Monthly Archives: November 2009

Art After Dark – NYC

Art can be a bit like wine. You know what you like – but some of the subtext can be lost on the uninitiated. Both require a considerable level of commitment to get to grips with. Sometimes, the hardest thing is getting started as once you have a base knowledge – then you have something to build on. Without solid foundations, the sheer depth of subject matter can be daunting. I’ve found from personal experience that art galleries can be quite exclusive rather than inclusive. Descriptors of pieces of art can over-intellectualise what you are viewing – rather than simply allowing you to enjoy your own take on the experience – and there is something unnerving about people staring at a piece for hours, seeking out a message, when your own mind starts wandering in about 15 seconds…

That’s why I loved an initiative from the Guggenheim in NYC that uses contemporary DJ acts and a skinful of alcohol (in my case) to introduce awesome art masters to the masses. I attended ‘Art after Dark’ last Friday (it takes place on the first Friday of the month) and saw the Kandinsky exhibition set to the soundtrack of Brooklyn Dance duo Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, aka Holy Ghost. The Guggenheim itself is an amazing venue and this exhibition is set on a spiralling ramp. You literally meander your way up to the top with a glass of wine in hand with an amazing soundtrack that is apparently to show how Kandinsky took inspiration from music in his pioneering efforts toward abstraction, but is more likely a post rationalisation of an attempt to ensnare a younger audience through a common love of music and boozing…

ART AFTER DARK

It’s a great concept because it makes art cool and accessible. The exhibition was clearly signposted and as you totter/stumble back down the ramp – you’ve really grasped an understanding of the artist in an inclusive friendly environment. Learning and finding out new stuff is fun, and it’s important for cultural organisations in this country to develop new way of talking to younger audiences. Alcohol and music normally provide a relevant and engaging reason to enjoy most activities. Some cultural hubs get it – The Tate do late, and the ICA have long known the key to the hearts of minds of younger audiences. It would however be nice to see more traditional establishments engaging in such activities. Modern art shouldn’t simply be a gateway to more traditional art forms – and aforementioned traditional establishments should recognise that steps need to be taken to ensure that tomorrows audiences are engaged today.

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‘The Spirit of Highbury’

Great time lapse video of the new Arsenal fixed structure featuring every Arsenal player to ever grace Highbury. This was created by W&K…

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Capitalism and the future

I landed in New York City on Tuesday morning, and a friend of mine had sorted out tickets to a debate at New York City Public Library. The subject of debate was ‘Capitalism and the Future’. The panel included some heavy hitters like Eric Schmidt – CEO of Google, Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo, Niall Ferguson – the respected historian and Harvard Professor and finally…Nassim Taleb – author of ‘The Black Swan’

So what do they think the future holds in summary? What will the economic system look like in the weeks ahead, what are the innovations  shaping the future and what will the role of business be in the future?

Capitalism, in the current climate, can be seen as a bit of a dirty word. One of the key outputs from this debate was that this shouldn’t be the case and capitalism ultimately creates innovation, jobs and opportunities… There was however a slightly uneasy moment when Indra Nooyi, paraphrasing Gordon Gecko in ‘Wall Street’ perhaps went one step too far by suggesting that ‘greed is good’ (to be fair – she did say that necessary precautions need to be taken), but it didn’t sit that well with me in a period of time when greed has led to taxpayers picking up the tab for excessive risk in the pursuit of financial gain…

Niall Ferguson who was very impressive throughout raised his fears about the danger of state monopolies. he argued (brilliantly) that politics should be kept away from business, that the business world should be about survival of the fittest, not the fattest and that we need to move away from state monopolisation. He made a great point that I loved that said that we live in capitalist times when things are good and there are profits…but we want to revert to socialism when we face losses… RBS being a particularly relevant example of this…

Eric Schmidt was very optimistic and argued that the economic structures put in place since the financial crisis began are working. He suggested that the future was bright and summarised the future rather nicely here…

“Technological innovation and entrepreneurial activation will be the only way to develop mass growth in the future”

It seemed a very succinct way to sum up all the arguments…

 

 

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