Old in Art School

Old in Art School

A Memoir of Starting Over

Book - 2018
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Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school--in her sixties--to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived. How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, "You will never be an artist"? Who defines what "An Artist" is and all that goes with such an identity?--from publisher's description.
Publisher: Berkeley, California :, Counterpoint Press,, 2018.
Edition: First hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781640090613
Branch Call Number: 700.92 P1485P
Characteristics: xvi, 331 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Nov 15, 2018

I loved this look into the process of making art and the business of the Art World from a semi-insider, semi-outsider: a decorated historian who decided, in her mid-60s, to pursue a serious art degree, eventually earning an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. The author is a sharp, engaging narrator who doesn't demand a strict plot or narrative through-line of her own experience, which I think makes the book as a whole much stronger. Highly recommended.

Nov 11, 2018

I'm glad I stuck with this book for the insight at the end, but I spent most of the book being annoyed with the author.

IndyPL_EllenF Oct 23, 2018

Being a "woman of a certain age" and an artist, I was intrigued by Painter's path through academic art as opposed to simply being an artist. She has a compelling turn of phrase, concise and emotional at the same time. It has helped me see my own path to art more clearly and to enjoy those who choose a more lettered path.

Aug 21, 2018

I can't recall where I came across this memoir but the synopsis of it compelled me to read it. Honestly, before I had even reached the 100-page mark, I would've given this book 3 stars. At that point, I felt that the author was getting caught up in the thick of telling us about Art History instead of her journey going to Art School in her 60s. But thankfully, the story got better, so much so that I began to appreciate her references to art history, specifically Black art and female artists. However, if you're not even remotely interested in history then you might hate this book because Nell Painter can't help talking about it; mostly because she is also a historian.


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