course
Sociology of the Arts

May 2004

Harrison White opened up class by declaring that his mission was for his students to see the social/cultural world in non-deterministic and multi-faceted ways. He described the social sciences as a type of "walnut", where we must learn to "lick" the "correct delineated wrinkles" (These are ACTUAL notes). So upon even first impressions, we knew that, in fact, this guy's a *nut*. The nature of the class was entirely seminar-based. The syllabus was never followed. And we only had to read his extremely cryptic book called "Creation and Careers in Art Worlds." Basically, if one has to put it lightly, the class was based on rationalizing his whacky theories. The nature of our discussions ranged from Mickey Mouse, Gay Sex Clubs, Gallery Worlds, Indie Music, etc. etc., but all discussed in a *roundabout* way, which ultimately pointed to the nature of his own written works. Still, while we had this in mind, none of us really knew what the class was about. It was COMPLETE CHAOS. But also really fun.

May 2004

One of ColumbiaÂ’s great aging intellectual powerhouses, Professor White has the singular ability to go from the sublime to the ridiculous without skipping a beat. As has been said before, this course is chaos. Its fundamental premises could be summed up in the total of two class periods, leaving one to wonder what we were doing with the rest of the time. There were a number of interesting conversations, and I donÂ’t regret taking the class; however, I am really none the wiser about the sociology of the arts, sociological method, or the workings of the Artworld. I think this class would have been awesome if it had some direction and substance. But as it was, it was simply bi-weekly confusion.