Everyone an Iconoclast

My email inbox, always bustling with messages from super-creative people, received an announcement about a “global think tank” called The Creative Class Group. It’s headed by Richard Florida, he of the book that launched a thousand speaking engagements. Impactful though sociologically sloppy, Florida’s bestseller is being turned into a marketing agency. CCG will develop “new ideas and strategies” by “next-generation thinkers and strategists.”

Who is this creative group being pitched? It’s a vast, unfocused meta-entity comprised of “a third of the workforce” and commanding “50% of wages and salaries in the United States.” People who reach for their wallets when they hear “Not taking risks is risky” – one of the mottos touted in the press release. “The first people to try a new restaurant, see a new movie, buy a new gadget.” People who say “next-generation thinkers” – a phrase that cohabitates in linguistic purgatory with “thinking out of the box” – without cracking a smile.

Art world, relax, this box is bigger than you – much bigger. Thoughts, anyone?

2 thoughts on “Everyone an Iconoclast

  1. I think what’s interesting here is that every time people write about this “Creative Class,” the psychographics they use relate to a small group of people – a cultural elite formed of knowledge workers and artists. It all sounds very sexy, in a bohemian sort of way – a verbal echo of those strapping “painters” we see in ads for insurance companies/banks/preppy clothing.

    But based upon a recent paper co-authored by Florida, “There are roughly 330,000 working artists in the United States and approximately 1.3 million total “bohemians” if we count everyone who works in arts, design, entertainment and media occupations, amounting to approximately 1.3 percent of the US workforce in 2000.”

    So, I’d be curious to know: What do the other 32 percent of the workforce do that qualifies them to be ranked in the Creative Class?

  2. Haydn Shaughnessy of Dublin’s ICA gallery emailed us this: “The creative class is of course much bigger than the art world, and Richard Florida over eggs it, but the dialogue between artists and designers, artists and architects and product innovators, between the arts and the creative class, provides the must-buy, must-have signals to this wider group. We need to foster the dialogue. My impression, all too often, is that we stand off from it because the internal dialogue is too comforting.”

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