Ocio y Negocio (Leisure and Business)

September 2, 2014

It’s become quite common to find articles in business-oriented publications where Masters of Arts programs are likened to Masters in Business Administration programs, encouraging the thinking that a Master of Fine Arts degree is the new MBA. Clever writers toss figures and statistics to show that the most important skill now required for the leaders of global empires to navigate this highly complex, volatile, and uncertain world is – take a guess – creativity. The biased image of an artist as shaman, pariah, rebel, or dreamer has undergone a transformation to that of an enchanted little frog awaiting the lucky kiss of the labor market to become a prince charming: a builder, an engineer, an analyst, a human relations or a communications expert, a project leader, a designer, a strategist, or perhaps a salesperson. Now add to this their adaptability – artists more than anyone else have the capability of working in the most varied trades and environments. They are visionary risk takers, passionate about what they do. Plus, they are masters of double entendre and ambiguity. When something’s trending, they’ve already gone and come back. Artists are the optimal candidates to replace a workforce nearing retirement, one that was never able to master anything beyond the “think outside the box” business motto.      

The market, as a vehicle will turn into reality what every cutting edge artistic movement barely even dreamt of. From the imitative production chain of Rubens’ studio through the creative myth of Bauhaus, from the experiments at Black Mountain College through the opening of the Free University of Beuys and Böll, from Dewey’s teachings through Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster or The Emancipated Spectator, the art card has been decisive in rethinking utopia. In the past, the market freed the art from the Church and the State, and now the market will become the vanguard capable of launching art from the crib to the school, and from there onto corporations, manufacturing plants, and offices. The human supermarket will use the artist – an artist who no longer appeals to his talent but to his attitude. The motto of “every man is an artist” should suffice to start this revolution leaning towards a complete professional deconstruction. 

Fortunately, art is so many things that it does not have to be a profession. Its practice, as leisure, is the antithesis to business. An educational system in the arts must indeed guarantee that students can feel very professional and share their knowledge in accordance to any kind of rigor, be it academic or professional, yet never abandon its regular dosage of skeptic homeopathy, droplets of lingual hesitation and free time for that invisible learning which is the hidden agenda of its members, the artists, the good-for-nothings, the indispensables.

“I am a breather […] I am just lazy,” as Marcel Duchamp used to say.