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"Is the phrase 'a farce set in art school' redundant?"


Bookforum has a review of the recently published novel The Fine Art of Fucking Up by Cate Dicharry, a withering satire of art school. Bitter MFA grads will delight in the book’s vicious portrayal of the hypocrisy and self-importance of the fictional (or not-so-fictional) “School of Visual Arts,” as the art school in the book is called. The review, penned by Melissa Holbrook Pierson, has some zingers itself (including the title of this post):

[Cate Dicharry’s] creation—and, it is insinuated, one not all that made-up, since the success of a lampoon depends on its ability to come uncomfortably close to the hairline crack between invention and reality—is the fictional midwestern School of Visual Arts. It is the kind of place where no vapid performance piece goes unrecognized as an important Statement on Something: there’s the protester who wears a body suit upon which are glued oversized male sex organs, no doubt made of papier-mâché; indeed, anyone who wishes to mount a protest at the school must apply to the administration to do so. This is a tidbit hypocrisy among a smorgasbord of them, large and small, perfectly turned and less-than-fully-cooked alike. The MFA candidate who is simply too addled to remember to post the required artist’s statement for her thesis show is credited with a laudable act of aesthetic noncompliance, “expressive and literal . . . poignant and adroit.”

Above image: Still from the movie Art School Confidential