It was confirmed today by the School of Art Institute of Chicago (via Hyperallergic) that the rapper Kanye West—in addition to gallerist Rhona Hoffman, artist Janet Neiman, Art Institute of Chicago director and president Douglas Druick, and German artist Albert Oehlen—will receive an honorary doctorate from the school, to be given at the SAIC’s May 11 commencement ceremony. Oehlen will serve as the commencement speaker.
In a statement, SAIC had this to say: “[West is] a leader in the music industry as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist and producer, as well as a fashion designer and interdisciplinary artist whose work provokes cultural discourse by reflecting a realism of the street. He is an advocate for education, and a thinker and maker who often uses his work—his lyrics, videos, performances, and fashion designs—to deconstruct stereotypes and spur cultural discourse on important social issues. West’s work, like much of hip-hop, is meant to startle us out of our complacency, and this is the role of art.”
Below is an early video from over 10 years ago of West (with a blazer and a backpack on) on the BET program Rap City, talking about his debut album The College Dropout. “I went to art school. That was my first love,” West says at one point in the interview.