What is Innovation?

2011, Number 4

About this issue: 

The dictionary defines innovation as "something new or different introduced." This simple definition, however, belies the complexity of the subject. For starters, just how measurably new does a dance style or way of painting or design methodology have to be for it to be considered innovative? Is innovation one of those things where you just know it when you see it? Does there have to be consensus across a discipline? And how exactly is innovation related to creativity? Which one's the chicken, and which one's the egg? Does innovation have any relationship to tradition or collaboration? And if -- as the zeitgeist has it -- innovation is crucial to our collective future, is it a skill we can even teach the next generation? These are the questions we posed to the diverse roster of artists we spoke to for this issue from the fields of theater, dance, design/architecture, music, filmmaking, visual arts, and graphic arts. Here in their own words are their answers -- thought-provoking, challenging, and yes, innovative.

All the interviews in this issue were conducted by Don Ball, Paulette Beete, and Rebecca Gross. Online audio/video interviews on innovation were conducted by Adam Kampe and Josephine Reed. Don't forget to visit our Art Works blog on our website to comment on this issue or to share information on arts in your community.

Cover Credit: 

Cartoonist Josh Neufeld created the cover. He is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist who works primarily in the realm of nonfiction comics. He has written and illustrated A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge and the Xeric Award-winning graphic travelogue A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe), and illustrated the New York Times bestseller The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone On the Media. He was a longtime artist for Harvey Pekar's American Splendor, and has had his art exhibited in gallery and museum shows in the United States and Europe. See Neufeld's views on innovation here.

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