Wednesday, May 02, 2007

You have been warned

Some of our readers might remember the first shock-horror when big-time sponsorship hit New Zealand Art Galleries. It was another one of those it’s-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it moments. Now, many years later the institutions love sponsors, and the embrace of those sponsors might be tightened up a notch or two. It could be time for institutional curators to turn pale as a commercialized model gets its stride.

Sebastien Agneessens runs a company called Formavision The Curating House” based in New York. He believes that, "Speaking about what you have to sell is necessary, but not enough. Brands need to state who they are, share their values and build their culture so they can be understood in qualitative terms." And how does he do this? By curating art exhibitions for companies to use as a context for selling their brands. As you can see from this Lexus example, we’re not talking Sunday painters here. Miranda Lichtenstein, for instance, has had shows at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Whitney in New York. And we’re not talking tacky trade shows either.

Last year The Curating House created the Starbucks Salon, a music lounge and gallery in New York and they have Diesel, Converse, Sharp and Coca-Cola as clients. In fact Formavision’s next project is a collaboration with a group of artists to create permanent installations for the New World of Coca-Cola, set to open next month in Atlanta.

Be afraid.

Image: A work by Miranda Lichtenstein, one of the artists in the curated Lexus exhibition