GenX Museum Staff – What are your stories?

Join our Pecha Kucha during the 2014 California Association of Museums Conference in Napa, March 5 – 7. To apply, send up to 100 words on what you’d want to present about to by August 10 and we’ll select a diverse array of voices to share their stories.

Generation X – How Soon Is Now? Nine presenters with 20 slides each and just 20 seconds per slide will share their Gen X leadership stories of museum life sandwiched between the much larger cohorts of Baby Boomers and Generation Y. We are no longer “emerging museum professionals” – so now what? As the response to our 2012 AAM session makes clear, this is a generation that hasn’t been heard. Generation X (born early 1960’s to early 1980’s) is squeezed between two much larger generational cohorts: Baby Boomers who won’t (or can’t) retire and their Generation Y children who are moving up the professional ladder. We are no longer “emerging museum professionals” – but are we in charge? The pecha kucha format will allow for a diverse series of voices to highlight the opportunities and challenges we face, and to build a community so that we won’t feel so alone stuck in the middle.

Everyday I’m #DrawArt-ing


I have been drawing the Object of the Day from Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. Inspired by National Museum Month, I dedicated the month of May to drawing the collection that was presented daily on their new multi award-winning Public Alpha website. Read more about it.

Watch the Object of the Day at Cooper-Hewitt video playbacks here  (bookmark-it as an app on your mobile phone!)

AAM in Baltimore

Is anybody heading to Baltimore for AAM?

Let’s try to get together and have drinks. I’m thinking Monday night, but Tuesday could work, too.

Leave a comment if you plan to attend, and we’ll try to coordinate a time and place convenient for the most participants. Don’t make me drink alone in a hotel bar again.


One Day Artist Residency

#DrawArt images created for One Day Artist Residency  

I recently enjoyed participating in a One Day Artist Residency. A progressive and new program by Adam Reed Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement at  Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts.

New mobile technology is how I conducted the entire Artist Residency – by using digital media, the museums’s online resources, social media and new innovations in audience engagement. Please read more about how I used mobile and digital technology along with new media innovations with #DrawArt

The highlight of audience engagement was that I included a link each time I shared an image for others to Watch it Live on a #DrawArt Digital Sketchbook that I created just for the One Day Residency which indefinitely extends the audience’s experience with the ability to watch video playbacks of the drawings and the opportunity to learn more about each work, see the original art and link back to the museum online.

GenX in the Guggenheim


I have been honored by an invitation to be a participating artist in Gutai: Splendid Playground at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Feb 15 – May 8, 2013. For this exhibit I was asked to create 200 postcards for the Gutai Card Box, a recreation of the original performance in 1962. My response to this project was to make GUTAI REDUX, 8 self portraits appropriating art history that are in the playful Gutai spirit.

The cards I created are Digital Trading Card Stickers. They were drawn on my iPad in the #DrawArt program I helped create for museum engagement. Each card has a QR code directing museum visitors who receive a card or others who see the stickers plastered on the streets, subways and signs of NY to a video on YouTube. The video allows you to “collect them all”.. and watch & learn more about Gutai art!

Watch the video here

If you want a Digital Trading Card Sticker in the mail just send me your address!

Gen X Gets Political

As the 2012 United States Presidential Election season winds down, it occurred to me that in all the blustering and posturing that we have been subjected to, once again Generation X has been roundly ignored. I know we’re not as big as the Boomers and Millennials. I understand that apparently we’re complete failures in the procreation department and not old enough to have our opinions on Medicare and Social Security matter even while we work extremely hard to fill its coffers with little hope of there being much left for us when we reach our late sixties. Our concerns and issues are real but we’ve been relegated to Whiny Middle Child status, complete with condescending head-pats and frequent trips to the time-out corner.

Consider this: Barack Obama is barely a baby boomer yet if you examine his speeches, ads, and sound bites, he and his campaign advisors are squarely aligned with that camp. Despite the fact that during his previous Presidential campaign, he was swept to victory in large part based on the energy, enthusiasm, and support of Generation X and Millennial voters, it seems like this time around the courting is cursory at best: “Sure, get out the vote, go door to door, rally the troops, etc., but when it comes to actually spelling out my plans for you or actively discussing the issues that directly impact your lives in national forums? Later for all that. I’ve got Boomers to chase.”

As Obama squares off against Governor Mitt Romney to retain what is arguably the best and the worst job in the world, he’s dealing with a different kind of Boomer, one that isn’t associated with the typical 1960s coming-of-age cultural touchstones. Romney spent the years of flower power and sexual revolution performing Mormon missionary work (which exempted him from military service in Vietnam) and living an admittedly secluded, conservative family life on the Harvard University campus. Romney, as expected, plays this to his advantage. He seems to be saying, “Yes, I’m of that generation but I’m not of that generation. Therefore, you can trust me. I don’t have to say ‘I didn’t inhale’ because I don’t even know what that stuff looks like.” Still, he doesn’t have much to say when it comes to the children of that generation, although he did throw us a bone by nominating Senator Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Nobody seems interested in actively acknowledging it, but Gen Xers are all over the 2012 U.S. Presidential Race: Senator Marco Rubio, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro, Texas State Representative Joaquin Castro, Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and Senator Kelly Ayotte are but a few of the “slacker” generation representing all points on the political spectrum.

Since there’s just about two weeks to go and (according to some polls), it’s a dead heat between the Democratic and Republican candidates, there’s not much hope that any messaging will be tailored to my generation. But one thing is certain: if we fail to show up on Election Day, our concerns will never be addressed. So please vote!


Optimus Prime is Jewish


Many of you have been working hard this Summer in museums, traveling with your families or even getting married.  I have been exploring the world of computers, games and cosplay.  Did I really write that? Yes, cosplay. I went to an Annual Sci-Fi Games Convention called CONvergence in Minneapolis. I dressed up as a back-up dancer in my favorite childhood cartoon The Jetsons..the episode with Jet-Screamer singing EEP-OPP-ORK-AHAH (means I love you). My computer scientist friend Clement Shimizu (from AAM2012) designed a headband with dual video monitors playing the song!

Please read more about how I attend this crazy Sci-Fi Games Convention. I compare my experience to other museum conferences I’ve attended in the past and explore the beginning of the development a Strong Feminine Game Character for a 14th Century woman in Erfurt, Germany who must evade angry mobs, flagellants and disease to gather and hide Jewish ritual objects, including the Jewish Communal Wedding Ring, part of the Erfurt Treasure Trove.

Make Your Own Rainbow, Puppy-Bunny. This One’s Mine.

I stopped myself dead in my tracks the other day when I suddenly realized what was happening.  That new Toyota commercial with the mountain biking Baby Boomers was what did it.  The Baby Boomers were off being typically irresponsible.  They continued to do what they’ve always done. Those crazy Baby Boomers were portraying themselves as young, in shape, and cool.  They were everything they are not.  Their Gen Y daughter was at home on the phone, and she was frustrated with them.  She seemed more grown up and much more miserable than her parents.

Skipped us again, did you?  Yes, that’s us.  Gen X.  Remember us?  We let a Baby Boomer write a book about what were supposedly like, and we let him give us a name like a new master.  Well, hear this, I am not Toby. I am 100% Kunta Kinte. I grudgingly accepted the label, and now I’m its poster boy.  We are a generation of strange people separated from each other by our own anxieties and hang ups, and now we have just about disappeared completely.

All that’s left for Gen X and for the Baby Boomers is sucking up to Gen Y.  That was what I realized.  And ZOMG, I’ve done it too! I’ve said they will be awesome bosses someday, and I’ll be glad to work for them.  I’ve said I’m proud of them, and I want them to take me with them since they are going places I cannot.  I am sucking up to Gen Y, and it doesn’t even feel like sucking up!  All the things we’ve said about them are true.  They are a good bunch. So cute.  Like puppies crossed with babies and covered in baby bunny fur. When we clean up after them outside we’ll be picking up chunks of rainbows.

I came across a Gen Y piece of writing not too long ago. The title caught my attention.  It was “Stop telling us we’re not special.” It was a little shorter than the things I like to read, and it was very on topic. I could relate to it on a certain level.  It was as if I liked playing tennis, but I was outside a posh tennis club looking over the wall at a pretty good match.  I was not in the game.  It wasn’t about my generation, and when I came to that conclusion, I got to thinking something typically optimistic like “Wow, it must suck to be Gen Y.”  That’s how they get you.  They suck you into pitying them and giving them food and shelter.

This morning I ran across a request on Twitter for advice to Gen Y folks coming up in the world of curating.  I walked out there on my angry ledge again, and I took a good look down having done some curating from time to time.  I didn’t write the first thing that popped into my head, which, by the way, was “Run away. Run away and never come back.” That’s just mean.  It’s so unfashionable to be mean to Gen Y.  It’s like kicking a dog for no damned reason at all.  You can’t do it.  The public will have your head.

My real advice is to not ask me for advice.  That’s my advice.  I’m planning to be nice to you, and I hope you are planning to be nice to me.  So far, so good.  You never thank guys like me who were the first in your entire county to get an earring or a tattoo.  Now you all walk around with metal through all your soft tissue and paintings of naked dragons on the small of your back. You never recognize how much heavy lifting we did that benefits no one but you.  I’m not really looking for a thank you.  That wasn’t why I did anything I ever did.  That was mostly just for me like most good things are.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like you. But I’m not going to fall into the trap of worshiping any generation. You have to find what’s special about you all by yourself.