Letters from ALCTS

charles wilt, alcts executive director

From the Office

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - 1884

Seurat’s “La Grande Jatte” is here in Chicago at the Art Institute. If you have not seen it, the next time you are here, you should. It is a truly extraordinary experience.

I have been thinking about this article for some time now. This one seems to be most difficult. There are a whole host of ideas, lots of false starts, more thinking, crumpled paper, and finally staring at the parking garage.

I do not know what prompted me to add the painting here, but at that one instant, it seemed a good idea. The words below it are mine, but based on what Seurat saw as the basis for creating his works: color and light, design and harmony, and structure and space, and focus. And one more concept: enormity.

If what Daniel Pink argues in his book, A Whole New Mind, is even remotely true and the MFA degree is the new MBA, what is it that a work like La Grande Jatte suggests to us besides the talent and creativity that it takes to conceive and make it? Can we identify through a work of art, a painting, elements that would then translate to an organization? (and since I am writing this for ANO, it would not take much to assume the answer and the name of the organization, I bet).

Color

Light

Harmony

Design

Space

Structure

and,

finally,

Focus

It is not unusual or extraordinary any more to apply concepts and ideas from one field to another. That is, in fact, the basis for Pink’s book. Rapid change is something we have lived with for many years now. New constructs come and go and come and go. Look at what we have experienced in just that last few months over the change in cataloging assumptions. I believe that even if you do not embrace some of this “new stuff,” it has had at least a quick look. I have read enough duds but it still does not stop me from reading more, duds and non-duds. A few books, like Pink’s, have actually grabbed my attention.

So I will be off on this adventure over the next several articles. Read at your own risk. Agree or not. Could be a series of duds, maybe not.