The "art" featured in this book is mainly "contemporary art" since the 1980s. In Japan, where modern art such as Impressionism is preferred, contemporary art may have a minor impression, but in the world art world, contemporary art is the mainstream. It is considered to be an indispensable culture for business elites who are active globally.
The essential reason for this is that the problems raised by contemporary art and the worldview that it draws resonate with the ideas required of business elites. According to the author, "art is a creative activity that creates value from scratch and requires a vision and an inner passion to make it happen." How about replacing this art with "entrepreneurship"? Isn't there any sense of incongruity?
What is needed in the coming era is "insight and a unique perspective that can ask the right questions." At that time, "art thinking" as an alternative idea different from the traditional way of thinking is useful. The essence is the attitude of persistently thinking about "what you don't understand".
The deep world of contemporary art, which can be called global common sense. Through this book, I hope that you will deepen your understanding and acquire art thinking, which is an idea method for opening up new businesses.
Main points of this book
The role of contemporary art is to create a perspective that is not bound by past conventions and to innovate. In this respect, it resonates with frontline businesses.
The three major elements of contemporary art are impact, concept and layer. Above all, the concept can be said to be the life of contemporary art. Layer means a multi-layered nature that is open to various interpretations.
For contemporary art, "don't know" is good. This is because we can flexibly release our thoughts by coming into contact with what we do not understand.
What is contemporary art?
How to think of contemporary artists
In the business world, the importance of "logical thinking" and "critical thinking" has been emphasized. However, at present, there are many problems that cannot be solved by such thinking methods alone. For example, environmental destruction, inequality, ethnic conflict, and capitalism itself.
Nowadays, "art thinking", which is common to contemporary artists, is attracting attention as an alternative idea that is different from the traditional way of thinking. It can be said to be a way of thinking for exploring "what is being asked now?" And "what is the problem?"
An artist does not mean an answer, but a "questioner." Their desire is to raise issues for society. We propose new value and pursue to the utmost whether we can leave value that will remain in history. This aspiration resonates with the ideas of the world's business elite, who are aiming for a long-term business that breaks through the status quo.
In the future, business people will be required to have more creative ideas, just like artists. Therefore, through art, it is important to be able to imagine a world different from your own, and to acquire insight and a unique perspective.
Coal mine canary
Many Silicon Valley innovators have expressed sympathy for contemporary artists. That's because artists are like "coal mine canaries" who are aware of the big changes that the world hasn't noticed yet.
Contemporary art, in particular, is full of hints to understand the ever-changing world. Since the 1980s, contemporary art has focused on LGBT, global environmental changes, developmental disabilities, diversity & inclusion, sustainability, the sharing economy, and more.
It takes time for art that is ahead of the times to be understood and recognized by society. In fact, many contemporary art works are not immediately understandable when viewed. The author himself says that there are some parts that can be inferred from the context of the work and some parts that cannot be understood. However, the fun of the process of trying to understand it is also the attraction of contemporary art. It's not "I don't know, it's boring", but "I don't know, it's funny".
The essence of contemporary art lies in resetting and reconstructing what we usually take for granted. It is not uncommon for the world to look completely different before and after coming into contact with the work.
Backside of the Moon
As one of those works, I would like to introduce the installation "Back Side of the Moon" by James Turrell (1943-USA). This is part of the "Art House Project" that the author has been involved in.
The audience, who set foot in the building containing this work, walks down the wall in a pitch-black space. Going further, I sat down on the bench beyond that and stood in the darkness where no light could reach for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, in the darkness, you can see a large, vague rectangle. Eventually, the light began to be seen clearly, and the audience trapped in the darkness was released by the light.
The lighting hasn't changed. Audiences who enter the room from the bright outdoors do not notice the faint light that existed from the beginning. However, as the eyes get used to the darkness, they finally notice the contrast between light and darkness.
Those who have experienced this installation will reconsider the light that they usually feel as a mysterious existence. A sense of security that light exists. It is a sense of security that we can feel the world and recognize that it exists in it. You will also realize that the darkness of the night is full of light.
In this way, you can experience new light through Tarrell's work. The rediscovery of light and darkness breaks the preconceptions and stereotypes that are rooted in people.
Contemporary art as an investment target
An auction was held on May 15, 2019 in Christie's New York. There, the work "Rabbit" by Jeff Koons (1955-USA) was sold for $ 91,075,000 (about 10 billion yen). It broke the high price record of existing artist works.
In 2018, the global art market grew by 6%, reaching an estimated $ 67.4 billion (about 7.5 trillion yen). It has been expanding since it reached the $ 30 billion level in 2004.
Art is not practical, and from the perspective of "use value", it can only be enjoyed by decorating it. However, if the author's thoughts and philosophy contained in the work are recognized as "valued" by people, the "exchange value" will be much higher due to its rarity.
And, in terms of the amount of value growth, portability, and status, art meets the optimal conditions for investment. This is the reason why investment in art is increasing year by year.
The center of the art market was once France and England. After World War II, its center moved to the United States, Japan during the bubble era in the 1980s, and now to the Middle East, China, and India. Thus, along with the economic growth center, the art market is moving.[Must read point!] Appreciate contemporary art
"I don't know" is a good thing
Appreciating art is nothing more than receiving "questions" from artists. It can be said that the real pleasure of appreciation is to think about that question and interact with the work. In particular, there is nothing more clues for business people to get a "leap of thought" than contemporary art. "Doubt common sense" "Think on a zero basis". These are the basic attitudes when appreciating contemporary art.
In business, "don't know" is not desirable. However, for contemporary art, "don't know" is rather good. This is because contacting something you don't understand encourages new thinking.
From modeling beauty to concept
The Impressionist paintings we are accustomed to are "modern art" that is visually pleasingly pleasing. In the middle of the 20th century, painting became abstract and free from what it was drawn. Still, there was still visual formability. However, in the 1980s and 90s, most of "contemporary art" became more focused on concept than vision.
The concept is the life of contemporary art
The three major elements that make up contemporary art are impact, concept, and layers. This can be said to be the point of appreciation as it is.
The first is "impact." The appearance of the work must have a unique originality and individuality. It requires impacts such as extremely large, small, soft, clean, strange, and ugly. The impact is not limited to appearance. The writer's unexpected actions and remarks are also included.
Next is the "concept". What kind of idea is this work made up of? What is the message? This concept is the life of contemporary art.
The last is "layer", that is, multi-layered. Good works can be interpreted in various ways. In other words, this means that the work is "open." It is important that it has an open structure that can be freely read by humans.
From here, I will briefly introduce the achievements of the three masters who set the direction of contemporary art. Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968 France) is considered to be the founder of contemporary art by his work "Izumi" released in 1917.
The "spring" is just a ceramic men's urinal placed face up. It wasn't made by Duchan, it was a commercial industrial product, and he just signed it. The sign is also a pseudonym.
Duchan criticizes many of his previous works of art as "retinal paintings that enjoy the stimulus of the eyes." Duchan introduced this "fountain" to the world in an attempt to advocate a new art that gives pleasure to the mind (brain). It was the only handmade product that was valuable and broke the preconceived notion of "beauty is good" in the art world. Duchan's work means that a new horizon has been opened to create unprecedented art from scratch. In this way, various art movements were born after Duchan.
It was Joseph Beuys (1921-86, Germany) who abandoned the old forms of painting and sculpture and turned "behavior" into art. Voice made his actions art and named it "action."
Art appears and disappears in the time that Voice is present and occurs with the people involved. What the voice left behind is just a trace. Those who couldn't attend the scene imagine the meaning of the voice's actions from the traces. In this way, art changed from "things" to "things."
Boyce is also known for his involvement in college education and for his active intervention in politics. Such social activities were called "social sculptures" and claimed to be artistic activities. In this way, artistic acts are regarded as practical activities that create and move society in the same way as politics and economy, and a flow of artists who actively act is created.
Andy Warhol (1928-87, USA) made a visible work of the desires of people in the consumer society. His representative work is a silk screen that uses still photographs of stars such as Marilyn Monroe. There is neither an artist's original way of drawing nor a time-consuming quest. As you can see from the fact that he called his atelier a factory, that is, a factory, Warhol was mass-producing his works just as he would "produce" them at the factory.
The 20th century was an American era in which consumer civilization was enjoyed, but its essence was not so optimistic. It can be said that it is a flimsy era in which everything is consumed and its value is judged by superficial things. Even human death and misery are subject to consumption.
Warhol's work is a portrait of such a consumer civilization. It can be said that it praises deep sorrow behind the superficial frivolity.
Recommendation of reading
This book is also an introduction to authentic contemporary art. We tend to instinctively avoid what we don't understand, and contemporary art may also be received in such circuits. But the abstracter read this book and felt it was too wasteful. There are no how-tos written today that can be applied to tomorrow's business. However, when I look at it over the long span of life, I cannot help but think that it is very valuable to become familiar with contemporary art and to improve art thinking.
This book also contains a list of notable contemporary artists from Japan and abroad, and the space is also devoted to ideas for realizing innovation. Why don't you touch the essence of art thinking?