I've lived on the same block in Greenwich Village nearly all my life and for a good part of it next door to Annie Leibowitz. So when the cat that anchored the front of the house disappeared, I knew something was up. It probably sensed Annie was selling up and left first.
One of the enduring fixtures of an arts education is the "critique," a group evaluation of students' work. Traditionally some posturing, passive-aggression and even unkindness can be expected during a critique, even from a teacher, and the experience can be confusing and discouraging.
The 1980s generated the idea of the fine artist as rock star, coming on fast and furious at a young age, entering the international art circuit, cashing in quickly because no one lasts more than a decade. It can happen, it has happened, but it doesn't happen very often.