Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spaced out

Most public corporations create their art collections by buying off the top shelf. The Fletcher Trust Collection in New Zealand is a good example. Occasionally, however, corporate collections decide to push harder and theme themselves. This can result in strange and often hilarious gatherings of artworks about packaging, wine or earth moving machinery. Think of them as the corporate collection version of those 1970s themed exhibitions that always had clever titles (think Drawing the line (drawing about fishing), Animal alphabet etc) and that after a time in the post modern darkness, are once again wall fodder for the public art museums. 

In this match 'n' match category one of the oddest themed collections must be the one NASA has put together. The theme (how did you guess?) is space. You might imagine that a request from NASA to ‘do a space themed art work’ would get the short shrift from most artists and yet here we find Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol and yes, that’s one of William Wegman’s Wiemaraner dogs kitted out and floating in space. There is no shame.

Images: Top left to right, Jack Perlmutter's Liftoff, Peter Hurd's Skylab and Mitchell Jamieson's First steps. Bottom, William Wegman’s Chip and Batty Explore Space