Creativity Ideas

Anticipation Creep: “Renovation Creep” Pre-Review

As a card carrying member of Generation Y, I have no need to enter an art gallery. My card, by the way, is a coffee card as my generation saturates bottomless mugs with über-caffeinated espresso beans and inhales the joe like sweet ambrosia from the sweat of Zeus. Even if someone in my cohort did enter an art gallery, it would likely be to refill their coffee or, at best, would be a virtual art gallery accessed from the safety of their Google portal.

Tomorrow night I am going where only the most ironic hipsters of my generation have ventured before: a bona fide art gallery. And before you raise objections, I am not going for extra credit, for money, or to impress a significant other. No, instead I am going on an appointment-only tour of Chicago’s Antena project space to see their current installation Renovation Creep (search archives when link goes out of date).

A collaboration of three artists, Daniel Bruttig, Joe Cassan, and Erin Thurlow, Renovation Creep is described as, “simultaneously material and ephemeral,” while illustrating the, “haunted, transitory nature of urban apartment dwelling” ( With sections devoted to “History,” “Palimpsest,” “Patina,” and “Labyrinth,” (I think) the installation intervenes into our notions of urban consciousness and architectural anthropology.

Now two things about this post are problematic. One, I haven’t yet been to this art gallery so I am not experientially equipped to offer an evaluation. Second, my vocabulary does not include half the words in the description of the installation and leaves me running to the dictionary to decode terms like “Palimpsest” and “Patina”. So why am I assuming this pretentions hipster pretense with a pre-review? It’s because I want to animate that moment of anticipation that we too often neglect.

As I anticipate my gallery experience tomorrow, I conjure images of choreographed urban decay and fabricated apartment furnishings. I imagine the intimidating literacy of my tour guide and the transparency of my artistic ignorance. I imagine how the installation will surprise me with its intricacy while disappointing me with its artifice. Finally, I imagine going home and entering my urban home with a new recognition of the apartment as a historical labyrinth.

All these predictions may prove pathetically off. I may completely misunderstand the exhibit and walk through like a lost child desperately searching for familiarity in a foreign shopping mall. Maybe my tour guide will be a frat brother with a keen interest in art. Or maybe I’ll never even make it to the art gallery and instead rush home to my Google. At minimum I hope this last outcome does not pan out.

My point is that we need to collectively spend more time in an anticipatory paradigm. Let’s make assumptions and recognize them. Let’s write them down. Then let’s enter an experience and allow ourselves to be challenged and to see where the chips fall. Let’s ultimately learn to test ourselves. It’s an exercise that will shift our assumptions and inspire our ultimate assessments.

Of course, you can write this off as the misguided ramblings of a fledgling blogger. Maybe that’s what I anticipate. But at least I did. We’ll see in your comments and in my review in the coming days.

BLG Leadership Insights Features

Snow White the Artistic Entrepreneur

In 1930’s movies and popular shorts were exclusively produced and distributed by seven studios: Paramount, Universal, MGM, Twentieth Century–Fox, Warner Bros., Columbia, and RKO. These seven studios known collectively as “the studio system” monopolized what the American public saw and heard.

In 1934 Walt Disney started work on a feature length cartoon that was mocked and derided by Hollywood studios as “Disney’s Folly.” Disney’s project was called,  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The major studio heads believed that adults, not children, were the principal economic force driving studio profits. Disney’s announcement that he would make an eighty-three-minute cartoon out of a well-known fairy tale seemed preposterous at best.

To make matters worse Disney planned to spend three times the average Hollywood budget to produce the film. In the middle of the Great Depression studio heads from all corners of Hollywood expected the venture to bankrupt Disney.

To say they were wrong would be a gross understatement.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made a lifetime domestic gross of $184,925,486 across its original release and several reissues. To give some perspective that figure adjusted by inflation is about $866,550,000 in today’s dollars. Compare that to Avatar’s domestic gross of “only” $761,577,300. Apple and Avatar have mastered creative genius in varying degrees, but no one has put all the components of creative genius together quite like Walt Disney. 

The movie was also the first to have an official soundtrack. In a true genius stroke, Disney created multiple licensable characters that he transitioned from the silver screen to toys and theme-park characters. As Edward Jay Epstein notes in his article on the economics of Hollywood: “Here was Hollywood’s future: Its profits would come not from squeezing down the costs of producing films but from creating films with licensable properties that could generate profits in other media over long periods of time.”

Today the name Disney is synonymous with innovation and imagination. The key to Walt Disney’s early success was the strategic ability to anticipate and subsequently create a business model centered on creating entertainment focused on children. Furthermore, Disney entered an industry that was able to leverage its strengths in order to create a stronghold in a rapidly growing market segment. In short, Disney’s skill lay in his creative genius.

Disney in many ways the first artistic entrepreneur.

An artistic entrepreneur is capable of doing three critical things:

  1. Possessing a unique voice
  2. The exceptional capacity to change that voice into a product
  3. Translating the new product for a growing market that will continue

When leading we should never forgot Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Picture Credit: PGamba