Is spirituality is the new sex?

What’s hot in exhibitions right now


I’m not sure if this is a weak signal, but it’s interesting. An analysis of the Sotheby’s art prize has found that the theme of introspection, especially spiritually, is trending upwards, while sex is trending down. The data set is small, so beware of jumping to premature conclusions, but worth watching nevertheless.

The full article is worth a read.

Thought for Thursday


“And what was the true object of this superstitious stuff? A final clue came from “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” (1996), in which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi acknowledges that, far from being an act of individual inspiration, what we call creativity is simply an expression of professional consensus. Using Vincent van Gogh as an example, the author declares that the artist’s “creativity came into being when a sufficient number of art experts felt that his paintings had something important to contribute to the domain of art.” Innovation, that is, exists only when the correctly credentialed hivemind agrees that it does. And “without such a response,” the author continues, “van Gogh would have remained what he was, a disturbed man who painted strange canvases.” What determines “creativity,” in other words, is the very faction it’s supposedly rebelling against: established expertise.”

Taken from Salon, ‘TED talks are lying to you’ by Thomas Frank
(Article originally published in Harper’s)

Looking without seeing

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This is a good one. Did you know that the average ‘dwell time’ (horrible phrase) for the Mona Lisa is 17 seconds? In other words, the amount of time people spend looking at the most famous painting in the world is a quarter of a minute.

What are they looking at? What are they looking for?

I’m using this ‘fact’ as an opener for a workshop with PWC in Warsaw. The point isn’t so much that looking for longer with reveal something of importance (although it may) but that deep looking will reveal other, non-related, thoughts that could have considerable value.

Try it today. Fix your eyes on something, a tree, a cloud, a building, for between 3-5 minutes (please don’t select a phone or computer or anything that moves or makes a disruptive sound) and literally ‘see’ what happens.

The truth about beauty

According to art historian Robert Hughes the term avant garde no longer has any meaning. If anything and everything is acceptable there is no longer anything to be ahead of. Furthermore, there is an assumption that film, television and photography tell us most about society when in fact drawing and painting bring us closer to the truth about the human condition. What is therefore needed is a return to slow art – art that makes us think and feel.