Saturday, October 18, 2008

Enough with the Found Art………

This oversubscribed genre of art finally earned my ire today. I was at the Frieze Art Fair, an annual event hosted by Frieze magazine in Regent's Park. It features around 150 contemporary art galleries from all over the world. The organization and variety of modern art is fantastic and I thought the installations below were cool.

But back to my original rant on the dilution of modern art by two subversive genres!

It was OK when Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, stood it on its head and called it art. And, even when Tracey Emin displayed her unmade bed with sweat and blood stained sheets (go figure!), one could say "metaphor for shock and awe", but a new generation of rag-tag, slacker, dumpster-diving artists is taking way too many liberties, and I protest! In the context of a staid art gallery a "found art" installation serves to stimulate and jar one's senses. In moderation, soggy rolls of toilet paper, bits of chicken wire, used bottle-caps and piles of used shoes juxtaposed against a clean-cut context and surrounded by a few post-modern masters is actually cool. But, for the first time today at Frieze, I was confronted en masse by the proliferation of found and trash art - aisles and aisles of it, which would make hobos feel at home.

A few messages for these artists:
  • Found art is so 1998 and passe
  • Bondage and kink have ceased to be art forms and are back in the porn genre
  • Collage is an admirable art form, especially if you are five
  • "Used Kleenex and Hypodermic Needles" is NOT a mixed medium
  • Yes, we are aware that we are a post-post-modern wasteful society and materialistic consumption has left us soul-less
  • And, we are generation blasé who cannot be jarred from our jaded fugue by your assortment of bodkins and candy wrappers
In short, quit your lazy art and try harder!

The other genre of art that's past its peak is "refrigerator magnet poetry art", akin to when you make stubby sentences on your fridge using a small selection of words printed on magnets. You've probably seen its artistic equivalent at a museum too - typically a large canvas washed with primary or solid colors, with random 'pop'py angst-filled words scrawled on it to form a terrible haiku-like inscription like,

"Paradoxical Rage Flagellation Yerba-Matte

Tea and Sympathy Yellow Submarine Obnoxious Ocean

Latte Kicking Screaming Gucci Little Piggy Die Corporate Bastard!"

Here is an example,

And another, which is arguably a cut-above the rest. It's an assortment of text messages that the artist had received. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All These Things That I’ve Done……

Having been M.I.A., I have decided to burp out a post rather than remain post-less forever.Now that I have all my appointments, classes, club and career events firmly programmed and synced between my iPhone and the school's Outlook Exchange server, at the very least, I know how in-deep I am. On a more mundane note, after successfully moving into my flat the toughest parts were finding a drying rack (since tumble dryers in this country do f*** all) and enticing British Telecom to come setup our landline so we could get internet. My flat-mates and I finally had to resort to rigging a monster human size mousetrap with a bit of cheddar outside our block of flats, to trap the BT installation engineer. It worked!

I'm visiting NYC banks at the end of October for a career trek. The rumors of the death of investment banking are highly exaggerated. Most LBS 2009 I-banking summer interns have offers in London. Hopefully they won't be rescinded – it remains to be seen. No point getting one's skivvies in a bunch. Here is my simplistic take on this - some banks were stupid, some were greed and some were plain unlucky. Like my Financial Accounting Applications Professor Oktay Urcan says (in a Turkish accent) "Unlucky camel gets eaten in desert by polar bear."

LBS classes usually start at 9ish and go till 5ish with a couple of hours in between. Then its club events, company sessions, speaker series, company visits etc. till well into the evening, which means the best time to study is still early mornings and mid- afternoons. Most evenings I'm double or triple booked and typically get done by 10PM, which is when most people head to Mumtaz for Indian or Ali Baba for late night shwarma. Friday's are typically no-class day for most streams (equivalent of cohorts).

LBS MBA Wannabees, here is some of what one can expect in the first few eight weeks of school –

  • Two business statistics case studies that will drive you nuts
  • Loads of introspective assignments including writing your own eulogy. Career Services and LBS Leadership curricula developers expect that these will help you become a good leader, general manager and/or help you pick the right career.
  • Loads of assignments, pre-readings, follow-up reading and case studies for Finance, Accounting, Strategy, Corporate Ethics, Managerial Economics and General Management
  • Loads of club kick-off meetings
  • Two consulting case study competitions (AT Kearney and LEK/LBS), an (IPO Challenge Chicago GSB) and a couple of Venture Capital style competitions
  • Loads of company presentations and speaker series. There was a particularly interesting talk by Jim O'Neill, Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs and the originator of the BRICs concept. His comments on what the developing world will look like in 2050 and the role India will play in it are summarized in this interesting paper.
  • Loads of visits to companies (I visited Merrill Lynch in the City for a reception and then played a portfolio management game at Morgan Stanley's Canary Wharf offices)
  • Preparing for career treks. LBS has one to Hong Kong, Dubai and NYC each over the next few months

I am currently involved with a bunch of clubs and organizations I'll post more as events occur

  • Healthcare club – I'm helping with the annual conference
  • Responsible Business Club – I'm helping arrange speaker series
  • Finance Club – Just another member for now
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – check 'em out
  • Tearfund – through my church, International charity focused on social justice
  • Pratham – Organizing the annual Indo-German Business Forum in Dusseldorf, Nov 13

    This year's forum is being hosted by Pratham, the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and the Indian Government. We hope to promote Indo-German commerce by educating business leaders regarding existing opportunities, by fostering insight-generation, and by providing a forum to initiate and develop business ties. The event also raises funds to support child literacy and education programmes in India. This year's forum will highlight the importance of innovation as a key driver for sustained success and growth for both indigenous and global companies operating in India, with a focus on the Lifesciences, Healthcare, Automotive and Energy sectors. Indian and German business leaders will propose ways to encourage Indo-German collaboration in order to overcome challenges posed by the economic downturn to future investments in innovation in these sectors.

    The event will feature several speakers and panelists including Ajay Piramal, CEO of Nicholas Piramal, Klaus Esser, Managing Partner at General Atlantic, Gautam Thapar, Chairman of Avantha Group, Nachiket Mor, Deputy MD at ICICI Bank, Amit Mehra, Managing Director at Reuters Marketlight and R. V. Shahi, Former Secretary of The Indian Ministry of Power.