Companies are buying up works from Richter, Basquit and other recent masters to impress clients. Is it just conspicuous consumption?
BBC Culture investigates the business of corporate art. Companies are increasingly acquiring extensive collections of famed art works to fill the space on their white walls. Not just any art will do for these Fortune 500’s. These companies, such as financial giant UBS, are only buying pieces from the most famous artists. UBS’ collection has grown so large, in fact, that the company has been known to lend pieces to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and the Tate Museum in London. But why does the company really need so many pieces of art? UBS’ collection of 30,000 works of art goes above and beyond just decorating the walls. The company explained to BBC that the art a company chooses to collect and display can completely alter the impression they give to anyone walking through the door.
The curator of the UBS art collection explains, “contemporary art represents a company as dynamic, active and growing – as being part of the world today – and it sends that message to everybody who comes in”.