Amy Sillman speaks at Montserrat

New York painter Amy Sillman (pictured above) gave the commencement address at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, on Friday, May 27, 2011. Here are some of her remarks:

“All graduation speeches boil down to two points … do not live for money and try to change the world now while you still have the energy.”

“I moved to New York City in the mid ‘70s. … The most sophisticated people I knew said painting was dead. … But I had just arrived, and I loved to draw.”
“My friends and I actively embraced forms of nerdiness.”

“I hand an old gray-haired art teacher who I asked if I should go to art school. And he told me I would fail. … So, of course, I went to art school.”

“I was about being honest. I was basically against people who were for making pretty pictures.”

“You have to remember that art can change the world. It’s not only a philosophical thing, it’s a social and ethical one.”

“Your actions [while painting] form an outward model of what you inwardly think.”

“Art has to be conducted the way you conduct the rest of your life.”

“Really, honestly, I think about everything I ever learned in life, I learned through painting.”
Pictured above: Sillman’s 2009 painting “Fatso” and a selection of drawings that were on view at Montserrat from May 3 to 27, 2011.

Disclosure: New England Journal of Aesthetic Research custodian Greg Cook teaches at Montserrat.

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