THE BLOG

This Week In Art: The Art of Collaboration

03/31/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This week I received a YouTube link via L.A. artist Alex Israel via his fellow Yale alum, artist Justin Beal, called "That's Why I Chose Yale," which was inspired by the TV show Glee. This clever production communicates in an entertaining way what it is like to go to school there, but more importantly, it shows what can happen when different constituencies - the project is "an independent collaboration between Yale undergraduates and recent alumni working in the admissions office" - talk to each other to make something compelling.

In today's interconnected world, with virtually no barriers to entry for anyone who wants to participate in the dialogue, I believe that the most impactful conversations and projects will come from working together. Done right, invested parties can get to know one another's perspectives, which can lead to products like this one that speak on different levels. It's not easy, but it is necessary to communicate across disciplines.

At this week's DLD (Digital Life Design) conference, Hans Ulrich Obrist moderated a cross disciplinary panel for a group of future digital thinkers on his new project Maps for the 21st Century, where he asks artists, designers and scientists to create a map for the future. Obrist believes that maps that intersect with visual art, storytelling, statistics, computer based design and science are dynamic information hubs that solidify a cross-section of the arts, data design and science. Continuing his collaborative and dialogue based practice, this project is another example of how collaboration can bring art to new constituencies.

A blog post on the Harvard Business Review website tagged with the words "Change management, Disruptive innovation, Personal effectiveness," addressed the stereotypes that abound about artists and argued that business leaders should act more like artists. The number one reason is that artists "constantly collaborate." I am really excited that Los Angeles institutions are thinking more like artists. We are working with the Getty on Pacific Standard Time, their initiative, which will become the largest collaborative project ever undertaken by museums in Southern California to preserve and celebrate Los Angeles' art history. By taking part in this project, "we are making our own art history," said Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, at Wednesday's announcement of $3.1 million additional grants in the lobby of L.A.'s Chateau Marmont. "In PST, the Getty is investing to an amazing degree in its own backyard," the collaboration "will raise public consciousness in a way that no single exhibition could ever do."

As part of the festivities this weekend around Art Los Angeles Contemporary at the Pacific Design Center, beloved art journal X-TRA, inspired by Micol Hebron's column, invited artists, curators and historians to present "a significant photograph of their choosing for 1 minute." I chose Sidney Felsen's 1969 photograph of Robert Rauschenberg, which is also in the latest FYA Guide, because he looks so happy "early in the morning cycling in the Gemini G.E.L. parking lot after an all-night session proofing the Stoned Moon series." Sidney Felsen told me that Rauschenberg was fresh from witnessing the Apollo 11 launch, and with this series of prints - which can be seen at the Armory Center for the Arts through March 21 - he combined images from NASA of man's landing on the moon for the first time with his own photographs of the launch. Talk about the ultimate cross-disciplinary collaboration.

All for art. Art for all.