Friday, August 17, 2012

A close link that the art and corporate world share

There are corporate entities that use art for the purpose of flaunting their wealth. The former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin, often boasted about the David Hockney in his plush office. Sometimes, artworks are used for enlivening the drab work environment.

Art insurer and collector Robert Korzinek wants the office premises to have a stimulating environment. This is achieved with a trove of contemporary artworks by Grayson Perry, Gavin Turk and others. The aim is to stimulate staff, and the guests.

On the other hand, industrialist Alexander Orlow adorned the lifeless walls of his factory in the Netherlands with cheerful abstract works, inspired by ‘joie de vivre’, to encourage his workers. This was almost half a century ago. Later, British American Tobacco took control of the firm and shut the factory. BAT sold over 160 of the works this March at auction for more than 13.5 million euros.

It was in the 1970s that Deutsche Bank of Germany started collecting art. The bank now has a trove of over 56,000 works, by artists like Joseph Beuys, Nan Goldin, Jeff Koons, Lucian Freud, and Henri Matisse. These paintings are proudly displayed on the main office walls across branches in close to 50 countries.

In this context, an interesting new report ‘Will tough times trigger corporate art selloff?’ by AP writer Jill Lawless had tried to establish the link between the art and corporate world – both in good and bad times. According to the writer, corporations collect and invest in art for various reasons. Turning a profit is perhaps the least important of this. Some major companies like to see backing talented artists as a way of fulfilling corporate social responsibility, or philanthropy purpose - artworks can be lent to galleries and museums for special shows. However, with things turning gloomy, many businesses are turning to art to keep afloat.

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