THERE'S STILL TIME TO BE A GENIUS - Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This Wired article discusses the work of economist David Galenson, who's discovered two kinds of artistic geniuses. He's plotted the artist's age when he made each work, whether painting, book or something else, versus its artistic value. Value can be its price in the case of fine art where prices are available, or it can be measured by the number of times the work is cited in standard textbooks.

So, for example, Picasso created his iconic Les Demoiselles d'Avignon at 27; but Twain didn't write Huckleberry Finn till he was 50. At 27, Twain hadn't even written "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and wouldn't for another five years. At 31, Pollack was a terrible painter; he'd do his best work later. At 40, Ezra Pound had said everything interesting he had to say. All that was left for him was to collaborate with the Fascists.

The idea is that some artists are conceptualists. They come up with an interesting way to reimagine their form. They may refine it as they get older, but unless they can reimagine the form more than once (as Picasso did), we're going to remember them by their early work. Experimentalists don't think things through, they work things through. That can take a lifetime.

Mozart vs. Beethoven. Alexander the Great vs. Churchill. Rimbaud vs. Robert Frost.

So, if you feel left behind by all those bastards who got their movie produced at 25... there's still time. And hope.

1 Comments:

Thanks.
Age 47 and still experimenting.

By Blogger Zoysia, at 9:55 PM  

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