An “Art Exhibition” at 38,000 Feet

A New Art Project for Qantas.

Wunala Dreaming. This design appeared on a jet on September 3, 1994 for the opening of Osaka’s Kansai Airport. Photo: YSSYguy, Wikipedia

Perhaps Corporate Art Brief readers are already familiar with the art project Qantas initiated during the 1990s to paint several of their planes with aboriginal designs to celebrate the 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous People.

Editor Note:  More information about this project is available in the 2017 edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections. Ordering information is here

The company, the national airline of Australia, has continued to initiate innovative ways of sharing the work of Australian artists with an international audience. The latest project has been to work with some of Australia’s leading artists, photographers and digital influencers to feature their work on the airline’s international Business class amenity kits.

The project, called ‘Qantas Curates’ collaborates with professional Australian contemporary art curators to select artworks from 16 Australians that work in different styles that include pop culture, photography, fine art, abstract landscape, Indigenous art and textile design.

On May 1, the new range of amenity kits (eight types for men and eight for women) were introduced and offered to Business class customers on international flights, with two designs launching every few months.

According to Olivia Wirth, of Marketing & Corporate Affairs for Qantas Group the airline’s vision was to increase an awareness of contemporary Australian art and give travellers a collectible piece to take with them.

As the national carrier, we’re pleased to support talented Aussies telling uniquely Australian stories through their artwork and share them with a global audience.  We know amenity kits are an important part of the international Business class experience. Customers love the functionality of our kits and many use them after their flight as make-up bags, an evening clutch or to carry their mobile phones. So, the exposure is broad.”

The first two artists to be featured were Jacob Leary and Liam Snootle

Bubblegum Dystopia by Jacob Leary.   “Bubblegum Dystopia extends my interests into the nature of organisation. Focusing on the idea of non-linearity the picture space attempts to explore the layered complexities that define contemporary modes of experience.”

Liam Snootle – No Queen Blues/Unwind

 

Billie Justice Thomson, whose artwork Fairy Bread will feature on a kit for women said she was proud to be part of a program that showcases artwork in such a unique way. “It’s really exciting to be part of an art exhibition at 38,000 feet. “

A full list of the 16 artists is at the end of the article.

For many years, Qantas has been giving Australian artists opportunities to reach global audiences. In 2015, a donation of AUD 2.75 million ($1.9 million) from the Qantas Foundation, the airline’s philanthropic foundation, has enabled the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and the Tate to launch a joint acquisition program for contemporary Australian art. Works acquired as part of the program will be jointly owned and displayed by the MCA and the Tate. The institutions are planning to buy a wide variety of art spanning from the late 1960s to the present, and in a coordinated selection and purchasing strategy, the museums will share resources and expertise to carefully select an exciting group of artworks which will be shown in a special exhibition at the MCA in 2016, before traveling to London for a show at the Tate. Introducing contemporary Australian art to an international audience is meant to draw more attention to artists who, in an international context, have often been overlooked.

—————————-

 Announcement:  The story behind Qantas’ painted planes is being featured in our upcoming publication, as well as the Alexander Calder plane design  project of Braniff Airways and many other fascinating art projects around the world.  The book:  Unlikely Bedfellows:  Art Changing the Workplace and Industry will be released on June 1 in a digital and paperback edition.  I am accepting advance orders and an announcement will be posted shortly.  In the meantime, send me an email if you are interested in more information.  corporate.directory@earthlink.net

————————————-

These are the 16 artists that are being featured on the Amenity kits:

Jacob Leary – Bubblegum Dystopia features on the kit for women onboard 1 May 2017
Liam Snootle – No Queen Blues/Unwind features on the kit for men onboard 1 May 2017
Billie Justice Thomson – Fairy Bread
Bonnie and Neil – Gypsy Floral
Craig & Karl – Home
Fred Fowler – 7000 Ironbarks
Jon Campbell – Maaate
Kate Banazi – Adas’ Algorithm
Lucy Simpson – Dhina
Luke Shadbolt – North Avoca ECL 2016
Megan Weston – Iceland
Myra Yurtiwa Cooke (dec) – Lirrun
Nicole Warne – Hamilton Island 2014
Polly Pawuya Butler-Jackson – Mobile Phone Tower
Rachel Castle – I Love the people
Tom Blachford – Black Water

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Corporate Art Collecting: Looking Forward to 2017

Scholars Watching Mountains, ink and color on paper by Zhang Daqian. In the Taikang Collection.

 

What effect is the economy having on corporate art collecting?

There is no doubt that the slow economy has been having considerable impact on corporate art buying. It varies somewhat from country to country, but the global trend is still obvious. 

In the case of private collectors, there is growing interest in buying art because it is viewed as a “safe” investment like gold and silver during times of economic turmoil.  But for companies, buying art for investment has rarely been a motivation.

Many companies, particularly in Europe, have recognized that there are great benefits to using art in the workplace. Various reasons include that art can enhance the company’s images, that it creates a stimulating and inspiring environment for the employees, that art can act as a social connector in the workplace, and it can help a company to further community relations.

All of these factors ensure that art will continue to be considered a useful addition to the working environment.

In the past, when there were periods of economic growth, many companies started or expanded existing art collections and programs. So, in looking back at the 20th century, it appears that the peak of collecting activity was during the 1980s and 1990s.

Recessions and the recent downturn have had a major impact on art programs. But while there is a slower buying pattern, creating art programs and sponsoring of the arts has not ended – it has just changed its players and emphasis.

The countries that have been less affected by weak economies such as Brazil, Turkey, India, China, and to some extent Russia – are areas where ownership of art has been rising. In Russia, corporate art collections are just beginning to appear and there are already a number of serious collections.

In general Russian companies are relying on the experience of their colleagues overseas. Deutsche Bank, for example, with its huge collection of about 60,000 works, has about 200 works of art in their Russian office by both German artists and Russian. The bank is also purchasing works by young Russian artists.

The Russian section of the Unicredit Bank collection features art of the 1920s and 1930s and has over 100 works by Russian artists, with rare works by Russian post-avant-garde artists.

The development company Capital Group collection has been in existence for nearly 15 years and began to be formed through the initiative of the Chairman of the Board of Directors. In addition to art by Russian artists, it has been expanded with works by well-known foreign artists. And artworks by Anish Kapoor and Frank Stella are in the public areas in their business center.

In Brazil, the Itaú Unibanco corporate collection contains more than 13,000 works of art, that includes paintings, engravings, sculptures, photographs, films, videos and installations, as well as rare editions of literary works and other items of cultural heritage. The focal point of the Itaú Unibanco Collection is Brazilian art, although it is composed of works by both Brazilian and foreign artists.

In Asia and the Pacific there is a good amount of activity going on. New collections are starting up in China. These include a large collection of contemporary art by Chinese artists being assembled by the China Mensing Bank and the Poly Art Museum, founded in 1998 and co-funded by the China Poly Group Corporation and Poly Technologies, Inc. The Taikang Life Insurance Corporation, Ltd, China’s fifth-largest insurer by premiums, has created an ambitious program known as Taikang Space. The program has supported many contemporary Chinese artists. Taikang’s goal is to build a collection that shows the development of art history from 1942 to the present, and to build a museum to show this evolution and to promote contemporary art in China.

The website for the Taikang Art Space is at http://www.taikangspace.com/encol.aspx

As South Africa has emerged into a post-apartheid environment, the country has seen a surprising surge in diverse art programs, expanded to include sponsorships, art competitions and educational programs. Six corporate art programs from South Africa are included in our International Directory of Corporate Art Collections.

Along with this, there has been a desire to tell the story of South Africa’s artistic heritage, rather than trying to mimic European and North American models. As the South African economy continues to grow and demonstrates increasing stability, these activities will no doubt continue and evolve.

Has there been much of a change in the main business sectors….

In the past, Banks have traditionally been the largest collectors of art, closely followed by other financial institutions such as insurance and financial-services companies…. and this still appears to be the case, as nearly 40 percent of the companies featured in the International Directory are banking institutions.

A growing sector in the corporate art world has been the expansion of law firms that have been assembling art collections and that is also continuing to be an important art collecting sector as more lawyers are viewing art as a “safe” investment, both financially and to enhance the firm’s image.

More and more companies in the travel and tourism industries are expanding their art purchases.  As cruise ships get larger and more luxurious, art has also become part of the attraction for the growing numbers of passengers. Several cruise lines have been building up impressive collections, and some commission top artists for site-specific works.

Hospitals and healthcare centers have been assembling art collections for many years. Art is often used as part of a larger trend to use the creation and appreciation of art as a form of therapy or to assess the psychological health of a person. This use of art will continue to expand in the future.

For additional information about some of these collections and art programs, the latest edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections provides detailed descriptions of over 500 art collections in the workplace and other non-traditional spaces. You can order it now at a 40% discount using the link here: 

http://www.corporateartbrief.com/?page_id=270)

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Swiss Re Art Commissions: In Close Collaboration with Artists

In the business environment, where it is often difficult to establish a perception of why one company’s products are better than another, a company has to find a way to stand apart from its competitors.   Swiss Re, the Swiss re-insurance company, has established its image by integrating art and architecture and focusing predominantly on commissioned art projects.

We recognize both art and architecture for having aesthetic and symbolic value and for significantly contributing to the company’s brand positioning and corporate identity.”

Sol-LeWitt-Swiss-RE-570x570
Sloping Progress, Wall mural by Sol Lewitt, 13 x 23 meters, © 2016, ProLitteris, Zurich. Image copyright Sefan Altenburger

Swiss Re’s art collection includes about 4,000 works, placed in company locations around the world. It includes a wide range of formats and media: paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings and graphic art. The most prominent projects and installations are in Zurich, Adliswil, Rüschlikon, London and Armonk/NY.

Initially the collection was devoted exclusively to recent contemporary art in Switzerland. Following the growing international activities of the company in the 1990s, acquisitions soon branched out into international contemporary art.

One of the hallmarks of Swiss Re’s collection is the commissioned art that has been produced in close collaboration with the artists. These works have a direct link to architecture and make a geographical reference to the locations. They are all displayed in accessible public areas of Swiss Re’s buildings — in reception areas, meeting rooms as well as offices.  Invigorating and inspiring, these works create synergies between staff members and forge new links between employees and their working environment.

Commissions include artworks by Carl Andre, John Armleder, Angela Bulloch, Olafur Eliasson Robert Irwin, Sol Lewitt, Tatsuo Miyajima, Anselm Reyle, Ugo Rondinone, Adrian Schiess, Martha Schwartz, Nicole Toroni, Sylvie Fleury, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Olivier Mosset

The company understands that art says different things to different people, stimulates discussions and inspires people to see things from unusual angles. So the reason for promoting art internationally is to encourage a dialogue — all acquisitions and art-related projects are based on this core belief. Swiss Re commissions and seeks artworks that meet specific objectives and suit concrete office situations, while ensuring that new projects always complement and extend the primary focus of the impressive collection.

SwissRe1
Set of 4 transfer prints on Trevia textile, 170 x 210 each, by Shirana Shahbazi, 1974. Image copyright Stefan Altenburger. Swiss Re Collection

The innovative architecture and design of Swiss Re’s Centre for Global Dialogue reflect its function as a platform for open and stimulating dialogue. The Centre is home to fine examples of visual arts –the most notable, are the installations that blend the neo-Baroque villa and the natural beauty of the surrounding property. One of the most recent additions to the collection is Concrete Landscape by the Swiss contemporary artistic duo of Peter Fischli and David Weiss commissioned to commemorate the Centre’s 10th anniversary in 2010.     (  Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. See http://cgd.swissre.com/about/centre/art/   )

The art committee is made up of Swiss Re senior executives and well known external art experts: Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman Swiss Re and Chairman Art Committee;   Anne Keller, Head Art & Cultural Engagement, Swiss Re.

Swiss Re is one of the world’s leading reinsurers and the world’s largest life and health reinsurer. The company operates through more than 70 offices in over 30 countries. Swiss Re has been in the reinsurance business since its foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863.

About the Sol LeWitt mural: 

Vast thick bands of bright, vibrant colours − yellow, red, purple, green, orange and blue sweep, swirl and undulate in gracious, serpentine lines from ceiling to floor across the large wall of the entrance hall of the Armonk office of Swiss Re. This has a powerful visual presence for anyone passing through the foyer.

The wall drawing was made after his death, using a set of instructions (a central aspect of his oeuvre). His work has often used the elements of simple forms − the square, the cube, the line − to produce what he called “logical systems”. Despite these seemingly rigorous parameters, LeWitt always enjoyed the fact that his instructions to be followed by those making such wall drawings always allowed for personal interpretations, the result being, as he noted, “different people make different work.”

LeWitt liked how the art became part of the architecture, and through this, more accessible to those who see it and, in a sense, are part of it. As LeWitt said: “Anyone who understands the work of art owns it.”

The mural was created through the collaboration of Vick Art Advisors in New York City.  An interesting film is available is available that shows the creation of the work.  See on the Vick Art Advisor website at:

http://vickartadvisors.com/portfolio_page/swiss-re/

Additional Information:

Swiss Re has an excellent web site with images of many of the commissioned works, and demonstrates that the art program develops  concepts tailored to specific buildings and concrete workplace situations.  http://art.swissre.com/

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save