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Critical Practices Seminar, graduate level, co-taught by professors Squeak Meisel and Teresa Miró. Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 2015

This course is collaboratively designed and taught by Associate Professor Squeal Meisel and Assistant Professor Teresa Miró to enrich the rigor of the Master of Fine Arts program at Washington State University. The class underscores the importance of objective assessment and places emphasis on cross-disciplinary thinking, process, and developing a strong and healthy individual studio practice. Students are required to create and original body of work, and to be able to analyze and evaluate their work, and the work of others, in the context of contemporary practice and culture. The learning objectives and goals are achieved through multiple individual and group critiques and studio visits.

Participation in this critical process for both the presenter and audience have to be thoughtful and challenging, and students are encouraged to dissociate themselves from their work (on John cage´s words: “When it comes to my work, I try to move pass my own likes and dislikes, they goal is not for you to like what you do, but to be a catalyst for the work and let it out“).

Because graduate students are working with a variety of media and approaches, they are asked to sustain a dialogue across a range of technical, visual, and conceptual issues, considering common aspects of these elements as well as those that are unique. To expand on their independent work strategies, students investigate issues like motivation, research and daily studio routines. Artist Matthew Ritchie, when asked how he measured his accomplishments, responded: “Success is the realization of the work. Success is just getting what you need to continue working.” Artist Rirkrit Tiravanija suggests that her artistic search: “…has many different levels and you have to make your own level. You have to decide where you want to be, and then just go for that… You get there, and maybe nobody sees it, but you get there. It is, at least as I think of it, a spiritual thing“.

The goal of this course is to help students get what they need to continue working, but not in the form of step-by-step recipes, but by actively creating problems and questions and uncover their own solutions and answers.