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University Sells Students $180 Art Textbook That Has No Art, Somehow Not Joking

One would think that the study of art might require some, well, art to study. The people calling the shots at OCAD University would disagree, however. The textbook this year for one of the university’s art courses, titled “Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800,” costs a whopping $180 and — in all seriousness — includes no art whatsoever. The kicker? It’s required for every student taking the class.

This tidbit comes courtesy of Brent Ashley, who has a daughter starting at OCAD University this fall. The whole kerfuffle revolves around the fact that, apparently, the publisher couldn’t get the rights to the images in time and thus went ahead and printed the book. Barring the fact that art that old should, you know, be in the public domain in the first place, the decision to continue on despite the lack of images just boggles the mind.

Ashley’s post explains:

This year, however, the textbook for Global VISUAL and Material Culture has no pictures. Students have been told that the publisher couldn’t get the copyright permissions settled in time for the print run, so students will have to read the book, and see the pictures online by following along on their computer.

There is no discount on the $180 price for an ART textbook that has NO PICTURES. Devoid of pictures. Bereft of art. If I am going to have to pay $180 for an art history book that is of no resale value to next year’s students, it had damn well better be an excellent visual reference with hard cover and full colour plates, to keep around for years, festooning my coffee table and that of my heirs.

There’s not even a discount involved, and the course next year won’t even use it so it’s basically worthless after the class is over. Good job, folks.

(Brent Ashley via Techdirt, image via Colton Witt)

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