OCAD Textbook: $180 and empty boxes where art should be
When asked to look at Michelangelo’s The Holy Family, first-year students at the Ontario College of Art and Design will be greeted by a blank circle, asking them to find an image of the artwork online instead.
The $180 mandatory textbook Global Visual and Cultural Material: Prehistory to 1800 contains many blank spaces where artwork would normally be, followed by instructions to go to a separate source online to view the material. Some sections of the book, parts of which were obtained by the National Post, still contain notes of features to observe in the absent artwork.
The textbook is a custom book for OCAD, compiling three different sources — Art History, available for $144, Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide for $92 and a reader compiled by OCAD — to create one book. But why put out an art history textbook with no art in the first place?
Kathy Shailer, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the choice was to save students money.“It would have been over $300 [to require students to buy the two existing texts, which both include artwork], which would have been beyond the pale of what to ask for students,” said Ms. Shailer, adding that not all parts of the individual textbooks are used.
In an earlier letter to students, Ms. Shailer said a printed version of the new textbook, including art, would have cost $800.