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One of the many remarkable things about the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the depth and variety of the artworks in the collection. On the way into the newly mounted Cubism exhibition (the collection donated by Leonard A. Lauder), you pass several galleries, one of which is a comprehensive collection of Cycladic sculpture and figurines dating between 2800 and 2000 B.C. The similarity between the Cycladic sculptures and the deconstructed artwork of Picasso, Braque, Gris and Leger is striking.
Wandering past these ancient works, you literally travel the timeline from original influence to its reinvention in a modern form. This short walk is a wonderful reminder that in art, as in life, everything is connected.
Reinvention has become a common theme. Yesterday’s NY Times highlighted this growing trend and focused on Millenials, although it rings true for most demographic groups.
Here is a link to the article: Reinventing Themselves, Without a Net
In a world where we work to reinvent ourselves and to strive forward, it is important to remember to pause, look backward, identify the influences that define us as individuals, and use those as the triggers when shaping our future.
1) Find Your Common Thread(s)
Just as Picasso’s 1908 drawing “Head of a Man” bears striking resemblance to the Cycladic carving, you too can make connections and identify the influences that shape the events in your life. Experiment with drawing a timeline, filling in the touch points – experiences, jobs, and living situations – and looking for the common thread(s). They exist, and can provide insight into your motivators and drivers.
2) Challenge your convention
Define your daily routines. What in your daily routine is fun? Boring? What in your daily routine has the capability to lead to a new experience? It could be as simple as starting a conversation while waiting on line for coffee. Understanding your common threads will help you confidently challenge your convention and open yourself up to new experiences. New experiences lead to new possibilities.
3) Redefine your context
Start small. Picasso began his exploration into Cubism through the human form, and Braque through landscape. They questioned and worked on one thing at a time. Consider your one thing. Examine an issue at work or in your personal life from a new angle. Draw upon what you have identified as your common threads. These will guide you to ask different questions and approach issues and challenges in new ways.
What you can do today:
-Draw a timeline, map your touch points, determine common threads
-Define your daily routine – identify areas where new possibilities wait
-Choose one opportunity or challenge and alter your approach
Learn from your past. Shape your future