Sasha Kobliha: In art history classes, students find novelty and flexibility

Throughout my academic career, I’ve had ideas thrust upon me with no room for compromise.

I’ll admit, most were warranted: Newton’s laws have never triggered my skepticism, nor have Pythagoras’ mathematical assertions (though, granted, I wouldn’t touch geometry with a 20-foot pole). And I’m pretty confident in the whole evolution thing.

But of all the knowledge I’ve absorbed without protest, I think I’ve isolated the precise moment when I stopped automatically accepting information presented to me as indisputable fact: When I saw, on an art history class trip, a museum display a bucket and paper towels strewn across the floor and call it art.

What? It had to be a joke. My original thought was that a janitor must be in the middle of cleaning up a mess. But there it was: a bright orange bucket and its paper counterparts, in all their underwhelming glory. The absurdity

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