How Art and Artists are Transforming the Workplace

 ‘If the environment that you work in can be improved, then the quality of your employees’ life and their work will improve. Companies therefore need to create a stimulating work environment, …. and the catalyst to create that environment is an art program.’

Michael Klein, curator of the Microsoft Art program, 1999


– 2005

Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen by Kalin Lindena, Untitled, 2007, Wall collage © Courtesy of the artist, Photograph: Wolfgang Günzel, Offenbach
Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, by Kalin Lindena, Untitled, 2007, Wall collage, © Courtesy of the artist, Photograph: Wolfgang Günzel, Offenbach

 

Throughout  history, artists have been able to work and were supported by patrons in different ways.   In the West, during the Middle Ages  the Church was the largest patron of art, and artists were commissioned to create in the service of religion.   During the Renaissance, the art patrons were the royal and aristocratic families  that used art to glorify their histories and accomplishments.

Today, art and artists have found a totally new patron – the  businesses that are realizing that art can transform the workplace and that it should be an integral part of a motivating and productive working environment.  They are actively including it in their mission statements and in the context of their broader business philosophy.

Some of these new developments and ways that art has been transforming the work environment around the world, are analyzed in our new course for artists on Creating Art for Non-Traditional Spaces.  The course is an essential tool and resource for artists  that want to expand their opportunities for commissions and selling their artworks, and protect their cultural property by learning more about copyright, commissioning, licensing, and working with non-traditional spaces.


Here are some of the ways that art has been transforming the workplace.

“Art functions as a catalyst for communication and shows us what might be possible if we let our spirits soar free.”

The AkzoNobel Art Foundation’s mission is to create a more dynamic and inspiring work environment for its employees. The core values and beliefs are that art is forward-looking; encourages new ideas, challenges peoples’ beliefs and ideas, and stimulates creative thinking.      With this ideal in mind, an innovative way to structure and organize the collection was developed by working with themes to make it more accessible for viewers. The main themes are color and research, space, and the individual and society. These three themes have been divided into several sub-themes, such as environment or abstraction.

Allens law firm in Australia  displays its art throughout the offices, which  has inspired partners and staff to start their own collections.    Powerful visual statements have been developed and are presented as you enter any Allens office. The Melbourne reception is a large gallery space, with works by artists whose multicultural, non- Western backgrounds highlight the cultural diversity not only of Australia but of Australian contemporary art practice.   In Sydney, the vast atrium of the Norman Foster-designed building gave the opportunity to include a   highly visible artist project space on each floor. The commissioned site-specific art project dominates the view from glass-fronted lifts, again highlighting the role contemporary art can play in the workplace.


tn_Att 0000120880.Jilali Gharbaoui. Djilis. Gouache sur papier. 50x71 cm. 1961. Collection Attijariwafa bank
Jilali Gharbaoui, Djilis, 1961, Gouache on paper, Collection Attijariwafa Bank, © Jilali Gharbaoui

 

In the Attijariwafa Bank in Morocco, about half of the works are located in the company’s headquarters which includes the Espace D’Art Actua  which stages two exhibitions each year that are open to the public. The remainder of the works are on display in the bank’s network of branches throughout Morocco.  The Bank’s ‘Academy’ programme, has a teaching cycle of practical workshops and theory of artistic expression, literary writing and multimedia for 100 students in primary and secondary public school classrooms in Casablanca.


0233.tif
Alice Bailly (1872–1938), La Fantaisie équestre de la Dame Rose I, 1913, Oil on canvas, Photograph: Luc Chessex, Lausanne, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise.

The activities of the Banque Cantonale Vaudoise have created a vibrant local art scene.  Its  collection is both  uniform and eclectic – all of the artists have ties to the canton, and includes different generations, styles and technique, and has a strong focus on contemporary talent, supporting artists throughout their careers.  Since each of the pieces collected  was created by an artist who has lived or worked in the area, the art illustrates both the breadth and quality of the art scene in the Vaud region


Belgacom Hall Vip
Jeff Wall, Children, 1988, Nine transparencies in lightboxes, Courtesy of Jeff Wall, Belgacom

 

“Helping to change a corporate culture using an art program”

Belgacom’s art program has been directed at the employees of Belgacom and the works are displayed in the company’s buildings in Belgium.  This art program has been designed to change the psychology of the staff because there had been a shift in the agency from a monopolistic situation to more aggressive competition. The Belgacom Group believed that the presence of contemporary art would encourage this essential evolution.  The active educational program includes guided tours, creative workshops for children of the staff and a treasure hunt with clues, and art is often displayed as a screen saver that leads to information on the intranet.

“In the present lies the future – this is the concept behind Helaba’s approach to collecting”

With more than 1,000 works of art, the Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen first appeared in the corporate art world as a patron of studios for artists in its bank buildings.  Helaba has been concentrating on the works of contemporary artists, and the collection highlights lines of development by acquiring entire complexes or groups of work. More recent artistic statements are placed in relation to established ones, as this juxtaposition corresponds to the forms of expression used in contemporary art production. According to Helaba, ‘The main thing is that the art collection touches people and stimulates dialogue.’


Zoderer_4232
Beat Zoderer, Flickenkugel, 2011, Paint on aluminium, riveted, © Beat Zoderer. Borusan Collection.

 

An innovative approach has been developed in Turkey.  One of Turkey’s largest and leading industrial conglomerates, Borusan Holding, has long been a strong supporter of the arts.   It has also achieved a new level of involvement by the staff and general public by creating well-designed display spaces in the office that opens as a museum at the weekend and is staffed by employees on a voluntary basis. Registered as a museum with the government, it opened in September 2011, and its mission is to make the collection accessible to a wider audience and to increase the awareness of flourishing contemporary art in Turkey.   Borusan Artcentre/Istanbul, had a residency programme for young visual artists to work in studios open to the public. Ten artists were selected to have a studio space for two years.

One of Saxo Bank’s core values is ‘Pride’ – pride in one’s job, one’s accomplishments and one’s employer.

The bank’s investment in and commitment to innovative architecture, design and visual arts have been central to this goal, and as a ressult, Saxo Bank has created a working environment that is welcoming and inspiring.
Art works by both established and emerging artists, predominantly young Danish artists, were commissioned and purchased.  Saxo Bank also sponsors artistic projects that stimulate discussion as well as entertain. Saxo Bank believes that “art – including fine art, music, literature etc – is the barometer of a culture and that it provides the moment of rest that makes it possible for all individuals to reach their personal goals.”

 

“For clients and employees, the art collection can be thought-provoking and a stimulus for ideas”

As part of its commitment to encourage young talent, Credit Suisse starts acquiring works from artists at an early stage in their career and the bank supports individual artists over the long term as their oeuvre evolves. Credit Suisse also commissions site-specific artworks for particular locations by inviting artists to submit proposals.

The art that is hung and displayed throughout Credit Suisse premises cultivates a climate that is receptive to innovation and change. For clients and employees, these artworks can be thought provoking and a stimulus for ideas. They challenge conventional modes of perception and provoke discussion. Overall, the Credit Suisse collection represents a corporate culture that advocates open dialogue and enacts its commitment to art in the everyday world.

 

Reflections on the current diversity of artistic expression in the 21st century”

The art collection is a key component of the corporate culture and mirrors DekaBank’s social commitment in the cultural area.  Internationally recognized artists like Liam Gillick and Katharina Grosse were commissioned to create extensive artworks. The focus is on pieces that deal with socially relevant topics or that stimulate discussion about the definition of art within a contemporary context. The collection is displayed at DekaBank’s office buildings in Frankfurt am Main and Luxembourg.

 

“A creative vision for Latin American and Caribbean regional development with the IDB Bank”

When the centre was established in 1992, its two primary objectives were:  to contribute to social development by providing grants to small-scale cultural projects that have positive social impact in the region; and  to showcase the artistic expressions of the IDB member countries, with emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).   The IDB Cultural Center has become a showcase for the artistic talent of the LAC Region, through cultural programmes that bring understanding between the region and the rest of the world.

 

Sharing its passion for the preservation of the country’s unique artistic heritage that forms part of its business philosophy

Telkom Art Collection photos_html_69da7ddcA history of contemporary art in South Africa cannot escape the very politicized socio-economic conditions under which South Africans have lived.

The Telkom Art Collection shows work by a range of artists representing different aspects of the spectrum in terms of personal circumstances and opportunities.

The Telkom Art Collection promotes South African art in collaboration with partners in the arts, including individual artists, academics, community-based art organisations and industry bodies such as Business and Arts South Africa  (BASA).

The collection  offers art education programs for employees and their families. These include workshops on printmaking, paper recycling and making crafts from waste, as well as art therapy workshops, lunchtime talks and exhibitions. Since 2002, hundreds of Telkom  shareholders, employees and their children have explored and experienced different art forms at hands-on art workshops.

You can learn more about how art has been used to transform the workplace by participating in the pilot project for the course.  For further information click here:

Save

A Marriage of Art and Science

Artists and scientists exchanging ideas

Cosmic Song is a work of art and cosmic ray detector embedded in the floor of the Visitors entrance – Building 33, at CERN and was made in collaboration with the CERN workshops in 1987. It lights up with the constant rain of cosmic ray particles from outer space as visitors stand on the sculpture. The piece is made by the French artist Serge Moro

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has developed three unusual artist-in-residence programs that encourage the exchange of creative ideas between artists and scientists.  It is hoped that the ground-breaking program, and the  technology that explores the fundamental secrets of the universe can be a new force for human creativity.

Artists of all disciplines work as artists in residence at the laboratory, where they can both be inspired by the science and inspire the scientists to make new discoveries. While protons collide in the machinery at unimaginable speeds and perhaps reveal some of the secrets of the universe, the artists and scientists “collide” in ways that may help make some of these secrets more understandable to the human imagination. With this initiative, the chasm between the arts and the sciences may finally be bridged.

The laboratory, located in Geneva, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research in the world.

ATLAS mural at CERN by Josef Kristofoletti

COLLIDE

The first residency program, called Collide @ CERN, was launched in 2011, and combines a maintenance grant and prize money for the selected artist. The program “collides” the imaginations of artists with the minds of scientists to create new work.

The arts at CERN comes under the auspices of CERN’s Cultural Policy for Engaging with the Arts, Great Arts for Great Science.  The program is the leading art and science program that promotes a dialogue between artists and particle physics. It stimulates the creation of new expert knowledge in the arts through a connection with fundamental science. COLLIDE gives artists the opportunity to encounter the multi-dimensional world of particle physics.

Artists can apply online for the three-month residency and stipend of €10,000 that comes with the chance to be mentored by the CERN scientists and given a unique opportunity to experience the cutting edge of physics from the inside.

By forming partnerships with leading international arts organisations, CERN is allowing the “collision” to happen. Bill Fontana is the artist in residence, and the project’s creative patrons include Swiss architect Jacques Herzog, German photographer Andreas Gursky, British sculptor Antony Gormley, British musician Brian Eno, Dutch wildlife artist Frans Lanting and Japanese artist Mariko Mori.

The COLLIDE International Award started as Prix Ars Electronica Collide @ CERN, in a three-year partnership (2011-2014) with Ars Electronica. It was funded by private sponsors, with the prize money supported by our cultural partner at the time, Ars Electronica, Linz. In 2015, the partnership carried on for one more year with COLLIDE Ars Electronica Award. As of 2016 the COLLIDE International Award is part of The COLLIDE CERN FACT Framework Partnership 2016-2018, in collaboration with FACT, The Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology in Liverpool, UK.

Gayle Hermick’s sculpture Wandering the Immeasurable, at the CERN site in Switzerland. (Photo Guillaume, Jeanneret, CERN).

ACCELERATE

CERN’s second art program ACCELERATE, is the country-specific, one-month artists residency award. This award is for artists who have never spent time in a science laboratory before, and is the sister of CERN’s flagship residency programme, COLLIDE.

Every year, the ministries or foundations, from two different countries, fund a different artistic domain to participate in the ACCELERATE Awards. The winners receive a stipend of 5,000 CHF for their one-month residency at CERN, and a budget covers accommodation, subsistence and travel costs. The awards are made following open calls in each country, and the jury is made up of the cultural partners as well as representatives from Arts at CERN, including scientists from CERN.

The 2016 awards were

ACCELERATE Lithuania In collaboration with Rupert, and

ACCELERATE UAE – Supported by The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, ADMAF.

The 2017 awards are

ACCELERATE Croatia Award In collaboration with Kontejner, and

ACCELERATE Korea Award In collaboration with ARKO

On 20 May 2005, the well-known Swiss artist Gianni Motti went down into the LHC tunnel and walked around the 27 kilometres of the underground ring at an average, unaccelerated pace of 5 kph. This was an artistic performance, aimed at drawing a parallel between the fantastic speed of the beams produced by the future accelerator and the leisurely stroll of a human. The artist, who originally hails from Lombardy, was accompanied by cameraman Ivo Zanetti, who filmed the event from start to finish, and CERN physicist Jean-Pierre Merlo.

GUEST ARTISTS

CERN’s third residency program is Guest Artists. Initiated in 2016, artists with an extensive internationally recognized career, are invited to visit CERN for a short period, to learn about what the laboratory offers to arts and creativity, from an interdisciplinary approach.

James Brindle was awarded Honorary Mention of Collide International in 2016. He is a British writer, artist, publisher and technologist, currently based in Athens. His work covers the intersection of literature, culture and the network. His current research, on the impact of information technologies into knowledge, brought him to CERN.

Tomás Saraceno was the first Guest Artist of the year. His work is an ongoing research, informed by the worlds of art, architecture, natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering. During the past decade, he has initiated collaborations with scientific institutions that have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and institutions of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, among them Imperial College and the Natural History Museum London. He came to CERN to discuss ideas in cosmology and particle physics with scientists.

Pascal Dusapin, from France is interested in a diverse variety of fields, from morphogenesis to philosophy, from photography, to architecture, to the theatre of Samuel Beckett, to Flaubert’s work, among others. The French musician and composer Pascal Dusapin will be visiting CERN on 21-22 November for deep exploration in high energy physics.

More information about the CERN program is available from

Monica Bello, Head of Arts at Monica.Bello@CERN.ch  and

Julian Calo, Coordinator of Arts at  Julian.Calo@CERN.ch

CERN’s Advisory Board includes

Andrea Bellini – Director of Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève

Frédérick Bordry – Director of Accelerators and Technology CERN

Assoc. Prof. Bilge Demirköz at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Ariane Koek – Founder and former Head of Arts@CERN

Laurent Le Bon – President of Picasso Museum in Paris

CERN Particle Accelerator

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Migros Collection and the Museum für Gegenwartskunst: Ensuring their Future

Migros is one of Switzerland’s leading companies — the country’s largest supermarket chain and largest employer.

The  exceptional collection of over 500 contemporary artworks from 1960 to the present is unusual because it has been assembled within a co-op governing structure.

imageedit_1_8485843811
Whispering Pines 9, 2009, by Shana Moulton, Two-channel video installation, Sammlung Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Photograph: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich. © Shana Moulton

There are a variety of ways that a business can collect and manage the acquisition of art for a company.  What most people refer to as a   corporate art collection   is the usual form where the art is owned by the corporation and is cared for as a business asset.   Also very common are  corporate foundations, or sole proprietorships, and partnerships are usually a characteristic of law firms.

The Migros collection however, is governed though   co-op ownership — the only one that I am familiar with that is organized   this way.

Most people are familiar with artist-run co-operatives that are established to provide their members with studio and exhibition spaces.  But it is unusual for a business co-op that is not art-related  to assemble an impressive art collection.

The Migros art collection began in 1957 when the company established the Migros-Kulturprozent statutes.  These are voluntary commitments by Migros in the fields of culture, society, education, and leisure.  Every year, the Migros Cooperatives commit to a contribution to the Migros-Kulturprozent   (Migros Cultural Percentage) —  The amount of the contribution is based on sales, and continues to be made even during times of downturns of the retail trade.

Some of the guidelines for the Migros Co-operatives include

—Migros uses 0.5% of its revenue for social and cultural projects.

—It does not pay any dividend;

—If the earnings before interest and taxes  reach 5%, the supermarkets have to lower their prices

—Every adult living in Switzerland can become a member (receive a share for free) and vote at the general assembly

Migros’ major commitment to the visual arts is  made through their  Museum für Gegenwartskunst,  founded in 1996 in Zurich.

Through this unique, patron-like commitment of Migros, the continuity of its art collection is guaranteed.

Migros SA,  began as a private company and family corporation in 1925.     By 1941, the founder, Gottlieb and his wife Adele Duttweiler transferred ownership of Migros to their customers, as a co- operative —

….. essentially giving the business to his customers by transforming everything from his privately owned enterprises into regional cooperatives, headed by the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (German: Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, French: Fédération des coopératives Migros, Italian: Federazione delle cooperative Migros).

Museum’s 20th Anniversary

This year, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Since its founding in 1996, it has supported the production, exhibition, and collection of international contemporary art.  Museum programs have presented temporary one person and group exhibitions, usually working in close cooperation with the artists, as well as artworks from its own collection, on two floors.

In the museum’s mission, contemporary art is seen as a dynamic classification that covers an ongoing exploration in both  looking forward and looking back.  At the same time, the use of this term implies its inclusion into a social context, as well as an ongoing exchange of ideas and in art production.

The museum’s exhibitions show art history as a constantly changing  process that is open to observation,  revision, and variation.  By incorporating the Migros art collection into a lively environment, it is promotes the creation of art.

20th Anniversary Exhibition:    The Museum Revisited – 1996–2016

The 20th anniversary celebration has given the museum an opportunity to focus on itself.  The exhibition tries to envision the museum’s future while also looking back on its past, and examines the history of the museum and its collection and curatorial program.

The exhibition has put a spotlight on the everyday operations of the museum and offers unusual glimpses of what is going on behind the scenes, with particular emphasis on the art education activities.

The exhibition is being accompanied by an anthology produced in collaboration with the Institute of Art History at the University of Berne and the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, and will be published in January 2017.
The book.   It will be published in January 2017, and will discuss the functions of a museum of contemporary art from diverse perspectives.

Publications, posters, photographic and video documentation, and archival materials trace the outlines of the museum’s work.  A parallel cycle on display in the upstairs galleries  showcases works from the collection combining performance and process-based works from 1960 – 1982, with a sprawling 3000 square foot sculpture by the Scottish artist, Karla Black.
The two segments of the exhibition are connected by an “interlude”
featuring a work by Eva Koťátková (b. Prague, 1982; lives and works in Prague).

Today, Migros has kept the cooperative society as its form of organization.  A large part of the Swiss population are members of the Migros cooperative – around 2 million of Switzerland’s total population of 7.2 million,, thus making Migros a supermarket chain that is owned by its customers. More than 90% of the assortment of goods is produced by ninety subsidiaries of Migros.

Museum für Gegenwartskunst   Limmatstrasse 270 /8005 Zürich, Switzerland

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save