No More Silos

When I say that culture leads, that it is the most important lever of change, I’m not usually talking about the MoMA. But I do trust there is culture there, I do see a barometer in that space, I do like to visit and experience that sort of museum art.

A 1963 work by Masahisa Fukase will be part of a multidisciplinary exhibition next spring at the Museum of Modern Art. Credit Masahisa Fukase

A 1963 work by Masahisa Fukase will be part of a multidisciplinary exhibition next spring at the Museum of Modern Art. Credit Masahisa Fukase

 

I often speak of the emergent paradigm in contrast to the dominant-but-dying industrial paradigm that has shaped Western culture over the last 200 years. Silos are fundamentally industrial. And they are killing us. Every organization I work with wants to become free of silos. The social movements I work with experience the limitation of being siloed.

It is not easy to break free from the only organizing logic that we know. Our world is structured around it.

But here is the MoMA taking big steps.

While curatorial activities used to be highly segregated by department… the museum has gradually been upending that traditional hierarchy, organizing exhibitions in a more fluid fashion across disciplinary lines and redefining its practice of showing art from a linear historical perspective.

[Works] will be selected by six departments in a more experimental, intuitive style that Ann Temkin, a chief curator, referred to as “unlearning what we’ve learned.”

This new, less siloed way of doing business is shaping the museum’s renovation and building expansion ... Galleries could be more flexible and open… Perhaps departmental names designating the galleries could be eliminated altogether.

There is a hopeful pattern here. And it is worth paying attention to. What else can we do to unlearn what we have learned? How can your work be liberated from silos?