universities nationwide–public and private, and especially art and creative departments–are facing constant threats of large-scale downsizing and budget cuts. So I’d be willing to wager that they have a lot on their minds.

    I know it’s a large group of people, but I at least would like to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point. Plus, it’s not a random group of people–it’s educators. I just think it’s inappropriate to criticize them at this point. If you want to have a conversation with people like this, it’s easier to attend a conference–where they’ll actually have some time and a good forum to discuss things with you. Or see if any of them have blogs where you could engage in conversation virtually. There may be a better way than sending a seemingly random, unsolicited, and quite wordy email and then criticizing them when they don’t get back to you.

    If you want to generalize, getting someone busy to talk to you is sort of like applying for ea job. You have to be persistent, and you have to do things on their terms at first before they’ll be willing to do things on yours.

  8. globatron
    May 6, 2009


    I hear you and I do understand your defense of their being very busy, undervalued and underpaid. Also I hear you on them having a lot on their minds but I must remind you that everyone is very busy, raising children, many fighting diseases, and worrying about their job security at this point in history.

    And yet we are still able to comment and ask questions and not hide behind some false blanket of my job is more important than yours so I don’t have to answer your questions, or that I’m really too busy.

    We have been persistent and this project is not over. We do appreciate your input but as I see it the too busy excuse is not an excuse but an answer to the project.

    If an art professor can’t answer questions about art then I don’t know who to ask. If someone was to write me a welcoming email asking questions about what I do for a living I’d happily answer it within a couple of days and I live under the gun as far as deadlines with budgets much larger than most art professors deal with. But that’s just me.

  9. Kelly H
    May 6, 2009

    I’d also like to point out that some of your questions have the potential to get profs in trouble with their bosses, unfortunately. Universities (and the art world, and the whole world) are pretty clique-y and incestuous. Many profs may be worried about how their answers could impact their professional lives.

    Don’t forget that creating any document that is intended to be public (even in a comment such as this) creates a potential risk, creates a public record of something you have written. This public record can be judged by any person who has access to the internet, for better or for worse. Many professionals don’t like being quoted out of context for the same reasons that many professors may be wary of responding publicly to your questions.

    Why not ask students? They are the future of art (at least part of the future of art) and probably more willing to engage in discussion as they presently have less at stake in their careers and more time on their hands.

    Or appeal directly to artists and gallery owners. I’d be interested in seeing how local artists/galleries answer your questions, and as “Globatron” is a recognized name among some artists in Jacksonville, you might have a better chance of getting the answers you’re seeking.

  10. globatron
    May 6, 2009

    Yes indeed. We have taken much of what you are stating into consideration. We understand the implications of answering these questions and how it could impact one’s career. That’s all part of the project.

    We do have a couple of ideas for the future of this project and how it is to progress. We really do appreciate you taking the time to interject your opinion. Thank you for that. As for “Globatron” being a recognized name locally I think that depends on who you are speaking to as the last time I checked this project had ostracized Globatron from much of the local art community. I’d recommend reading the first three Featured posts at the top right if you haven’t gotten the back story. It’s quite a soap opera. One of which we’ve tried to stay out of as of late.

    But we will continue this project until we get some answers even if it does mean changing our tactics as you suggested. We do have a couple of angles we are pursuing.

  11. Akbar Lightning
    May 7, 2009

    Money, money, fear, bosses, profession, careers, money, fears, profession, risks, public, context, trouble.


    if artists cannot be free to speak their mind, then we are in dire shape.

    the academy was built as a safe haven for free-thinking, not as a factory, a machine demanding obedience and labor. but that is what it has become. we are all being absorbed by a machine consciousness. every time we are on the phone with a human being telling us ‘i know it’s not fair, but i cannot change the computer’, we are submitting to a machine’s laws, the laws of increasing levels of labor and stress, with decreasing rewards.

    perhaps it is regressive for artists to be interested in big questions, with the law, with truth, but then again at least they were free from concerns about career, they had BALLS!, even the girls, they had the guts to confront reality with their flawed theories. that is humanity at its best. we need that again, we need to resuscitate that spirit, before we surrender completely to the kind of relativism where even the individual does not exist, has no opinions even about his/her own rights. i think that has already happened.

    did we fight for hundreds of years, as artists, for creative freedom, did we fight against conservative approaches to art, conservative approaches to life, did we fight against tradition and expectations for this? for a commodification of that very thing we love the most, art? right when we had absolute freedom to explore anything as artists, did we turn it into a machine to make slaves out of young peoples’ dreams? is that progress?

    i don’t buy it.


  12. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!!!! | Globatron.org
    May 8, 2009

    […] via Akbar. […]


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