On the Subject of Business Identity
I know of very few companies that seek to remain static. Those that do, or those that resist necessary change, are usually faced with consequences that don’t positively impact the strategic goals of the organization. It seems intuitive that within the world of creative arts, those institutions that seek to nurture and develop creative talent should be encouraged to embrace a flexible mission statement. After all, the practice of art is one that continually evolves. On a physical level, methods change, technologies change, and environments change. Intellectually, ideas emerge, evolve, and are developed or not developed. Creative minds can and will change.
I know for a fact that when he moved his Model Museum to Mana Contemporary, Richard Meier didn’t envision the production of a suite of silkscreen collages that would measure 10’ x 10’. He also didn’t imagine that he would be drawn to encaustic paint. And yet here we are, four years and counting, with encaustic installations composed of over one thousand works. When Cey Adams and I were introduced for the first time, neither one of us predicted that the suite of flags we produced would attract the attention of Juxtapoz magazine, Pattern magazine, and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Arts. Cey had already been invited to participate in the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and based on the overwhelming response to the flag paintings in our studio, he chose to create a large-scale flag right in front of the Washington Monument during the three-day weekend. That particular work, entitled One Nation, is now part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
If Gary Lichtenstein Editions created strict parameters for our artists to work within, then certain ideas would never be explored here. Similarly, if Mana Contemporary required that Gary Lichtenstein Editions only showcase certain works of art, Richard Meier and Cey Adams might never have been introduced to this community. By virtue of those introductions, their artwork has been seen and exhibited by many others in many different geographical locations—and that is a crucial point, because art should be seen and it should be shared.1 The flexibility within business identities has allowed precisely this.
- In 2018, Sotheby’s S2 Gallery will be presenting a sweeping exhibition of recent works by Richard Meier. Also in 2018, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art will be presenting a solo exhibition of the works of Cey Adams.