Why Go To Yale? – Not That I Think This Is Good News

Posted: June 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

Click image to read article.


  1. Valeria Jimenez says:

    That’s so heartbreaking. We need more representation and supportive institutions that do not push away talented and passionate students of color into these types of industries, especially Latino/a students since they are the most underrepresented population group. We also need to be more inclusive in the way we teach and practice art.

    Thanks for sharing this, Brian! I appreciate the blog so much!

    • I appreciate your appreciation. I’m also glad Nick bringing it up it in class as being surprising and helpful.

      As for your remarks, I’m glad you mention institutions and not simply universities. I would be very surprised if Yale was not making very deliberate strides towards created a more diversified student and faculty body, and trying to offer more diversified learning opportunities. However, the art world is something very different. If there’s anything that’s even more elitist than an Ivy League university, it is the New York art world, where a single canvas for a recent artist (in this case, an African American) can sell for as much as $110 million. You must know by now I love art, but such prices are not just artificial; they are absurd, obscene.

      For the record though, it’s not just the art world that behaves this way. The world of music, and musical instruments works the same way. It might be interesting to know that all the top violinists on stage today are playing instruments made in a single city in Italy, during the very era we are currently studying.


      I would even venture to say that this same kind of localism and elitism predominates in the sciences. Hobbes may have been getting at this very point in his continual attacks on Boyle and the Royal Society.

  2. A. Anderson says:

    This sort of thing is typical today, yet nobody can be held accountable for it… At the same time, however, it feels counterproductive to accuse everyone of being racist.

  3. Jordan Franchina says:

    While the numbers do seem drastic, the article does point out general population statistics. White people make up 64% of the general population and make up 88% of the galleries. While a 24% increase is still a dramatic (and uncomfortably high) statistic, we would still expect a high representative of white art in galleries (~64%) if represented equally, because more than half of the population is white. I’m not defending these practices, but even if everyone was represented equally based on population, the numbers would still seem too high for some people.

    • It’s perfectly fair to discuss race here, as that’s the primary topic of the study. However, my point, as the title of the post and the pink arrow indicate, was the outlandishly high percentage of emerging artists who come from Yale. In a nation of approximately 2500 four-year institutions of higher learning, a full 20% of exhibiting and succeeding artists come from a single school. I won’t even begin to try to discusses causes and consequences here. I will only say one can’t help but be struck by the statistic. Also, one can only imagine that this situation is hardly unique to the art world. Clearly, we should expect to find similar statistics in the sciences, the humanities, legal and medical studies, etc.

      • Jordan Franchina says:

        You’re absolutely right. I was shocked, especially when considering how many 4-year secondary education institutions we have. I’m curious to see what system reformations they will come up with to help rectify this imbalance. Or if they do at all.

        • Individual universities can and do try create more representative ratios in their student body and faculty. The University of Utah, particularly Honors, has made a real effort to correct imbalances. Still, this is no easy matter to achieve, as a quick look around most classrooms will reveal. The art world and market feels no such pressure, however, I would argue. There, the only things that seems to matter is money, though financial interests can be disguised, however thinly, in any number ways. When we talk about systematic problems and reforms, we must think of something that goes far beyond administrative mandates, as administrations are part of the system they might want to correct. Universities, like individuals such as Galileo and Descartes, are complex entities, deeply embedded in habits, languages, and systems of signs. This is not to say that universities or other institutions cannot change. But, as Mauss seems to indicate, systems are highly conservative and tend to perpetuate themselves as they are. Even failure within the system tend most often to reinforce the same system.

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