Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Culture on 'terrain vague' and management learning from art by Pierre Guillet de Monthoux

...and on conditions of growth...

Adam Smith's Aesthetics

"(P)ower and riches.....(are)...enormous and operose machines contrived to produce a few trifling conveniences to the body, consisting of springs the most nice and delicate, which must be kept in order with the most anxious attention, and which in spite of all our care are ready every moment to burst into pieces, and to crush in their ruins their unfortunate possessor." (1979, p.185)

Business firms and corporations develop complex technologies to produce the goods we need. Their profit is the reward for satisfying our desires. But what do we desire? Which are our needs? In this "Theory of Moral Sentiment" Adam Smith notes the fragility of ephemeral technological attraction. Machines, technical devices and clever innovations are but clumsy material garbage when their magic and enchantment is gone. Without its aesthetic aura the most perfect product is but scrap good for recycling only. Adam Smith tires to grasp what turns a simple object into "wealth" or "riches" and by which "powers" some organisations attract wide political and financial support. To Smith there is one main reason or principle for popularity and success of both products and organisations....

"...the same principle, the same love of system, the same regard to the beauty of order, or art and contrivance, frequently serves to recommend those institutions which tend to promote public welfare...They make part of the great system of government, and the wheels of political machines seem to move with more harmony and ease by means of them." (1979, p. 185)

Those who today quote from Smith's "Wealth of Nations" have seldom studied his "Theory of moral Sentiments". For reasons we will not enter upon here Art and Aesthetics have been absent from the subject of economics. But in the field of management there is today an Aesthetics trend much akin to Adam Smith's suggestion. Managers are reminded of the importance of the "beauty of social organisation" in order to recruit and motivate human resources in their businesses (Ramirez 1991). Managers who aim at establishing good customer relations could improve their understanding about the quality of good communication from fields of Art (England 1986). Even texts in management have noticed that the marketing problem of identifying authentic human needs is a traditional query in the field of Aesthetic philosophy (Wiesmann 1989). This goes for the question of how to understand all organisational behaviour that seems so hopelessly irritated from the point of view of standard economic doctrines. Abandoning the functionalistic perspective on organisations for an Aesthetical one makes us realize overlooked expressive dimensions of work and business (Strati 1992). The architectural aspects of corporate offices and factories attract the attention of organisation scholars (Gagliardi 1992). In the field of strategy, where much has been written about "visions" and "imagination", Aesthetics has been used for better understanding the processes of organisation engagement and participation (Scharmer 1991).

To managerial traditionalists both Art and Aesthetics is strange and confusing. They were never mentioned in the Management Schools. The tough self-made business man tends to look upon Art as a potentially profitable investment in social status made mainly to please ones snobbish spouse. Employees of corporations might meet for drinks in Art associations, but after office hours only. And it is certainly drinks more than paintings that attract the manager to a gallery opening. Still managers feel that the Aesthetic dimension of products and services has an impact on both industrial and consumer markets. One speaks of Aesthetization and refers to the increased overlap between the art-world and the world of business.

There seems to be two standard reactions to such an Aesthetization.

Reading reports from industries where the business and art worlds overlap indicate the first managerial strategy of "Exclusion" versus Art and Aesthetics. A recent study of the music and motion picture industry is permeated by the managerial attitude of "Exclusion" (Bjoerkegren 1992). Management organise to isolate the business centre from the places and people that create the very Art they make a profit selling. In publishing ties to authors also seemed for instance to be very loose. Publishing managers followed the events on the literary scene but at a distance. Contacts were made with young promising authors in spurious conversations at superficial parties. The real investment in tomorrow's Nobel prize laureates seemed to boil down to some minutes gossip over a glass of cheap wine. Music industry managers almost tended to look upon bands and records as shares in a financial portfolio. Success tended to be debated in statistical terms. The art world was marginalized "outside" a business world and in consequence artistic creativity was seen as some strange and mystical underground alchemy. In industries following the "exclusion" strategy the professional Arts manager has more in common with brokers on financial markets than with his own artists. He sees job as picking the best fruit and harvest what has ripened out in the poor jungle of marginalized art. The rationalisation of culture into some streamlined showbiz fosters managers believing that the basic skill required are found in the traditional toolbox of "Risk Management". Increased professionalisation of such an Arts Management paradoxically entails increased managerial estrangement towards Arts and Aesthetics.

The second strategy is manifest in contemporary management trends such as "Design Management", "Quality Management" or "Service Management". If managers can't beat artists they should join them. If Aesthetization is the key to business success Art has to be a property carefully controlled by the corporation. Instead of marginalising artists on a hard market they must be integrated in the organisational hierarchy as jesters of the corporate courts. To be successful Art and Design are to be located in the power centre at the top of the corporate pyramid. Beside "organisational power" the successful designer is most observant. His ability to convince engineers and managers rests on the factual arguments derived from accurate observations of users and customers. Not a word of Aesthetic charm or Art as attractive per se. The meagre message brought to managers in the gospel of "Design Management" is far from Adam Smith's insight (Lorenz 1985). If the managing director rename Art into Design and thus gives it organisation functional authority his business will thrive. The trivial advice is illustrated by numerous cases showing HOW profitable Art can become once it gets encapsulated in the organisation. But the strategy of "Inclusion" leaves the question WHY it may work totally unanswered.

Both strategies of Exclusion and Inclusion actually share a profound incapacity to understand WHY ART works for business. "Arts-Excluded" and "Arts-Included" remain factors unknown; hidden in black-boxes. To brake them up takes something else than the propaganda of "Design Management" or the statistical models of "Risk Management". Old Adam Smith knew pretty well what the key issue was.

Organisation on the Terrain Vague - Gateways to the ART WORLD.

To industrialists Art worlds are confusing, to say the least. What are people really doing out there? Attempts to pin-point activities in the neat categories of say "production", "consumption" or "distribution" fail miserably. It is equally problematic to discern specific places for special tasks. Where are the offices, the factories, the market? The issues of where to find the art world and who really belongs to it has to be continuously reassessed. But in the cosmopolis of urban art there are however some gateways to this terrain vague. Let's look at two openings to the organisations.

There are houses for Muses, be it Dramatic Theatres, Lyric Operas, Concert Halls or Picture Galleries. Today's Museum has abandoned the role of the aristocratic "Wunderkammer" where curiosities and fortunes were exhibited to impress a flabbergasted populace. The admiration of the King's or Prince's art was undoubtedly an important factor in the formation of authority. Charisma depended on both the charms and pomp of princely treasures. The democratisation of modern states saw the transformation of Feudal Museums. On the one hand the large stores and bazaars of early industrialisation came to inherit some of the circus-like attractivity of the old Wunderkammer. It was not uncommon for large department stores like Bon Marche in France, Marshall Field and Wanamker in America to house picture galleries and concert halls ( Saisseling 1990, Guillet de Monthoux 1987). Early industrial manufactures, fascinated by the technological ability to mechanically multiply and reproduce original forms, often turned to the museal beauty of ancient art for models to copy (Higgins 1932). The fine arts-values of the old Royal museum thus survived in the organisational form of the modern marketplace.

On the other hand the state came to mobilise Museums in the process of democratisation. In fin-du-sciecle Germany a wild and potentially revolutionary "Masse" was, according to socially inclined curators, to be tamed into a civilised "Volk" by pedagogical exhibitions of state Museums (Junge 1992). In the US pragmatists, like John Dewey (1958), gave modern art the mission to democratise American folk. Art brought people together and opened up to collective experience. Art was a peaceful cure against social "compartmentalisation" and class barriers. To devote public money to open Art collections was both an efficient and agreeable way of carrying out democratic reforms. Children were to be socialised by folkculture in Museums for Contemporary Art. Museums no longer concentrated on tracking down an old and forgotten historical past. By exposing the latest avant-garde Art Museums attempted to turn to the future. They made the "seismographic" sensitivity of contemporary artists available to youngsters open to visions good for shaping their own future.

Art schools also underwent changes. The Royal Art Academy of the last century, where professors initiated young artists in traditional methods and values, was replaced by Art Schools. "Creativism" and its faith in the ability of a gifted student to spontaneously develop innate talents succeeded the old Academism. The creed of spontaneity sometimes took extreme forms as when, for instance, Joseph Beuys in the spirit of 68 refused to perform the habitual selection of candidates to the Duesseldorf Academy. He accepted all applicants into his overcrowded studio and was subsequently dismissed from his chair.

Most modern Art Schools, however, seem to offer a balanced mix of social initiation and technical instruction. Already the German Bauhaus of the Weimar and Dessau periods was proud of its advanced technical equipment (Michaud 1993). Today's computerisation where numbers and words are transmuted into images on a screen or volumes in a hologram has erased the limits between Text/Image and Theory/Practice. The idea of a strictly practical Arts education, rooted in a concept of art being mainly a craft, is untenable. Many modern artists work theoretically by materialising ideas. Modern Art, like modern technology, thrives by the interplay between manufacturing and science. Art schools can not be without theory. For the very same reason as many Hi-Tech parks have scrapped the policy of keeping production and research labs apart.

The social initiation is mostly achieved by appointing famous artists as part-time teachers. While Academism dominate in the educational system at large, Art Schools see a risk with a full time staff. They may get stuck with artistically unproductive professors satisfied by the social status and respect they get through their tenure academic position. But only active artists can provide guidance to newcomers in a modern art world. The teachers must not only produce themselves. They must be active on the art scene in order to teach newcomers to "stage" and organise their work in "performances" of shows and exhibitions. If the old Bauhaus provide an early example of the importance of sound and modern technical instruction the art-actions of the Bauhaus Situationists, and their sociological art forms, illustrate how installations, provocation's, performances, events and happenings shape both art-work and art-worlds at the same time (Sellem 1992). Modern art is itself about organising and the artist has to be an organiser.

Those nostalgic for the good old Museum can go to a modern shopping-mall. If you want to know how old Art Academies formed students you might just go to any modern management school or university. Historians tell us how yesterdays art world has influenced today's business institutions. Manager may therefore learn about their future organisation by observing today's art world.

Workplace - The Studio

"I need to be alone. When I was younger I was different. But when I got accepted at the Art Academy I locked myself up in the studio. We were given larger studios every year. Sometimes we visited each others studios to talk about work. I did not like talking. I moved into my studio and lived there, although we were not supposed to. For two years I did not allow anyone in. In retrospect I think this was the whole point of the Academy. To teach you some skills but mainly to give you time to develop yourself."

Like many artists she has several places of her own. Places where she prepares, stores and performs her work. Somewhere she has a flat I have never been to. Nobody has for the last five years. It's full of old furniture, she says. Things that belonged to dead people. She will throw it all out, when she has the energy to. Other people inhabit the objects. They impose themselves on her life through the furniture. When she invited me "home" we therefore went to a cellar deep down in an old house. The space belongs to someone who handed her a spare key. The owner's stuff was crammed up in a corner. A bicycle, spare care tires and a set of ugly suits. I rightly guessed he was an engineer. Her own stuff was neatly arranged on wooden shelves. A photographer from an art magazine had been there to take some pictures. But she seldom worked in the cellar. Her regular studio was a room with large windows in a kind of house with lots of other artists around. The window curtains were constantly drawn. The room was electricity lit. In a corner a camp bed, scattered books and papers, objects halfdone, paint on the floor and a table with two chairs. There was a sort of common room with a kitchen. When the others were away she used their microwave to "bake" small figures for a new sculpture. We drank a bottle and she cooked a nice dinner. Then I went home.

Next day I tried to reach her in her flat. She slept in the studio but checked her answering machine and phoned back. I met her later that day. She had been down to the Academy but on her way she felt ill and wanted some rest. She dropped into a gallery and had a cup of coffee. She felt better and could go to a meeting in a school where she was invited to make a presentation of her work later that week. She insisted on seeing the room where the meeting was going to be. The spirit of the room, she meant, would help her pick objects for the show and inspire the way in which she would do the presentation.

After that meeting she dashed off to "work" for a couple of hours. She made a living as an extra reading galleys for a publisher. She had graduated in journalism and actually worked a while for some provincial newspapers. This was before she became an artist.

This reminds me of another artist friend of mine. He has two flats and a cellar. The cellar is in France and the flats in Sweden. The last time he visited the cellar where he keeps sculptures was in the sixties, I think. When he told me, it reminded me of Picasso's habit of keeping untouched apartments all over Paris, places he had once lived in but walked out of some day long, long ago. When he felt like it he went back and looked at the dusty traces of his life. Everything was as he had left it ten or twenty years earlier. My friend got the keys to his Parisian place in the thirties. Sometimes he is a little worried about the stuff he keeps there. His room in Stockholm is full of books, drawings, drafts and models of sculptures. There is a large table, a bed and a fridge. Two chairs and the bookshelves for a small part of his collection the main part of which he keeps in a larger flat in another Swedish town he seldom visits. In Stockholm he finds it too small to work. He travels a lot. "Please, please help me to find some place I could work" he says. But he is constantly doing things. Writing, reading or talking over the phone.

Artists sometimes work in galleries too. The room of exposition becomes a space for creation. The pictures become frescoes for "that" particular wall in "that" particular room (Lawless 1990). The artist arrives on the site of the show. Alone with his energy and intuition. He may bring some brushes but buys most materials locally. Or he simply picks it up from dustbins and recycles the rejects of "that" particular place. The gallery works as a "showroom", a place of intense work during a short period before the opening. The gallery becomes like a workshop for the artist and his assistants. Curators roam around, writers and photographers working on the catalogue watch and comment.

Spaces of work, rest and reflection. Rooms where rare and carefully selected visitors get an archaeological impression of travelling back in the artists intimate life. Spaces full of "souvenirs" in form of scattered objects and artwork from previous periods. Spaces of memory. Rooms of nostalgia to which the artist returns for contemplation and rest.

Marketplace - The Gallery

"Don't dare to go out for a drink. Not even that. He hangs around everywhere. I can't stand his locks. He makes me sick and I am afraid of him all since I had my show in his gallery. Objects were missing. Objects I really liked. My best stuff at that time. When I complained he was furious. He said there had been a burglary. But he did not make a police complaint about it. There was no insurance, of course. "Who cares for your stuff anyway", he muttered. When I insisted, he asked me who I thought I was. "You are none", he said, "you're nothing and of no importance". Finally he had a complaint filed, but under my name. Still I don't know what happened to my artwork. But I know he sells objects to collectors. His gallery is registered as a non-profit organisation for tax purposes so he prefers to make deals without invoices and such. I wonder who has my objects now? At the same time one can't deny that he is doing interesting things on the art scene. He organises performances and installations for young artists. For us who are 'nothing'."

What is a gallery? Hardly a regular shop. Who is the gallerist? Not any merchant indeed. He can be a collector who occasionally deals with art? A curator who takes care of offering art experiences to a community? Coming back from an exhibition my friend exclaimed:

"She is such a nice and gentle woman. I have seldom felt such kindness in a gallery. 'We are so happy you could come', she said. I felt she really meant it. I was happy too. Only second-generation gallerists can be so considerate and kind."

From an artists point of view the gallerist is a person with whom the relation is a very delicate affair. Someone who opens up his space to art and enlarges the circle of people taking part in its reception. This introduction is the more complicated as the audience are amateurs. They want to discover by themselves, be almost secretly charmed and seduce as much as they are themselves seduced.

The relationship between an artist and the gallerists can be utterly tense. It is not difficult to find artists who actively avoid gallerists. They give economic reasons like high commissions on sales or elevated rent for the space. They don't like gallerists to pick objects for a show and control the layout of the exhibition. Every artist fears ugly dealers monopolising his work by keeping it locked up in their stock till he dies. Some artists therefore end up renting their own commercial space, turn their studios into galleries. For instance rent some old shop on street level. Or they arrange studio shows to which they invite potential buyers one by one. There are a multitude of strategies developed to avoid gallerists who have deteriorated to "traders" and "dealers" only.

Paul Klee, Wasilij Kandinski and Lyonel Feininger, for instance arranged their respective "association" of supporting collectors each contributing a fixed annual sum that gave the artist's a regular revenue (Junge 1992). Each year the members were allowed to pick their choice out of the artist's production. Groups of artists, as for example "Die Bruecke", are frequently made up of collectors as well as artists and art critiques. Such "circles" enable a close relationship between artists and amateur-marchards all very different from the impersonal relations of trade and business. Successful curators and collectors spend considerable time corresponding and conversing with the artists. They develop friendly relations and follow closely the production with a keen and sometimes well donated interest in the artist's personal and theoretical development (Khanweiler 1962). In the history of modern avant-garde there are many cases of close artist-collector friendships. Artists finding moral as well as financial support with art lovers that tend to wear all the various hats of gallerists, collectors, dealers and critiques at the same time. There are, of course, numerous examples of which perhaps that of Edward Munch's friendships with Israel Bar Neuman, Walther Rathenau or Albert Kollmann is but one example. Any investigation into the career of a successful modern artist will soon reveal such good friends in the background. Crucial relations like Marcel Duchamp and Walter Arensberg or Joseph Beuys and the brothers van der Grinten underline that it's a matter more of friendship than patronage. If we take an interest in the history of art merchants we will often encounter a family tradition, as in the case of Tannhauser, or a international connections, like with Alfred Flechtheim. When collectors of this calibre slip into the business of art dealing they look upon art as far more than a product. They actively shape the aura of art by presentations, introductions and theoretical and poetical interpretations.

The gallerist makes business but has primarily a mission of "introducing" artworks. The gallerist Tannhauser in Munich, who contributed considerable to the success of the Blaue Reiter movement, arranged exhibitions in small apartment-like rooms so that visitors might enjoy art as if in their homes. Turn of the century curators reformed their dusty and old museums into "churches" of modern art where the artwork imposed its presence with the sacral authority of "the altar in the church" (Junge 1992, p. 286). The museum became a theatre of modern art with the curator as its director. Rooms were specially decorated to stage pictures and sculptures in a theatrical fashion. The curators became magicians who animated art before the eyes of the visitors. Objects were arranged in space so that would "communicate" by "dynamic effects" of inner tension. Poets recited and musicians played at the openings. Instead of simply listing titles, names and prices the art catalogue turned into an art history document with printed reproductions and theoretical essays.

Curators, collectors and gallerists also took on the responsibility of conservators. They began to take an active interest in safeguarding the original and its "mysterious fusion of matter and idea" (Junge 1992, p.265). And pretty often even a brand new original had to be protected. It had to be rescued and reconstructed out of scattered and bleak remainings. After the intense process of creation the artist often abandoned his work. Time went by and new projects absorbed the creator. In such processes the old pieces were sometimes crabbed into material for new objects. New paintings covered the old canvasses. The old motion picture gets cut up and reshuffled into a new collage (Brownlow 1983). In this process of destructive construction the original piece becomes annihilated or loses its glow and power. Conservators take away the new layers and uncover the "original" buried under subsequent alterations. In doing this they also become co-producers of masterpieces before which the artist may even stand stunned. Conservators not only rescue the original masterpiece; they re animate the intentions and ideas in the artwork. Artists may themselves lack in understanding towards conservators' preoccupation's of safeguarding old long forgotten work. Conservators articulate contexts of which artists, human medias through which tendencies manifest themselves, are unconscious.

The collector-gallerist-curator-conservator has a complex task in the transfer of a piece of work from the artist's private realm to the public space of a collection. Walking through a museum, this space of public utility financed by public taxes, paradoxically aims at giving an intense personal experience. The collector, while building up a private fortune, frequently deposits his art in a public museum. Where there is Art the private and the public becomes a blurred "vague" space. On such a terrain vague there are seldom clear-cut functional areas. Work, administration and leisure fuse. The phone and stack of paper in the corner of the studio is the artist's office. Amateur-dealers like Herwath Walden or Alfred Flechtheim lived in their galleries and exposed in their living-space. Niki de Saint-Phalle lives in her studio that, in turn, is going to be a monument in her future show "the Garden of Tarot". The famous German Kandinski collector Ralfs regarded his paintings not as objects to shelter but as children to cherish. His paintings were part of his family.

Children move and develop and so does Art. The artist's studio is today often like a transit hall of an international airport. It is jammed with huge boxes to be dispatched all over the world to new shows. Modern art is thus constantly "on tour". So are its artists.

Business - The Bar

Once upon a time space was visible in art. Landscapes appeared on the canvas and so did the artists studio. Ancient studios were, however, planned according to precise standards. They had to be large enough to harbour a huge monumental canvas. Bright enough to provide the right northern light for working. It was really more of a workshop than a studio. A workspace both for the artist and his assistants. In the studio a team was at work led by the master surrounded by apprentices learning, for a slight tuition, on the job. It was when Art left the Craft, that is this "guild-like" organisation disappeared. Art turned "academic" and the old masters became tenure professors in their Majesty's service. The workshop changed into a school where young artists learned the traditions and were socialised into a market for mainly public official decoration. The apprentices turned into students assembled in factory-like studios to produce copies under the supervision of the professor. The revolt against this Academic model became one of the sparks that triggered many modern Avant-Garde movements.

Impressionists escaped from the dusty Academies out in the sunlight of landscapes. The workshop discipline was abolished for the anti-authoritarian life of the "free artist". Instead of submitting their artwork to the judgement of commissars avant-gardists arranged independent shows of their own (Michaud 1990). The only fixed address of the avant-gardist was the bar or the cafe where he bartered his paintings for food and drinks. When Wilhelm Uhde 1905 became the first private customer of a Picasso painting he found it, by chance, in a junk shop and then later that same day, also by pure coincidence, encountered Pablo in his real quarters; the cafe "Lapin Agile". The established academic artists received their friends and customers in their salon-studios. The master artist could be visited in his workshop. But the avant-garde gathered and networked in the cafe (Lemaire 1987). Hardly any twentieth century art movement can be correctly accounted for without mentioning aesthetic clearing houses like the cafes or the bars. In Paris dadaism thrived at the "Cafe Certa" and the "Petit Grillon" and, of course, the famous "Boeuf sur le Toit". The innkeepers and publicans did not seldom develop into important collectors and art dealers like the famous "Mutter Ey" in Duesseldorf, supporter and friend of many expressionists and dadaists during the Weimar republic.

The bar and the cafe, public spaces "par excellence", became the real intimate homes of artists. Again an example of how the private space is transformed into a public art world once artwork has been introduced. The home of the artist, as well as that of the collector, is never a strictly private matter in an individualistic sense. One may wonder if there is any room for a "home" at all in the Art world?

Aesthetic - Processes of Art

There are many negative definitions of Aesthetics. We know it exists but neither observations nor logical proof can account for it. In a recent managerial approach to Aesthetics we are told that it has little to do with taste, pleasure, illusion or language (Ramirez 1991). It is situated in between ethics and science. In a rational no-mans-land. On the terrain vague.

Indeed Immanuel Kant used Aesthetics for gluing his two critiques of pure and practical reason together and thus close his large philosophical system. Kant's aesthetics in the Critique of Judgement is divided into the aesthetics of attractive beauty and that of the fearful sublime. Those who stand in admiration before something beautiful or are impressed by the sublime can, Kant teaches, justly claim a generality and objectivity of their aesthetic judgement. It is not just merely beautiful for me. My judgement applies for the rest of humanity as well. And this despite the fact that we can't logically prove it or support our personal judgement with scientific facts. Aesthetics, to Kant, explains the epistemological paradox that we, in practice, often can correctly conceive and judge without words, concepts or rules.

In the Kantian philosophy such paradoxes mostly occur when we stand in admiration before nature. Kant is interested in God's creation on earth and in heaven. The Kantian artist is a demiurg mediating between nature and humanity.

Kant's theory of this God-given creative genius inspired the Aesthetics or romanticism. Art was seen as a truthful research report about God's nature. To for instance Schelling modern science had to follow the artistic method in order to reveal nature's secrets. The poet's imagination was the basis of art which, in turn, provided knowledge about life. Only the genius of artists could catch the spiritual in nature. For Schelling or the early Hegel on artwork provided us with a scientific connection to the spiritual. The role of Aesthetics was to explain how Art could miraculously liberate and vivify. How Art produced scientific knowledge about life itself.

The vivifying function of Art was to become the fundamental element in the Aesthetics of American pragmatists such as John Dewey. The Hegelian Dewey turned his back on the transcendental elements of romanticism and developed an Aesthetic of experience for democratic liberation. In Kant's tradition he stated that the beauty of art had little to do with formal properties or predicates. "Beauty" was a process, much as "truth" was to Dewey's pragmatist friend William James. Beauty was an experience of life and the purpose of Art was to introduce people to such experiences. Thus Art would help destroy social and organisational barriers and save people from corporate and social prisons. Art would turn them into free participants in a democratic society. As sacral and ceremonial Art in the past had helped to maintain the power of Popes and Kings modern popular Art, from "cartoons" to "jazzed music", should be the founding stone of the state. The Aesthetic experience in modernity was no longer limited to the cathedrals or the castles. Any worker in a factory or any consumer in a ship had both the right and the access to Aesthetic experience according to John Dewey.

German aesthetics under neo-Kantian inspiration, such as that of George Simmel, increasingly saw social phenomena as forms of art. Simmel points out that social organisation aims at attracting members by the means of both beauty and the sublime. To Simmel socialism and liberalism appeal to us because of their Aesthetic styles. Symbolic forms, present in traditional art, now permeate most social phenomena. Organisational symbolism's must be understood as Art forms and their study belongs to Aesthetics. Simmel's most important contribution to social Aesthetics is, of course, his work on "The Philosophy of Money".

Contemporary to Simmel Friedrich Nietzsche partly re-animated the romantic tradition in his Aesthetics. The early Nietzsche advocated a modern return to a Dionysian form of Art with a powerful ecstatic effect of fusing audience and performers. He illustrated a modern Dionysian art form with the Wagnerian opera which, in turn, was to become a archetype for hysterical modes of mass mobilisation of many political movements. Nietzsche maintained that such powerful effects were possible to decode through Aesthetic investigation. The motivational design and symbolic organisation of many corporations offer good parallels to the way in which a Wagnerian opera drags its mesmerised audience into a maelstrom of emotive energy.

The dynamics of art and the processes by which something suddenly acquires an artistic quality, is the subject of today's hermeneutical Aesthetics of e.g. Hans-Georg Gadamer. Gadamer uses the metaphor of "the play" to understand the "circle" in which the qualitative phenomena of Art almost mysteriously emerges. In slight opposition to Kant Gadamer sees Art as an anthropological phenomenon. It is not the task of sociology to define and demystify Art. It takes a philosophical approach to develop a sensitivity to the quality of Artworks and to "see" the intricate ways in which objects acquire a meaning during the common experience of an Aesthetic "play" in the Art world. In bringing back anthropology to the realm of philosophical Aesthetics Gadamer emphasises a humanistic everyday aspect of Art. He rejects the use of the world "culture" because of its naturalistic connotations as in, for instance, agriculture or horticulture. To Gadamer Art is a special field of education and tradition. he consequently prefers the German word "Bildung". "Bild" meaning "Image" the use of the word "Bildung" therefore emphasises the importance of "Imagination" to the Aesthetic domain.

Aesthetics from Kant to Gadamer is exploring the zone between science and ethics. Kant shows that the Beautiful and the Sublime tend toward the morally Good, but it should not be mistaken to be indenting to it. Gadamer admits that an artwork can occur in the midst of a habitual, usual or stable everyday world that is open to scientific observation. But Beauty should not be confounded with Truth. It is the task of philosophical Aesthetics to defend and expand the area between the Good and the True. Philosophers help us see and understand this terrain vague. They also point out a large field with its own modes of existence.

Modern Museums as Management Schools

But which are organisational tasks on a "terrain vague"? How could organising managers get something out of philosophical Aesthetics? Let's avoid the barren strategies of "Exclusion" and "Inclusion" mentioned above and turn to Art itself for concrete lessons beyond Academism and Craft-nostalgia? Here the modern museum is a good management school. Let's imagine a business man, trader or manager facing say a Marcel Duchamp ready-made in some prestigious museum of modern art.

What is this? An industrially produced component, a porcelain urinal, a metal bottle holder or a bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden chair. Then let him wander off to a picture of Yves Klein. In a separate room he encounters a sculpture by Nam June Paik consisting of sixty-nine telescreens entitled "Man".

Artwork can be used for Management teaching in the same way University art courses are based on slides of art. If art mixes well with technology why not with management? Art galleries are frequently located in science centres. Not as pure decoration, like the pictures in the board room, the fresco in the canteen or the sculpture in the lobby of the corporate office building. The gallery at the M.I.T. Media Tech Lab shows art directly connected to the cyberspace and holographic research of that lab. In the corporate world, where books mostly remain unread symbols on the shelf and where managerial rhetoric's contain more images and diagrams than words and rationcinations, a gallery is far more appropriate than a dusty library. That's what Saachi & Saachi and other advertising agencies realise when they turn their spaces into museums. That's why Fiat restored the Venetian Palazzo Grassi into an Art museum and Benetton founded an international Arts Centre where young talents are invited (Vidal 1992). Don't destroy young managerial talents in M.B.A. drills, do as the Italians, introduce them to artists, architects and philosophers. Send them to the museum where Marcel Duchamp lectures them straight through his ready-mades.

The manager will face the Duchamp ready-made with interest and envy. How come a common, simple, undifferentiated object can attain the fame of a Mona-Lisa? Mona-Lisa was one of a very few paintings made by that old inventor and military engineer Leonardo. The everyday world is crowded with urinals and bicycle wheels. This urinal could be removed any time from the museum for anyone to take a quick leak. What stops you from doing it right here in the museum? It is disconnected from the sewer, of course. Still you feel a low and ugly urge to pull down your fly and follow the dictates of your so-called "natural" needs. Why has nobody in need of rechange stripped Rauschenberg's famous Pop Art goat of his tire? Because it is famous and would be considered as much of a crime as when the madman threw acid on that Rembrandt or was it a Goya? Or when the poor cleaning woman removed the pile of rotting butter placed in a corner of a room by the late pope of Fluxus Joseph Beuys. She was sued for a huge sum of Deutsch Mark. What gives urinal, chunk of butterfat or spare tire their value? It's not like what made the pigments and oil so valuable in the hands of a Velasques or Breughel. The secret of a "ready-made" hardly resides in the craftsmanship of forming materials into a masterpiece. Nor does its attraction and interest depend on the signature or name by which it is branded. Look at the urinal, undoubtedly a real "Duchamp", but signed "R. Mutt" by Marcell! The matter of art value cannot be reduced to a question of brand names. The label must have an innovative support otherwise it will be like a pathetic graffiti of pure desperation on a desolate wall. The signature may help to identify and isolate an object on the art market but it does not account for its innovative power. And the urinal, the goat or the butterchunk are certainly referred to as modern archetypes of art innovations.

The lesson taught by a Duchamp ready-made is about innovation and value. It's about the impossibility to reduce success to either the artist (Duchamp's false signature) or the materiality of the artwork (Urinal, Tire or Butter bought ready-made by the artist). The success was due to the shock between contrasts. A ready-made is living in the aesthetic tension between the object and its cultural setting. Academic art is part of a tradition. The tradition of museums. A mass-produced product is embedded in an industrial context. Each object is positively adapted to its background. It fits rules, norms, values or the technical standards of its environment. But a urinal or a goat in a museum stand out against the background. It fits rules, norms, values or the technical standards of its environment. But a urinal or a goat in a museum stand out against the background. Stand out but without completely falling out. This negative adaptation create a tension between their profane and humble origins and the refined, almost sacral, surroundings of the museum. Marcel Duchamp was a master in generating and tapping the energy of such tensions. An entrepreneur thriving in the in-between terrain vague of aesthetics. Maintaining its tension by keeping it vague and elusive. Avoiding jargon, pseudo-scientific conceptualisations or easy explications of his own doings as an artist. Letting only the artwork act for him thereby shaping new art worlds.

Avant-gardists of various movements like Fluxus, Bauhaus, Pop Art, Neo Dada followed Master Duchamp. 1960, at Yves Klein's place in Paris, a group of New Realists was founded. Klein painted with fire, gold and the blue colour of water.

Fluxus uses the best and latest technology. Sometimes as industrial artists in residence directly invited by Hi-Tech corporations. They build new projects with standard hardware. In other words, they recycle materials strictly meant for use in a business-world into the art-world. They set free a technological magic threatened by dull standardisation and the bureaucratic mentality of large firms. The Fluxus guerrilla performs poetical underground attacks on different technologies. There is, for example, "land-art" using modern building technology to sculpture total landscapes. "Copy-art" using and misusing photocopying equipment. "Mail-art" performing ironical experimenting and shaping invisible global networks by means of postal communication systems. "FAX-art" not to forget, "Computer-art", of course. Some of the projects are small and jocular while others, e.g. the package-art of Christo, are like big business venture. Christo, well-known for wrapping up whole buildings or planting huge umbrellas in special textile material over vast landscapes, is both entrepreneur and artist. He organises 3-5 year projects with a well-integrated team of assistants. His projects are carefully planned and self-financed by sales of planning documents, like drawings, maps or prototypes, of the main project. What a regular manager would consider as waste paper, garbage proper for the dustbin gets recycled straight into the art-market by artist-entrepreneurs like Christo. Managers interested in motivating their teams or setting up a flexible organisation with a high mediatic visibility also have lots to learn from Christo, Fluxus or Pop Artists. But remember that it's all about Art and Aesthetics.

Between the happy amateur, just another imitative Homo Ludens, and the expensive and pretentious professional you find in the Advertising or Design business, there are serious artists who both use and make money expressing themselves. Don't mistake their enterprise for some Showbiz of Design. If you turn to Artists and Art for occasional entertainment or special effects for isolated advertising campaign you will never plug in any aesthetic energy. Modern cases from Italian Olivetti to Japanese Sony indicate it's more a matter of long run neo-feudal patronage than something for smart M.B.A. careerists.



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