HAVING WORDS WITH AMERICA This Glenn Ligon print is from his 1993 series Narratives.

Nooooo! The one president in my lifetime who knows the names of contemporary artists like Glenn Ligon—and displays their works at the White Housetook a shot today at the value of an art history degree, opposing it to skills training for factory work.

I think it was just a gaffe. And it's probably true that you have a better shot at making more money with skilled labor than a liberal arts degree of any kind. But the setup itself is false. (And following in McCain's footsteps, even unintentionally, still means you've stepped in shit.) The opposite of the factory worker is not the intellectual. It is the corporate office.

There's a down side for this us-and-them attitude in art, too. Artists already feel too much pressure to decide between thinking and making, to take a side in what's actually a false division. Anybody with a lick of sense knows that in order to make great art, you have to do both at the same time, to think-make and make-think.

And no, there isn't a specific instructional that explains what that means. Hence, the art of making art.