Chicago Art School Says Soon-To-Be Dr. Kanye West “…Is Smart”

Photo: Courtesy REX USA

Kanye West may have
been a college dropout, but soon that minor detail won’t stop him from holding
an advanced degree. Last month, the renowned School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) announced that they would be bestowing Yeezus with an honorary doctorate at the
Class of 2015's commencement ceremony.  

When
Kanye first broke the news to fans during an interview with Clique TV with one of the classic humble brags we have come to know and love him for—“I was a gifted artist since
age five and won national competitions and went to art school. I’m actually
getting an honorary doctorate on May 5th from the Art Institute of Chicago.”—reactions
were, well, mixed, to say the least. Chicago Magazine approved, affectionately
calling Kanye a “lifelong art, architecture and design nerd.” “Congratulations, Dr. West! We’re proud of you,” wrote MTV News.   

But
students of the institution were not so easily impressed, with
several posting flyers around campus lamenting the decision. Others took to Twitter to suggest someone recreate his
infamous VMA-Taylor-Swift-Imma-Let-You-Finish moment during the doctorate’s
presentation. (Fellow honorary degree-recipients, including AIC director
Douglas Druick, gallerist Rhona Hoffman, artist and alum Janet Byrne Neiman and
German painter Albert Oehlen, did not seem to provoke such a strong reaction.
Shocking, we know.)   

But
the haters aren’t intimidating SAIC President Walter E. Massey and Dean of
Faculty Lisa Wainwright, who stand by their decision in a fascinating new interview with Fader.  

“The
guy is smart,” Wainwright insists. ”The lyrics are smart, the music is
beautiful, it’s complicated, it’s post-modern, it’s hip, it’s awakening, I
couldn’t be happier.” She goes on to address Kanye’s relevance to arts
education, specifically noting that “What art school teaches—what our art school
teaches—is how to think creatively even outside of the field in which you
operate, and Kanye does that. He slips between these disciplines in such
interesting ways.” 

“We are
a very interdisciplinary institution, and what he does cuts across so many
disciplines…We have faculty members who use him as the subject of their
teaching, so this is perfect,” adds Massey. 

And when
it comes to the perceived pushback, Massey seems unconcerned, “That hasn’t been as
widespread. They get maddened about it once they get on social media. People
who have no connection with the school will comment on it,” he notes,
before concluding wisely that “You can’t please all the people all the time.”  

So, how can we get tickets to this commencement
ceremony? 

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