The Bottom Line

Posted in Bottom Line

In a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal two unrelated articles point to the struggles artists face as they straddle the two extremes of pure creativity and pure marketability. The first article notes that ABC Network is taking great pains to test audience reactions prior to giving a style makeover to the title character of its hour-long comedy Ugly Betty.  Notwithstanding claims of following their creative instincts, producers are soliciting a lot of input from viewers on if and how soon Betty should have her braces removed.  On the other end of the spectrum, the second article discusses how Manhattan’s New Museum lowered its building ceiling by two feet—at considerable expense—to accommodate the request of in-demand sculptor Urs Fischer.  Fretting over Betty’s braces seems like overkill, but remember the audience backlash when Felicity’s title character cut her hair?  Similarly, can a business really justify the cost of lowering a perfectly good ceiling just because the artist thinks it makes his art look more impressive?  It can… as long as it sells.

BOTTOM LINE – How do you find balance between artistic intention and audience reaction?