January 18, 2007
Perhaps the new exhibit of Disney’s conceptually innovative art won’t come to the United States after its run in Paris and Montreal, but at least the catalog for show will — in English. The “Cartoon Brew” blog points out that Prestel Publishing will release the 360-page English-language version next month.
“Once upon a Time: Walt Disney: The Sources of Inspiration for the Disney Studios” costs $47.25 on Amazon.com.
That will let readers delve more deeply into Disney’s conceptual innovation style, as outlined in my post of Jan. 17.
January 17, 2007
My proposal that the the latest Walt Disney exhibit should come to the United States after it completes its run in Paris and Montreal has attracted its first support — from “The Disney Blog.”
I made that suggestion in a short item in my “Morning Eye” blog at the O.C. Register and in a longer post on Disney’s conceptual style of creativity in this “Arts of Innovation” blog.
Endorsing my idea, the “Disney Blog” asked, “Why can’t some US company (hint: The Walt Disney Company) step up to the plate and host a US tour of this exhibit? I’d certainly like to see it here in Orlando.”
January 16, 2007
Walt Disney’s style of innovation was on display in the “Il était une fois Walt Disney” exhibit that just closed at the Grand Palais museum in Paris, preparing for its March 8-June 24 showing at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal.
Unfortunately, the exhibit isn’t scheduled to appear at any museum in the United States, which will deprive native Disney fans of a convenient opportunity to see this analytical display of works of “one of the great geniuses of the 20th century, and the greatest storyteller of the 20th century,” as Parisian curator Bruno Girveau describes him.
It’s unclear why no museum in the U.S. will make room for the show.
The exhibit demonstrates Disney’s use of a typical approach for conceptual innovators — creating innovative new works by building on works of the past. (For comparison, think of conceptual innovator T.S. Eliot’s profuse use of references to past literature in “The Wasteland.”)
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December 21, 2006
Among the “Seven Lessons of Walt Disney” that Rich Karlgaard draws from Neal Gabler’s “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” is one that depicts Disney as a conceptual innovator who successfully coped with the loss of his youthful genius by taking on different challenges:
From his article (via Forbes.com), which calls the biography “the best business book I’ve read in years”:
“Reinvent yourself when necessary. The huge success of Snow White created employee expectations that Walt couldn’t fulfill. In 1941 Disney studio animators went on strike. Walt was shattered. He would never again feel the same passion for cartoons and movies. Thus began his wilderness period, which lasted a decade. Out of that period came Walt’s inspiration for Disneyland, and he threw himself into the theme park. Where did Walt’s second wind come from? Can’t tell you–I’m out of space. Read Neal Gabler’s fine biography on a great American businessman.”
Disney was 53 when Disneyland opened in 1955.
December 14, 2006
Film maker Orson Welles and poet John Milton aren’t usually lumped together, but they both show up in commentary by Jeffery Hodges of the Gypsy Scholar blog. Responding to Daniel Pink’s Wired article on David Galenson, Hodges proposes that Milton was a mixture of experimental and conceptual innovator:
“I wonder if some geniuses might encompass both conceptualist and experimentalist styles and thus constitute a third category. Milton, for instance (whom, you may recall, I’ve occasionally blogged about), strikes me as fitting both categories. He showed extraordinary ability from an early age and wrote some excellent, groundbreaking poetry as a young man and would have been remembered as a great literary figure even if he had died young, but because he lived on to an old age and wrote the epic Paradise Lost, he’s remembered for that work of genius more than for his youthful ones.”
Hodges also suggests that Galenson’s approach can shed light on a recent dispute about whether film maker Orson Welles was a genius. The debate was triggered by film critic Richard Schickel’s harsh words in an August review of two books about Welles. The review starts:
“If, as the saying goes, genius is defined by an infinite capacity for taking pains, then Orson Welles was no genius. If, as another saying goes, God is in the details, then there was nothing godlike about him, either — despite the worshipful posturings of his many acolytes. … How, people go on wondering, could the man who created ‘Citizen Kane,’ arguably the greatest of all American films, fritter away the rest of his life — nearly half a century — on movies spoiled by his own inattention or by the machinations of others or, worse, simply abandoned with many of their most significant elements lost?”
Hodges notes the problem with Schickel’s position: “Welles … is classed among the conceptualists, which suggests that Richard Schickel is a bit one-sided in his criticism because he faults Welles for not fitting a category of genius that sounds more like Galenson’s experimentalist sort.”