Now, that is a true statement.
But you wouldn't know it by looking at me. And would you know that this blog is not an MFA thesis, by looking at it? Or that it is?
If I said it was, I could be lying. If I didn't, it could be true anyway. Would there be any textual markers? "Damn, your art is sooooo fine! You' a master, baby!" Back in the day, you studied under the previous master, and he (he) decided when you were a master (or journeyman). Scholasticism. Rules. Frame: parergon - which, to Derrida, is a paregoric (cf. "Economimesis").
These questions are, perhaps, more to the point than asking, "What is art (or lit)?" That is, the institutional accreditation and sanctioning as such determines it, in any given time and place. If R. Mutt brings the urinal into the academy and presents it as his MFA thesis, who's to gainsay him? Indeed, has anyone ever failed an MFA? I mean, flunked out - if they did the work? How do we say if something is art? Or fine? Or masterful?
If you reject such categories, you can do whatever you want, without the stick of conformity or the carrot of income. God bless you!
But if you accept them - to the point of earning or dispensing MFAs - you'd better be able to define them. Right? Did Jeff Koons have an MFA? Could an MFA thesis be a blog about tatting or a Lyme disease support group? How come? Why not?
Sonnet 81 - Pendulous blooms, & crepuscular; for the hour, it verges on nighttime. The garden lurks among copses and benches stuck under fountains… Oh, mid-evening rha...
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