One way in which the business world is different from the art world is that business people often say they don’t like surprises. In the art world, people love surprises.
Ceramicists like Ryota Aoki are often amazed when their finished work comes out of the kiln. Painters like Giang Nguyen don’t know exactly what will result in combining colours, but still often take the chance because the outcome can be beautiful. In art, the possibility of seeing something unexpectedly great is always there.
I also love surprises. So when I go to out to see art, I invoke the famous words of Clint Eastwood’s character Harry Callahan: ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ For example, I went to an exhibition a few months ago in a Tokyo suburb, and although I wasn’t impressed with the show, I loved the art in the outside lobby—magnificent prints by Jasper Johns and Ellsworth Kelly. I ended up spending more time there than at the actual exhibit, but was thrilled and went home more than satisfied.
I’d love to live in a place where art would continuously be surprising me. I’m jealous of New Yorkers who can easily go out and see the recently unveiled Ai Weiwei sculptures in their city. These kinds of art surprises don’t happen in Tokyo, where I reside—ever.