Ahhh, Vacation… June 27, 2011Posted by keithsawyer in Everyday life.
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Take a look at my post from 2007 on the importance of vacations to creativity:
I’ve just returned from two weeks with my family in lovely Savannah (and on the nearby Atlantic Ocean beaches). It worked as I described in the 2007 post: new ideas come to mind that seem obvious now, but somehow didn’t occur to me before taking time off.
In a few days, I leave for a world tour of invited talks in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Cambridge, UK, so stay posted for my blogs about these events!
The Lone Genius: R.I.P. June 6, 2011Posted by keithsawyer in Uncategorized.
Tags: andy warhol, jeff koons, michelangelo
In medieval and rennaissance Europe, artworks were generated in highly collaborative work environments known as “studios.” Twelve assistants worked with Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling; Raphael, Rubens, van Dyck, Rembrandt-all of them had full-time assistants, many of whom imitated the master’s style (often making attribution quite difficult).
Only in the 19th century did artists begin to work alone. There are many reasons, but two basic causes were: first, cultural beliefs about artists changed, as a result of Romantic era philosophy; and second, the industrial revolution made the work of painting much easier, with the development of paint in metal tubes (you no longer have to mix your own paints) and mass-produced brushes (you no longer have to make your own).
The Wall Street Journal of June 3, 2011 reports that many contemporary artists use an equally collaborative studio system. The article (by Stan Stesser) reports that Jeff Koons has 150 people on his payroll and readily admits that he never paints himself. A long list of expensive, widely collected artists are named in the article; apparently, it is not a secret that the “artist” doesn’t actually execute the work himself. There’s no misreprentation here; gallery owners and dealers tell potential buyers the actual story, and buyers still collect the works.
The earliest return to a collaborative studio model was probably Andy Warhol in the 1960s, who called his studio “The Factory” and famously said “I want to be a machine.” So the “lone genius” model of the painter has been fading for several decades already. In the greater scheme of history, the Romantic era belief that the painter was an inspired solitary genius has been a small blip: slightly over 100 years. Painter as lone genius: Rest In Peace.