Artists Working with Illycaffe

Illycaffè, the Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in the production of espresso and espresso makers, has been making contributions toward the creation and exhibition of contemporary art, by supporting artists, institutions and international exhibitions, for over 25 years.

 

Sponsor in 2011 for the Venice Biennial, “Ascension”, a site specific installation by Anish Kapoor, marked by a whirling white smoke inside the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore.

 

 

 

One of their most interesting activities has been to transform an everyday object — the coffee cup  — into a small work of art, using ceramic cups as the medium.  For 25 years, this project has elevated the simple pleasure of drinking an espresso into an experience which involves the senses and the mind.

Over 100 artists have contributed designs, each adorning the white porcelain illy cup introduced by Mattheo Thun in 1992.   In 2006, the project expanded to another common,  if  unexpected medium —  illy’s own coffee cans.

The beginning of the Illy Art Collection was in 1992 when Francesco Illy asked a group of artists to express their creativity and over the years, over 100 artists — from well established artists to young talents — have been commissioned to decorate a set of six cups.

25 years later, leading names in contemporary art continue to create designs,  Some of the artists that Illy has worked with include Yoko Ono,  Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis, Daniel Buren, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Kosuth, Jan Fabre, Sandro Chia, and James Rosenquist, who created the iconic white brushstroke-on-red square illy logo.

 

One of the latest commissions is the set by Yoko Ono. “Mended Cups” which consists of six cups that bear gold, shattered and mended crack lines. These are accompanied by six individual saucers with Yoko Ono’s handwriting, naming six catastrophic events that have directly affected her life, and others only indirectly; but have brought death to millions of people.

Each saucer states the date and location of the event and concludes with the words … mended in 2015. The seventh cup in the collection, the “Umbroken Cup”, is untouched with no cracked or mended lines, reflecting peace and hope with Ono’s handwritten words on the saucer, “This cup will never be broken as it will be under your protection. “

 

   

2 Yoko Ono cups of 2015, and Sandro Chia cup from 1997


Emilio Pucci Fashion House Collaboration

 

Another one of the recent commissions was the collaboration with the Florentine fashion house, Emilio Pucci.  The new project represented the company’s first partnership with a fashion label. Florence, Rome, Milan, New York, London and Paris: Emilio Pucci’s signature patterns have now been applied to a special collection of decorated coffee cups, featuring 6 “Cities of the World” prints, exclusive, hand drawn prints depicting scenes from global metropolises, including one designed by the Marquis Emilio Pucci in 1957.

The story of Emilio Pucci’s “Cities of the World” prints began in 1957 when the Emilio Pucci penned his Battistero illustration, a drawing showing Florence’s Piazza Santa Maria del Fiore shot with bright flashes of vibrant lemon yellow tangerine orange, “Emilio” pink and deep fuchsia.  Originally produced for his chic silk scarves, the print was conceived as a portable postcard; a love letter to the Marquise’s hometown and a souvenir his clients could carry and treasure when they returned home. Roughly sketched and brightly colored, the original artwork embodies Pucci’s signature, well-known style and became the blue print for the other cities which were subsequently hand-drawn by the atelier of the Maison. 

 

Each print replicates the architecture, landscape and charming details of its tribute city in a stylized way. Rome’s historic Spanish Steps and Coliseum, Paris’ famed Eiffel Tower, Milan’s soaring Duomo, London’s whizzing city streets and New York’s sky scrapers, are all interpreted in a uniquely Pucci way.  Each city has been assigned two original color schematics from the Emilio Pucci palette, which are divided between the espresso and cappuccino cups, as well as the brightly patterned saucers.

 

        

two Emilio Pucci cups, 2016, and one Maurizio Galinberti cup


    

Cups by Robert Rauschenberg, 1998 and James Rosenquist, 1996

 

Other Art Projects:

At the Magazzini del Sale in Venice, Robert Wilson has designed an installation: “the dish ran away with the spoon everything you can think of is true”. The installation was inspired by the collections of coffee cups, in which images, lights and sounds mark a pathway which winds its way through various landscapes inhabited by objects and sculptures. The illy Art Collection cups live in this theatre-like landscape which Robert Wilson has composed through contrast and juxtaposition, creating a rhythm of audiovisual images and experiences.


In 1997 and in the editions of 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 illycaffe has been partner in Italy of the Venice Biennial of Visual Arts, where it sponsored projects and built spots to take a break and to put the visual suggestions in order. Some of these projects included:

In 1997 the sculpture “Valentine Perfume” at Venice Biennal

In 1997 the sculpture “Valentine Perfume”, an aluminium statue of seven meters, positioned at the entrance of the Biennial, and made by Claes Oldenburg, and his wife Coosje van Bruggen.

In 2007, illymind evolved into Push Button House, a work of art designed by the American artist and architect Adam Kalkin: a compact container that changed by simply pressing a button and opened as a flower in a viable and perfectly furnished space.

In 2011, “Ascension”, a site specific installation of Anish Kapoor, marked by a whirling white smoke inside the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore.


Some of  the other art initiatives have included:

Opening temporary spaces – the Galleria illy — that offer visitors a program of art, literature, and science; events with international names in design and haute cuisine. Galleria illy has been already opened in New York, Milan, Trieste, Berlin, Istanbul, London and Beijing

Launched in 2007, the illy SustainArt project offers artists of the emerging countries chances to be more visible. The core of the project is the Website www.illysustainArt.org, a showcase open to the contemporary art world, which acts as a reference point, a meeting place, a cultural exchange occasion for artists and curators coming from emerging countries. In this place they have the chance to show their works to major figures in a global contemporary art panorama: Meskerem Assegued, Carlo Bach, Carlos Basualdo, Suman Gopinath, Gerardo Mosquera, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mariangela Mendez Prencke, and Angela Vettese.

The IllySustainArt Prize goes in this same direction: the company awards it to an artist and a curator registered at the Website www.illysustainArt.org and to emerging talents selected on the occasion of significant international events, among which Arco Madrid, SP-Arte Sao Paulo, and Art Rotterdam.


Salgado: “Scent of a Dream” — A Journey in the Coffee World

In photography, Illy has maintained an ongoing collaboration with the well-known photographer Sebastião Salgado, who was commissioned to chronicle the origins and people in the world of coffee — bringing to life through black and white images, the multi-nation story of sustainability.

Started in 2002, when Sebastião Salgado and illy met, Scent of a dream is a photographic journey through coffee growing countries. The project is based on a shared common value: sustainable development.

The series, “Scent of a Dream”, was constructed, shot by shot, in ten of the countries from which illy buys coffee: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Tanzania. The black and white photographs celebrate the daily lives of those on the plantations, and the beauty of the regionsr from which the coffee bean is grown and harvested.

With the collaboration of Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation “Scent of a Dream” was exhibited at the Foundation’s gallery in Piazza San Marco in Venice. The exhibition consisted of 75 images from the photographic journey. The exhibition had an extensive tour in 2015 that included the Coffee Cluster curated by illy inside Expo 2015 Milan.

A book was published in conjunction with the exhibition, Scent of a Dream, with images selected by Lélia Wanick Salgado, with texts by Andrea Illy, Luis Sepulveda, Angela Vettese and Sebastião Salgado.

Salgado was born in 1944 in Minas Gerais, one of Brazil’s major coffee growing regions, he found work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization. But photography went from avocation to calling, and in 1973, Salgado started a career in images by documenting the lives of poor, migrant workers in Latin America and Africa.


Additional information about Illy’s art programs can be found at
https://www.illy.com/en-us/company/art/illy-contemporary-art
and
https://www.illy.com/en-us/company/art/illy-art-collection_all-the-cups

 

 

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.

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 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

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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

 

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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)

 

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