Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolution


Hello Pan readers and welcome to to the third calendar year of this blog. As some of you may know, this blog is purely a hobby on my part. I have a normal day job--a pretty good one that I was able to secure after getting an MBA from Rice University. Now on the face of it, having an MBA would seem to have no relevance to a blog devoted to art. But as long-time Pan readers know, I occasionally dip my toe into the economics of art, and that toe-dipping is definitely informed by my MBA.

One thing they taught us over at Rice was that when we start a business, we should write a mission statement. A mission statement is a short description of the company--its goal or purpose, the main stakeholders, the responsibility of the organization to its stakeholders, and what it does (in terms of products and services). I never considered writing a mission statement for The Great God Pan is Dead because I saw it purely as a hobby for me, not a business.

That said, over time it's pretty easy to see that some goals and some stakeholders do exist, as well as certain "products." I'm not going to write a mission statement now, but I do want to identify a few themes that I have focused on and am likely to return to, and name one new one that I plan to develop.
  • The Houston art scene--descriptions and reviews of what's happening, with lots of photographs
  • Art comics (or comics-as-art as opposed to comics-as-entertainment and particularly as opposed to comics-as-lowbrow-genre-entertainment)
  • Interesting places the comics world and the art world intersect
  • The economics and financial realities of art
Obviously these are topics I write about frequently. The thing I want to add to it, which you may read as a "New Year's Resolution," is this:
  • More bad reviews.
OK, that deserves a little elaboration. Usually, when I don't like an art exhibit, I sort of shut my mind to it. I head for the exit as quickly as possible. I don't take photos and I surely don't write about it. For a long time, my justification for this was that I had limited time and would prefer to write about art I like. But I have been nagged by the feeling that if I don't think about art I don't like and don't articulate why I don't like it, I'm reacting to it kind of shallowly. Likewise, I'm not doing readers any favors. If readers have an idea of what I like, what I dislike, and why, they will find what I write more useful--even when they disagree with my opinions.

But what really tipped me over was looking at my year-end numbers and realizing that some of my most popular posts were bad reviews. You guys--my readers--my stakeholders--seem to like it when I write a negative review. So this tells me that if I see an exhibit that I don't like, I should consider writing about it anyway, figuring out where it goes wrong for me, and articulating that as well as I can.

So, that's my New Year's Resolution--more bad reviews.

Now a request to all readers. If you are on Facebook, please "like" The Great God Pan Is Dead.

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