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Collector's Catalogue Vol. 6, Issue 2: Corporate Collections, Crowdfunding, and the Almighty Patron
by ArtSlant Team

Corporate Collections: On the threshold of a new type of patronage

Edo Dijksterhuis profiles the important role corporate collections play in the Netherlands art world.

Some 45,000 works of art. That’s the number of artworks owned by the twenty member companies and institutions upon the 2005 launch of the Vereniging Bedrijfscollecties Nederland (VBCN – Netherlands Association of Corporate Collections). That’s half as many as the Stedelijk Museum has on display and in storage. Less than nine years later the number stands at roughly 100,000 works of art and the ranks of the VBCN have swollen to forty-six. Suffice it to say, corporate collections in the Netherlands – and across the world – are no small patrons of the arts, whether they are engaging with artists directly for commissions or fostering (and financing) an environment in which sales, prizes, residencies, and exhibitions can move forward.

Most corporate collections in The Netherlands are relatively small and have a short history. Even the large ones – ABN AMRO, Akzo Nobel, ING, and KPN – are modest compared to such international giants as Deutsche Bank and Generali. Still, the landscape of Dutch corporate collections is an instructive setting for studying corporate patronage of the arts.

It’s a role not to be downplayed. The VBCN estimates that corporate collections comprise ten to twenty percent of the Dutch art market. At least until the 2006 economic crisis corporate collections were amongst the most important buyers in the gallery circuit with some galleries depending on them for as much as half of their sales...

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Patron as Network: Will St Leger's experiment in crowdfunding

Over the past 5 years, online crowdfunding has assumed a kind of mythical aura. It is, at least in my experience, talked about as if it were a bottomless well of wealth, a sure-fire source of capital for everything and anything from a hovercraft to a public art installation. Need money? Crowdfund it. There are thousands of generous strangers, eagerly waiting with credit cards poised.

For the art market, it seems to have created an interesting wrinkle in its deeply engrained top-down economy whereby a small group of wealthy donors or government institutions dole out funds to a slightly larger group of artists. Many of you, like myself, may have hailed crowdfunding as the coming of a new, more exciting era for the arts. It would create new opportunities for countless undiscovered creators. The barriers to making art and supporting art could practically vanish. Brilliant ideas that might otherwise have remained sketches on the back of napkins could now be realized. Save for elitist concerns about a rising tide of populist art, it’s hard to be cynical about the opportunity for more people to directly support more artists. The modern patron would not be a person or an institution, but a network.

I spoke with Irish street artist Will St Leger to follow up on a project he did a little over a year ago called Cause and Effect. More social experiment than exhibition, St Leger wanted to see how, or even if, people could collectively own a piece of art. For 20 euros, 100 crowdfunders were promised an original piece of art and a print. The catch: the 100 pieces were part of four larger works. They would have to decide whether they would keep the artworks together or split them up...

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Patron (Almighty, The): A Satirical Portrait of the Patron We Love to Hate

Philippa Snow imagines the Patron of myth and legend...

He is the Patron, and he is your King. He is the God of the artworld, even more than Jeff "vacuum-cleaner" Koons, or Richard Prince, with his visions of "Spiritual America": the nubile young female with the movie-star make-up in the U.S.A-grade bubble-bath. You overheard at Trisha's that he once paid a St Martins graduate to drink a bottle of Newport lighter fluid and vomit it up and set it on fire, like a real-life conceptual dragon, and wondered, idly if this was the same St Martins student who vomited, recently, on Lady Gaga: the girl with the thick green paint in her gullet, and the patina of future-fame on her Curriculum Vitae. It wasn't, though. He loathes a repeat; he thinks of himself as the almighty bringer of tomorrow, and vomit-painting was old news by twenty-twelve.

He is the one who attempted to be The Patron with Sarah Lucas, when we all know that Sarah – androgynous, tough, and mouthy, and wholly girly only in the BritArt fashion, now the seer of all things British at the twenty-fifteen Venice Biennale – was only interested in one kind of Patron: the one with the salt, and the worm, and the thump-thump Groucho headache. He is the one who paid the aforementioned Richard Prince to have a bikini-clad girl writhe on the top of a Buick, if only to taunt a gallery-owner who told him over dinner that he was a homosexual (let's see what he thinks, he figured on a whim, about these high-concept tits. That bikini is Vuitton, after all. And every guy likes a muscle car). He is the one successful enough to pay Cindy Sherman to take a photograph of herself as just herself – a no-make-up 'selfie' for the cancer cause, in fact, because they are friends on Facebook, and he terrifies everyone (even the ones who are terrified already of showing themselves). He is the man who planted Ai WeiWei's sunflower seeds, and actually grew a fucking plant. He is the one who made Olafur Eliasson make the sun rise in the Turbine Hall, because he said: 'let there be light.' And so there was...

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ArtSlant's Collector's Catalogue is a special edition publication focused on bringing new artists and new work to the attention of our worldwide audience of seasoned buyers, committed art lovers, and first-time purchasers. The artists included in our Collector's Catalogue can be contacted directly or through their galleries. ArtSlant is pleased to present them for your consideration.  


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Posted by ArtSlant Team on 3/27/14

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