Daily Diigo Public Link 02/09/2008

by Yule Heibel on February 8, 2008

The Artful Manager: What’s ”authentic”? Annotated

tags: authenticity, branding, culture, culture_industry, folklore, ideas, ideology, marketing

Read the entry, “What’s ‘authentic’?,” by Andrew Taylor, but then read the first comment that follows, by Bill Ivey. Taylor, writing from an arts manager perspective, observes: “Since arts organizations are often perceived (or perceive themselves) as havens of authentic expression, it might be worth a moment to define, exactly, what that means.” Ivey, donning his “folklorist” hat, contrasts the “authentic” barn-raising, say, with the construction of a pre-fab barn — or “authentic” blue jeans and their history of being workwear, with the “brand” of “authentic” designer jeans. Apples & oranges, and the oranges, it seems, are watery — or “thin,” as Ivey puts it: they offer “the illusion of purchasable membership in networks defined by exactly the history and shared values that in modern society are available to very, very few.”

Willem-Jan Neutelings: “how to Design an Icon” (Archinect : Features) Annotated

tags: archinect, architecture, icon, interview, theory, willem_jan_neutelings

I found this via http://www.ceosforcities.org/conversations/blog/, and have had it open in a tab for DAYS now, wondering how to annotate/ sum it up, and I can’t seem to do it justice. Here’s Archinect’s introduction: A conversation with Willem-Jan Neutelings about the tradition of architecture and the way iconography should be applied in architecture.” Just that bit: how “iconography should be applied in architecture” is amazing. Who speaks of such things cogently these days? Dares to? At the same time, I find myself in agreement with commentator Ivo, at the end of this blog entry, who writes: “I don’t know about Neutelings-Riedijk. It’s too simple for me, almost cartoonish. A harbour college that looks like stacked shipping containers, an earth-sciences building that looks like covered in dirt, a TV and media centre is clad in blurred tv images. No offence they make nice sculptures, but I expect my architects to come up with something more than the first (obvious) idea that springs to mind while being faced with a client/project.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

melanie February 9, 2008 at 5:27 am

I’ve been to the Guggenheim in Bilbao. It is a fabulous building that fits brilliantly in its landscape, but doesn’t work terribly well as an art museum. Some of the spaces are fine (depending on what’s on exhibition) and some are not really. So that raises the question of what the real function of the building is. From the point of view of the Bilbao city authorities, it’s fantastic – it really has helped to revitalize a declining industrial/port city. It’s a lovely city to which I’d never have gone, but for the Guggenheim (by which I mean both the Gehry building and the promise of Guggenheim art). From the point of view of the Guggenheim it’s probably OK – because everybody who goes to see it goes inside and pays – and even inside the structure is great to look at. But if their goals were more artistic than financial, I doubt that they’d be so happy. How can you look at what’s on the wall when the building itself is so distracting?

I think that to really succeed, the building has to satisfy both requirements. I’ve heard that the anthropology museum in Paris does both – the iconography of the building might seem a bit obvious to Ivo (perhaps not), but at least it also satisfies the functional requirement. On a more modest scale, and something I’m familiar with, the Ian Potter Centre in Melbourne is successful. The building is interesting, but something to look at when you’re on the stairs or in the lobby or passing from one exhibition space to another. The galleries are places to look at the art.

melanie February 9, 2008 at 6:09 am

“the illusion of purchasable membership in networks defined by exactly the history and shared values that in modern society are available to very, very few.”

I agree with this. Why is an ‘authentic’ Picasso more valuable than an excellent ‘in the style of Picasso’? Why is a Gucci bag more valuable than a perfect Chinese copy? Especially when both of them were made in the same Chinese factory!

I think Taylor’s definition is way off beam. Authenticity refers to authorship and the ability to gain purchase of it. ‘Authentic’ folk music can have a hundred thousand authors, but a Picasso can have only one.

webnews February 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm


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