Failure is the Recipe for Success in Art

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The Lumarca project by artist Albert Hwang, Matthew Parker at Eyebeam in New York City (photo: Patrick Lydon)
The Lumarca project by artist Albert Hwang, Matthew Parker at Eyebeam in New York City (photo: Patrick Lydon)

Fellow San Jose Arts Commissioner, Kaela Bernal forwarded me a note from the American Association of Museums this afternoon which pointed out a primary need to break down barriers, change mindsets, and also, most importantly to take risks.

The note got me to thinking more about this thing we call “innovation” and this thing we call “art.” Specifically how — against all logic –we go on about separating the two from each other.

In talking with the kind folks at ZERO1 regarding their innovative Garage project, I understand that they are also under the impression that we need to support and embrace failure in the arts.

Support and Embrace Failure!? Why on earth would we do such a thing?

Well, risk and failure are ideas which are central to innovation, and especially important to the tech culture of Silicon Valley, where failure = a chance to learn and grow. But somehow gets lost in translation when it comes to the arts. People don’t often put the arts and technology in the same light.

But iPhone or Joan Brown painting (ahem… there’s a wonderful Joan Brown exhibition up at SJMA right now) they’re both works of art from creative people, and they both have important utility in our society.

Anyway, that’s in the blasphemous world according to Patrick.

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