What separates good leaders from the great?
That’s right: leadership done right is artful. With that in mind, we spend a lot of time being inspired by art, most notably through the one of the nation’s premier art institutions: The Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Mia. With each new exhibition Mia offers, we organize a private tour for Studio/E members. Last week we toured Mia’s boundary-shattering exhibition, Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty | Concept and Design by Robert Wilson.
This experience transports viewers to China’s 250-year reign, enveloping them in sights, sounds and even smells. It was created by award-winning theater set designer Robert Wilson along with Mia’s curator of Chinese art, Liu Yang. The theatrics take viewers through 10 galleries of surprise and awe, providing them with an experience to think about in the days and weeks to come.
So what does this exhibition have to do with exploratory leadership? Everything, as it turns out. To contextualize Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty, we’ve broken it down into four themes:
Mia invited the famed theater designer and director Robert Wilson to take a look at the museum’s vast collection of Chinese objects and select pieces to design this experience around. Instead of bringing in new art, Mia utilized what they already had at hand (this is called asset-based thinking, and it is a bountiful way of looking at things).
When you pursue an idea, aim not to be the best, but to be the only. And this exhibition? It’s one-of-a-kind. Mia asked an artist to hack their collection and use their objects in ways they were probably never intended to be used. The result is an emotional, theatrical experience that taps into each of your senses. And that is an only.
You know when you go to a museum and learn about the art pieces by reading the nearby descriptions? This exhibition isn’t that. Instead, it tells an incomplete story that visitors are able to write themselves into. The who / what / when placards that often accompany art are not a part of this exhibition, resulting in an open-ended experience that the visitor interprets as they see fit. (This, by the way, is a great tactic when pursuing ideas of your own!)
Trips to museums are about so much more than experiencing art, and when you can locate competencies that’ll help you in your business and personal lives? That’s where you’ll discover powerful learning.
If you would like to join our learning community and attend events like our tours of Mia, we’d love to meet you.