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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E.ON Corporation: Sponsoring Exhibitions in Germany

From the E.ON Collection. By Daniele Buetti, Arabesque on hand (from the series Good Fellows), 1996/2001, Colour photograph on aluminium dibond, 180cm x 120cm. © DACS 2013

E.ON is a German energy company now based in Essen, Germany, which for many years has made a significant commitment to supporting art. 

For over 15 years, E.ON has helped museums to create large exhibitions and many cultural highlights. From the first Caravaggio retrospective in Germany to a Caspar David Friedrich exhibition,  to artists in the classical modern genre, such as Paul Klee or contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Thomas Demand – E.ON has sponsored exhibitions showing art by old masters up to contemporary artists and positions.   The most popular were retrospectives of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne. The show “From Monet to Picasso” drew more than one million visitors.

In a cultural public-private partnership with the city of Düsseldorf, E.ON facilitated and participated in the revival of the Kunstpalast originally constructed in 1902.

The “Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast” (Museum Foundation) was founded in 1998 in conjunction with the city of Düsseldorf. After extensive modifications and renovations, the new ‘Museum Kunstpalast’  opened in 2001 with the first grand exhibition: “Altars – art that brings you to your knees.”

During the past 18 years, E.ON has sponsored the Kunstpalast with around 60 million Euros, 42 million of which was donated for the museum’s ongoing operation and sponsorship for exhibitions.

E.ON’s initial 10-year commitment to the museum foundation was renewed several times, but at the end of 2017, the company will not renew its membership in the foundation, primarily because the company recently relocated from Düsseldorf to Essen. However, E.ON will sponsor one exhibit in 2018 and another in 2019. 

In 2014, E.ON decided to sell Jackson Pollock’s Number 5 (Elegant Lady) (1951), a painting which the company had owned since 1980, at a Christie’s auction to keep funding the Museum Kunstpalast. Pollock had swapped it in 1954 with New York gallery owner Martha Jackson for the convertible in which he had a fatal accident two years later. In 1980, Ulrich Hartmann, head of VEBA’s corporate board office, pushed for the purchase from art dealer Alfred Schmela. The acquisition was considered to be the foundation for E.ON’s art collection of more than 1,800 works.

Until December 2016, the E.ON headquarters was based in Düsseldorf in a building designed by renowned architect O.M. Ungers.  In several benefit exhibitions, art could be purchased directly from the artist or galleries. The last and largest benefit exhibit was the exhibition “Kunst für Obdach. 20 Jahre fiftyfifty” (http://www.kunst-fuer-obdach.de/en/home/) at the end of 2015. Here, E.ON and the non-profit organization fiftyfifty” were able to successfully acquire works by 80 new, established or acclaimed artists, e.g. Gerhard Richter, Imi Knoebel, Thomas Ruff and Katharina Sieverding, who  donated important art works for the cause.

Fiftyfifty was able to raise over 2 million Euros for the homeless of Düsseldorf at the exhibition, and few days after the event, part of the funds raised was used to buy a tripartite house in Düsseldorf.

Since the company relocated to Essen in January 2016, art has been displayed in a new way at the headquarters. At the entry lobby, employees and guests are welcomed by a major work by Rupprecht Geiger and a steel object from 1989, “Riroriro Pongo”, by the American artist John Chamberlain. The cafeteria showcases a 30-part work entitled “Grace Kelly” by Imi Knoebel and a photograph by acclaimed photographer Candida Höfer. In total, over 300 works from the E.ON art collection can be viewed at “Brüsseler Platz” in Essen. The works cover a broad range and their diversity reflects the company’s history and  long-standing tradition with art.

Essen is home to one of Germany’s most important exhibition spaces, the Folkwang Museum.  In 2016, E.ON supported a contemporary exhibition for the first time, with major works by the sculptor, Katharina Fritsch.

E.ON’s extensive E.ON art collection, includes over 2,000 works by 700 artists, displayed in the company headquarters and many offices.  Some of the more important works are on display in public areas.  the main focus of the collection is on post-war and contemporary German art, and most art works were acquired during the 1990s.   All media are represented and artists represented include Tony Cragg, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin and Andreas Gursky.

Note:  E.ON is a German energy company / European holding company, based in Essen, Germany. It runs one of the world’s largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. The name comes from the Greek word aeon which means an age.   It operates in over 30 countries and serves over 33 million customers and is one of the 30 members of the DAX stock index of major German companies

The website about the E.ON Collection is at:

https://www.eon.com/en/about-us/art-and-culture.html

Information on the E.ON collection and art programs of  20 other collections in Germany are described in the latest edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections, now available for a New Year 40% discount.  See information here:    http://www.corporateartbrief.com/?page_id=270

 

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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