Are Youngsters not as Clever as the Older Generation?

In an interview a former professor of an academy remarked about his students that he had noticed a distinctive lack of general knowledge and the disability to write correctly. Based on my personal experience I tend to agree to a certain extent. Even in the media you will notice the odd grammatical or spelling mistakes. You may stumble over unknown obstacles if you rely on your spell checker too much.

In his interview the professor bemoans the use of technology as a substitute for real knowledge. We probably all tend to believe the internet blindly. There is a certain danger in that any plausible statement may be spread without questioning.

In a newsletter which I recently received the professor is quoted as saying ” …Students do no longer understand the vocabulary of the academy. Students are changing, drifting towards the modern media, towards beat, towards computers, and mobile phones. They no longer grasp the desperation and the ruinous nature of art. They want their share of modern times and fail to see real art… “ PS unfortunately I was unable to find the interview with the controversial German artist Markus Luepertz on Google.

In another statement I noticed the same professor complaining about the tendency in modern art to shock and provoke. Personally I am hoping that one day painters will return to the old virtues. Just like the old masters took years to learn their skills modern artists should base their compositions on a firm understanding of their trade. Of course it will then take days or weeks to complete a painting rather than minutes or a few hours.

By the way Gerhard Richter also appears to be reconsidering his position on art.

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7 Responses to Are Youngsters not as Clever as the Older Generation?

  1. I am enjoying the multiple readings you offer with your wording in the title: “Are Youngsters not as Clever as the Older Generation?” Yes, of course they are. Well, some are, some wisely sidestep the, “Oh, aren’t you clever,” soubrette. Hopefully, the computers will form the basis of fine art that evolves as we do. But I do like the commitment of brush and ink on paper. Teases me not to go scrapping that oil off my pellet–that’s wear the horse’s mouse really is.

  2. Your message strikes a deep response in me. In two weeks my 23 year career at one School of the Arts will end as I eagerly retire. I’m not going out to pasture but renewing my 100% commitment to my studio and my painting as I did years before I began the teaching role. I never quit painting but one can only be torn in so many directions. One can commit to serious teaching or one can pour their soul into painting. However, I digress. For years I was required to keep paper work and student examples for 5 years after a class was completed. Now the system has changed and I have been released to get rid of all of my papers relating to students. For years I have been feeling unease regarding student accomplishment albeit, thankfully, I have had a few gifted students each year. Well, today I got a cold dash of water. I found a portfolio of student work from 2007. As I began to leaf through the collected works I was struck with the overall quality of their painting and drawing skills. I had just completed critiquing the current student work for this semester. so the comparison was totally shocking. I feel sadness to relate this but the reality was there staring at me from those forgotten works. There is no question in my mind that skills are degrading. Even more distressing are the conversations I have with my more gifted students as they relate the pressures being brought upon them to abandon their skills and seek the gimmick. I urge them to keep honing their skills. Yes there is a trend and today brought it fully into my consciousness.

    • Don, Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us. Today everything has to be fast. There is no time for traditional skills. We seem to think that the computer can do it for us. So the people who write the software will be teaching the next generation what they know without anybody questioning whether they are right or wrong.

  3. Zalamanda says:

    I like the deliberate mistake in the title of your post…

    Certain members of the older generation will always complain about the ineptitude of the younger. This often takes the shape of proclaiming modern exams to be easier than the ones they took; derogatory comments about percieved changes in language, wrtten or spoken; bemoaning the slippage of morals, etc. etc.

    Intelligenge or cleverness is not the issue. It is education (in the 1970s, it was deemed redundant to teach grammar) or environment (in which I include technology), both of which are created by older generations.

    • Zalamanda says:

      And I neglected to check my comment for typographical errors, too. :-S

    • Amanda, You are quite right. Intelligence is not the issue. Using your brain power to your best ability is. It seems to me that the education system is not encouraging youngsters to take the trouble with the old skills any more. They used to be a good foundation stone to get through life. Maybe the new skills are equally capable of helping the next generation to survive.

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