The Traveller, Pt. 1

There’s a piece in Kerry James Marshall’s Mastry—currently on view at MOCA here in LA—that struck me dumb. Heirlooms and Accessories is stark in its difference from his other works. It puts white faces, all women, in the foreground. The only black body, normally the central figure of his art in stunning ebony, fades into the whiteness of the scene barely outlined. The black person has been lynched. The women attended. The scene had been photographed and sold and shared as a postcard. The title of the piece is now self-explanatory. The situation indefensible. The subjects on display unable to hide being complicit in the evils of their time.

I think I’ll want to revisit the exhibit before it leaves in July. Beyond this powerful piece are works that pull a wide variety of emotions, that beg to be fully considered and then again for the craft, the subject matter, the eye, and the curation. I’m grateful for art that reminds us of the beauty and the brittleness of the world. That reminds us of where we’ve been and challenges us to consider our reality through a different lens. Marshall is an artist grounded in the real world but who uses his skilled brush to imagine a different one. Or, at least, reimagine how we might look at the one to which we’ve been birthed.

I’ve been reflecting this week sparked by the time remnants (shout out to The Flash) that my digital life occasionally spews back at me. Facebook shared a memory from May of 2012. It gave me the chance to think about when I’ve felt most successful professionally and what made it so. It also afforded me the opportunity to reconnect with friends from that time and to toot my own horn (and theirs). I posted a note on Linkedin and Facebook and the sentiment continues to stick with me so I’m going to post it again here.

A Facebook memory reminded me of the Summer of 2012, my last Summer at Disney.com. At the time, Disney Online was a top 40 property in the US and I believe it was in no small way due to the amazing team we had assembled. Today, I work with CBS Interactive and specifically the CTD digital team, of which ETonline.com is the flagship property. CBSi is a top 10 US property and our specific group is #1 in Entertainment-News most months (and every month in video). Again, I think it’s the people that make this happen and I’m proud to consider both of those teams my friends and colleagues. To a person, we have taken our mandate to inform, entertain, surprise, and delight our audiences online seriously. And we’ve been measurably great at it.

I’m grateful for all the times that I’ve been part of great teams, including right now. Smart, talented, good-natured folks who are usually too busy trying to make their best work to recognize that they are doing something special. Let’s take this moment to acknowledge: big things poppin’. And, tomorrow? Let’s be even better.

I’m appreciating this long weekend in which I’m trying my best to take a news hiatus and enjoy simple pleasures like pigs-in-the-blanket and donuts and summer action flicks. And books. And peak TV. And this couch I’m sitting on right now.

And Bright Moments by Flamingosis

And these faces

And this little bit of internet ephemera

And you.

Yes, you.

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