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What Kind of Genius are You?

by Clint Watson on 7/5/2006

What kind of genius (artistic or otherwise) are you?

Wired Magazine's July issue has a story featuring the work of economist and art aficionado David Galenson. His theory suggests that creative geniuses come in two distinct types - Quick and Dramatic or Careful and Quiet.

I've just checked Wired's web site (http://www.wired.com) and they say they will be posting the reprint of the article on the site on July 11th.

He calls the Quick and dramatic types "Conceptualists", while the careful and quite types are called "Experimentalists." The heart of the theory is that the Conceptualists do their best works when they are young and then sort of fade away, while the Experimentalists get better, better, better over a long period of time, culminating with their genius works later in life.

Genius has traditionally been assosicated with the young Conceptualists, but Galenson's research seems to show that the older Experimentalists have created works of equal genius.  Mozart was a conceptualist, but Beethoven was an Experimentalist.  He is quick to point out that the Experimentalists were people who always beleived in their work and focused on it over a lifetime, he was not saying that everyone who is a bit older has some latent genius hidden inside of them.

We've all been envious of those young, early twenty-somethings who seemingly have it all. Think of discoveries of artists like Dan Gerhartz, Morgan Wiestling, and Jeremy Lipking. While I wish them all well, it is encouraging to know that there is still hope for the rest of us. Now all the rest of us have to do is just not die before we reach our creative genius peaks....



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Topics: Clint Watson | inspiration | art history 

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 1 Comment

Rick Rotante
via web
Well put. Applause for Wired.com. The world has room for both Conceptualists and Experimentalists. We just have to keep in mind that both are a valuable resource and one is not necessarily better than the other. Viva la difference!
Yin/Yang. Night/Day. Young/Old. This is the stuff of life. Somehow, over time in America, we've lost sight of this.
We've developed this idea that youth is all knowing and we pin all our hopes on them. Large task for the young. The "old" or rather I prefer to use the term "wise", are analagous of the fable of the hare and tortoise. The hare being the young, and the tortoise...well you get the idea.
I beleive the fable ends with the tortoise winning the race. Oh, well. It's just a fable. Right?
Society as a whole runs more smoothly if everyone does what he/she's told and fits into a convenient mold. It's less troublesome. Don't make waves.
That's why artists were created! To change all that. I believe we're supposed to be the "monkey in the works".
I don't say all art should be social in nature, yet art should cause us to see differently. See differences. See beauty. Even in things classified as ugly. To an artist all things are beautiful and should be worthy of painting
I grew up in an age of change. Everything around us was in flux. We were told to rebel, resist, buck the system, doubt authority. That was my youth.
I don't see that much in art today. And we seem to be happy to collect a check from our gallery for our sweat. I look at the new young artists and I see mostly unassuming, safe, pleasant, though technically executed works that, while satisfying and beautiful, are lacking in rebellion, fire, the existance of any change or movement.
The last time I saw the "fire" is when I look at Russian painters. There is so much exhuberence, zest for life in their work that I don't see in our new painters' work.
Maybe it's just me and I'm still rebelling, but we're probably producing work that Americans expect. Safe, comforting, non-threatening. If our young are sitting back and just accepting the reward for being the new wonderkind, and willing to ride the crest, the "wise" are also getting fat from the lack of fire they once might have felt. Whether we're Conceptualist or Experimentalist, we are artists and as such we have to begin to pick up the torch again and create work from the heart that causes change in our existance and not solely paint for the pocketbook.










 

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