Bruce High Quality Foundation University

David Ryckaert III
David Ryckaert III

Bruce High Quality Foundation, a New York based art collective, has a new project going on.

Bruce High Quality University is a free, unaccredited, alternative art school. Supported by Creative Time, the school opened on September 11, 2009 and will remain up into 2010. Located at 225 West Broadway in Manhattan, the school will host courses and special events. Admission is decided through peer-recommendations while some programs will be open to the public.

From the BHQFU website:


Something’s got to give. The $200,000-debt-model of art education is simply untenable. Further, the education artists are getting for their money is mired in irrelevance, pushing them into critical redundancy on the one hand and professional mediocrity on the other. Blind romanticism and blind professionalism are in a false war alienating artists from their better histories.

At root, it’s a form/content problem. Arts education is divided between the practical problems of form (e.g., money: how to get it, raise it, administer it, and please the powers that control it) and the slippery problems of metaphor (e.g., education: how to learn, what to learn, why to learn).

Artists are the people who spend their time figuring out how best to resolve form and content problems. That’s what we do when we stretch a canvas, edit a video, implement a social space, and develop a history. It is both reasonable and generatively ridiculous to believe that artists ought to be figuring out how arts education should work. This is the premise of BHQFU: that artists can figure this thing out.


A university, a space for higher education and research, a community of scholars; an expansion of the BHQF practice to include more participants (that’s where U come in); and a “fuck you” to the hegemony of critical solemnity and market-mediocre despair.


We believe in the artistically educational possibilities of collaboration. Collaboration, as we mean it, means a group of concerned people come together to hash out ideas, try to figure out the world around them, and try to take some agency within its future. That’s the why and how of The Bruce High Quality Foundation. BHQFU is an attempt to extend the benefits of this collaborative model to a wider number of people.

We believe that income shouldn’t be a barrier to metaphor. We aren’t interested in providing an economic justification for arts education (which we’ll generally define as an education in metaphor manipulation). There is something far more important at stake: our ability to reason, to resist hegemony and oppression, to participate adeptly, skeptically, humorously in the political minefield of society. So if we aren’t going to justify BHQFU economically, we can’t expect participants to do so either. Let’s not parse the margins; BHQFU will be free to attend.

BHQFU is unaccredited. Let’s just drop the bullshit altogether. Even when they deal with markets, even when they wear suits and go to meetings, even when they act professionally, artists are not professionals. So we aren’t granting degrees or certificates, we aren’t claiming to prepare anyone to become another piece of human capital. It’s simply not a lens on life that needs anymore looking through.

Students are teachers are administrators are staff. We believe in the value of shared creative experience and responsibility. That is why the first class we are implementing is B.Y.O.U. (Build Your Own University), a weekly class to discuss and develop admission procedures, rubrics of success, governance, etc.


Classes are organized by participants in the weekly BYOU. If you are interested in participating in a particular class or you’ve got an idea for something new, come talk to us at our Open House events announced periodically on the home page.

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