Press Releases : 2007/05

In the series Kunst and Kapital: Chin-tao Wu - Corporate Intervention in the Arts

Published 2007/05/24

Photo: Shu-chu Chen

Chin-tao Wu on:
Corporate Intervention in the Arts

Date: Tuesday, 29 May, 2007
Time: 18:00
Location: Fritt Ord
Uranienborgveien 2, Oslo

According to the Speaker:

One important issue of the enterprise culture that has engulfed both Britain and America since the Reagan and Thatcher governments first set it in train in the early 1980s was the extent to which contemporary culture, and especially contemporary art, has been subjected to the process of privatisation in both countries. Since the 1980s, corporate art collections were set up with increasing frequency on both sides of the Atlantic. Modern corporations did not hesitate to use their economic power to recruit their own curators and set up their own art departments, and they set about vigorously emulating what used formerly to be the prerogatives of public art museums and galleries by organizing and touring their own collections at home and abroad. They also successfully transformed art museums and galleries into their own public-relations vehicles. This they did by taking over the function that cultural institutions enjoy in our society, and by exploiting their social status, the extent of their ambition can be even more clearly illustrated by the art galleries or branches of public museums that they established within corporate premises, and the art exhibitions which they either held there or organised to tour the country. It was as if art had in fact become part and parcel of their everyday business practices. In short, business influence became well advanced in every phase of contemporary art — in its production, its dissemination and its reception. The talk will attempt to answer the question: To what extent is corporate intervention in the arts still an important and active phenomenon, and what forms is it now taking in our contemporary cultural life?

About the Speaker:

Chin-tao Wu (b. Taiwan) is an author and academic who specializes in contemporary art and culture, and has contributed to New Left Review and New Statesman. Her latest book, Privatising Culture: Corporate Art Intervention since the 1980s, published by Verso in 2002, is being translated into Chinese. The Turkish edition was published in 2005, the Portuguese edition in October 2006, and its Spanish edition was published in February 2007. She is currently Assistant Research Fellow at Academia Sinica in Taiwan and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London.

About Kunst and Kapital:

OCA launches in 2007 a series of talks and discussions entitled Kunst and Kapital in an effort to examine the increasingly porous sectors of private and public. It was launched in January 2007 with No. 1, Beatrix Ruf, Director and Curator, Kunsthalle Zürich, On Collection Building and Exhibition Making. As the debate ensues within Norway as to the viability in supplementing public funding sources with contributions from the private sector in the area of culture, OCA recognizes that discussions around these issues are without precedent of example. How is it possible to proceed with an assumption as to behaviour of the private sector toward contemporary art without fully understanding the motives and psychologies of the private sector, especially in the unique field of contemporary culture? How do international initiatives in the field lend to understanding further the range of possible examples? The Office for Contemporary Art will launch a series of seminars and talks around these topics in an effort to demystify the contemporary art market while illuminating how the critical community is being steadily streamed into these new initiatives.

Office for Contemporary Art Norway

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway is a private foundation and was founded by The Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Fall 2001. The main aim of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway is to develop collaborations in contemporary art between Norway and the international art scene. The Office for Contemporary Art Norway aims to become a profiled contributor to the discourses of contemporary art.