120 Day Blog Death … and Yosi Sergant

According to Doug McLennan’s recent San Francisco talk about the Culture Business in an Attention Economy, if a blog isn’t updated for 120 days it dies. Officially. And while I haven’t been updating this blog lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogs, diplomacy and directness. I’ve also been thinking about what happens when emerging leaders who embrace new models and radical action take on highly visible roles in long-esteemed institutions. Emails go viral. Sentences are taken out of context. Rules and regulations are in force (and enforced).

I’ve been thinking a lot about Yosi Sergant, and reading the debate on Jeff Chang’s blog. I’ve been thinking a lot about politics, and provincialism, and wondering if it is possible to write an interesting blog anymore if you are The Administration.

Why do we become The Administration? I say this, half-joking and half-horrified, because a grassroots leader I know is referred to that way by her staff. “The Administration” refers to just one person.

I know a lot of emerging leaders who want to be the director of an organization someday. I don’t know any who want to become “The Administration.”

Sigh … in a perfect world the Yosi Sergants would wield ongoing power and have infinite connections to serve their mission without joining the NEA. But that is a tough row to hoe. In a perfect world we’d all be making art in the service of an insurrection, by the people for the people. But in this world, we can’t even use the word insurrection without having to defend it. And the most talented insurrectionists I know are also talented at finding money and administrations to back them up.

Back to the blog–I guess I’m feeling a little doubt these days about what’s safe and what’s fair. I’m not giving up the blog. But it merits more thought.

And on “emerging leadership” … I’ll be giving a very short talk on behalf of the San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals as part of Friday Nights at the de Young, this Friday night. If you are wrestling with these same issues, come join us–it will be good times!

One Comment
  1. Lex,

    Even as someone who works for you I still feel the exact same conflicts and ponder the same questions. One look at my old cheesy myspace blog reveals how much I wrote more personally and about my life, opinions on art, and my experiences with the tumultuous politics of SOMArts circa 2006. I often struggle with what it means to be the public version of myself, especially with information so much more accessible to a broader array of people these days. Your situation is of course further complicated with being the public representative of SOMArts.

    I believe keeping it real on your blog is what keeps you from being “The Administration” in the negative sense. When you were named ED of SOMArts one of the reasons I was so excited about it was that I was able to read your blog and listen to the Art Agenda before you arrived. It made all the difference in the world to be able to get a sense of your work and your thoughts on art politics.

    I’m leaving to go to an art opening at Good Vibrations…Which I am hesitant to blog about because I recently found out that my future in-laws read my blog via facebook. Their inability to understand or engage the art world that I’m a part of has led me to fear their judgment and misconceptions the most. I know that’s a little less complicated than the judgment of funders, the SFAC, or our board but I certainly get where you’re coming from.

    To sum up, it sucks when we have to be calculating in what should be a space for free thought on life, art, and politics. I’m still trying to figure out what the boundaries are for all of my web 2.0 selves out there. Even if you do sign my paychecks, I am grateful that there’s someone out there that I know that gets it.

    Have you ever listened to N.W.A.’s Express Yourself? It’s always my favorite song to turn to when thinking about these issues. It has one of my favorite music videos of all time. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IOsWsS_dzM&feature=18
    As Dr. Dre says in the song “though some musicians cuss at home
    they’re scared to use profanity when up on the microphone.”

    Food for thought,

    Rio

    Posted September 16, 2009 j

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