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.