ARTYFACTS: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Art of the Turnaround by Michael Kaiser

Good art, well marketed’ is Kaiser’s key message. Having been involved in a few business turnarounds I enjoyed this book and found that his advice, along with his ten rules are sound.

1. Someone must lead

· Avoid diffused leadership

· Entering from outside makes it easier

2. Leader must have a plan

· Communicate plan early

· Good art, well marketed

· Set priorities

a. Mission

b. review of environment

c. strengths & weaknesses

d. strategies

e. implementation plan

f. financial plan

3. You can’t save your way to success

· Avoid too many layers of management

4. Focus on future

· Revitalise the organisation

· Don’t waste time rehashing the past

5. Extend programming calendar

· Consider projects over five years

· Always go to a prospect meeting with no less than 10 projects

6. Marketing really matters is

· more than brochures and advertisements

· aggressive and systematic marketing

· programming and institutional marketing

· exhibitions and lectures

· use of celebrities

· programme of PR

· major free events

· arts education

· meet every morning to deal with marketing

7. Only one spokesman and always positive

· Leader only speaks to press

8. Fund-raising focus

· on the larger donor but don’t aim too high

9. Restructure board

· Get rid of dead weight

· Hire new members

· Give clear orientation

10. Be determined to do all of the above

Friday, September 26, 2008

Merry Wives of Windsor - Globe

Was a day early for the Rothko show at the Tate so popped next door to see what was on at the Globe. As luck would have it, there was a matinee of The Merry Wives of Winsor; nothing better than a spontaneous surprise.

From the welcoming music, played on 16th century instruments, in the sun laughing at jokes written four hundred years ago, it was superb. It's a rollicking comedy with the usual Shakespearean pairs and switches. Falstaff is set up and relentlessly ridiculed and I have to say that it was genuinely funny. The women in the play are the sensible puppeteers while almost all of the men are hapless fools. But it is the finale with its message about love that is both uplifting and moving.

It was great to see young schoolchildren totally engaged for the full two hours. What a great way to spend a spare Thursday afternoon in London.

Hadrian - British Museum

I've always been fascinated by Hadrian and have followed him around the whole empire having gone the entire length of Hardrian's Wall, to his birthplace Italica in Spain, through Dougga in Tunisia, down to the statues of Memnon in Luxor (where they incribed a poem on its leg), to Israel where he crushed the Jewish Revolt, library at Ephesus, arch at Jerash in Jordan, Athens (Hadrian's gate and a Temple, and finally to Rome, with his Pantheon and Mausoleum, two buildings that still dominate the modern city. Then his most interesting site, the Villa Adriani at Tivoli outside Rome. This one place, above all, defines Hadrian. The model of his palace shows the enormous scale of the place, a sort of empire in microcosm.

Having consolidated the empire, ruthlessly crushing the Jews, he found real solace in architecture and his lover Antinous. The exhibition does a good job in covering all the bases with the added flourish of being under a dome inspired by Hadrian's Pantheon Dome.

The Vindolanda tablets from Hadrian's Wall, keys from Jewish rebels found in Judean caves, a fantasatic statue freshly uncovered from Turkey and a parade of statues showing him as soldier, lawmaker and intellectual, show the breath of his influence and character.