Brian Eno: Art schools should be the seed-beds of popular culture

From a lecture by the musician and artist on the future of art schools, given at the Royal Society of Arts
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The Independent Online

One of the things that has made art schools interesting places to be is that they've always been places where people watched where the action was in culture and then moved into it. This is why so much popular music has come out of art schools. I mean really, really a lot has come out of British art schools and a lot of the seminal things that led to other things started in art colleges.

I suppose what I feel is that again we could start to encourage this, we could say where are things really happening now in the culture? My feeling is comedy at the moment is the place where the most interesting things are happening. For example, Chris Morris is probably our most interesting British artist right now. If you think of his work as media critique, if you like, there's nobody doing it better. Is any art school employing Chris Morris? I very much doubt it. Again if I were a principal of an art college I would have him there.

I would be looking for where in the culture is the container that can hold anything. For a little while that was pop music, for a little while anyone who wanted to do anything thought they could probably do it by forming a band, and for a little while that was sort of true. A lot of the stranger art music movements of the 60s found their outlet actually, their success anyway in pop music.

I would like art schools to be "farming" the culture scene, to be looking around and saying where is it happening now? Where are all those people, those bright people who've got something to do and they don't quite know where it fits in? What are they putting it into? What's the container they're using? And, as I say, comedy would be my choice right now, followed by painting, funnily enough. For once Charles Saatchi was right.

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