Fed up with mediocrity
In 1964, the Sanders Printing Corporation invited SVA’s graduating class to produce its periodic promotional publication, Folio. In an insert, Seymour Sanders jovially noted that some of his friends were concerned that an issue designed by art students was bound to be a fiasco. Of course, he was delighted that Folio 8 turned out to be “as distinguished and professional as any of the earlier issues.” But he got down to business on the back cover, lobbing his grenade in the Great Paper Company Wars of the 60s.
Sanders’ overconfident ad talk contrasts nicely with an essay in Folio 8 entitled “Industry’s Responsibility to the Gifted” by SVA founder Silas H. Rhodes, who took the opportunity to present a serious-minded argument in favor of art education that is both practical and demanding. SVA was founded as a trade school in 1947 and as its mission expanded Rhodes decried the fact that art schools were so eager “to avoid the stigma of vocationalism, [they] ignore[d] the problem of livelihood. No one has ever suggested that at Harvard the preparation of ministers for the ministry or stock brokers for the stock exchange is illiberal or vocational.” Needless to say, “Art school” and “vocationalism” are generally not uttered in the same breath any more.
In any case, Folio 8 is indeed exemplary. George Tscherny and Louis Donato served as faculty advisors and Tscherny’s influence is evident. The illustration portion reflects the impact of instructors like Robert Weaver and Phil Hays.
This post also appears on our Picturebox blog.