David Rifkind

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Aug 2003

Memorizing the dates, names, and force-fed opinions of random paintings and buildings is a horribly antiquated teaching device and is unfortunately the staple of this trivial requirement. But it's not all that bad, maybe I could still win big someday on the art history edition of jeopardy! Oh wait, this is real life and that would never happen.

Jul 2003

The one word I would use to describe DAvid is "enthusiastic." He is constantly excited about the work he's discussing, and thereby engages the rest of the class as well. He also has a tendency to make random comments that bear no relation to the art topic, but are extremely funny. All in all, he held my interest very well, even though the class was at night in the summer.

Jan 2003

David is really nice and enthusiastic, and he leads class discussion very well. He won't accept the "whatever my opinion is on the artwork can't be wrong, because it's an opinion" bullshit, which I like. If you have a legitimate, valid opinion different from his, though, he's accepting of it.

Jan 2003

I was dreading a long, boring survey of art history at 9 am, but David's class was anything but long and boring. Though it had its repetitive moments (think the same painting for almost an entire class) and David insisted on his view more than once, overall the class was interesting and exciting. Everyone got a chance to voice his or her opinion on everything from the works of art to what topics to cover in our extra classes. The class had the perfect balance of history, context, and interpretation, and David was never afraid to be frank about his opinions. Since David is an architect, he was most excited about the buildings we covered - and his enthusiasm was contagious.

Jan 2003

I couldn't have had a better art hum experience than with David. He was enthusiastic, even at 9 AM, knowledgeable (seemingly about everything), and easy-going. I would recommend him to anyone.

Apr 2002

Despite what I had heard, I had a great Art Hum experience because of David. He loves what he is teaching, is very engaging, and respects his studies alot. He does not assign alot of out of class stuff - reading or otherwise, and there is alot to be learned from him

Jan 2002

I wouldn't submit this if I didn't think the review above was slightly unfair. It's true, Rifkind did have a habit of pouncing on an idea as the "right interpretation", however I really do believe that he was open to his students' other views. And for God's sake, this is an introductory course, you know. I really think that part of taking a class like Art Hum is learning what scholars have to say about artists and works of art, and that is what Rifkind taught us. I mean, maybe if you are an art history major, you can reserve the right to start thinking up your own interpretations, but this is an introductory course. I was glad to learn what Rifkind taught us about art, and while I might not buy everything I learned, I certainly feel like I can hold my own in a discussion about the artists we studied. Anyway, I recommend this class. The workload is light, the lectures interesting, and the grading easy.

Dec 2001

Boo! I really wanted to like this class, but Rifkind made it hard to like. We clashed on ideological grounds; I wanted a class where the prevailing attitude was that almost anything you said about a piece of art had some kind of validity, but he wanted a class where he taught us how to arrive at the "right" interpretation. This was achieved through him calling on different people someone said something the "right" thing, and then he would pounce on it and act really pleased that we had come up with The Interpretation all by ourselves. Maybe this is how all art history classes are anyway, in which case I'm glad I'm an English major, but if there's such a thing as a teacher who believes in the infinite interpretability of art, take Art Hum from that person instead.