Uart © 2018
In the age of social responsibility, the banks are following suit. Before, you were more likely to hear an art enthusiast mention Banksy before banks. However, many will be surprised to learn of the significant impact that banks have on the world of art. What’s more surprising still, is that more and more often we are seeing banks purchasing artwork, not for financial investment, but for an investment in the people. There is more to it than the securing of masterpieces in high security vaults. The vaults have been unlocked.
Whilst it remains true that some corporate collections serve merely as furnishings for executive offices, art is more frequently being incorporated into shared spaces – relaxation zones – to encourage employees to take time out. Away from the quantitative world of databases and figures, internal exhibitions bring about a wave of diametrically opposed serenity.
Bankers are used to seeing figures on the screen. Now they can admire them in real life. Statues and sculptures are filling office lobbies. Having art in storage is no longer accepted. Employees expect their companies to adhere to a level of social responsibility. And the banks are stepping up.
Fulfilling the executives’ personal predilections is a bygone. Banks now use their collections to engage with their clients. To find a connection. To build trust. The oxymoronic idea of corporate art is becoming auspicious. Local artists are being supported by banks such as Deutsche Bank, who began collecting with the goal of supporting rising German artists; and Alpha Bank, who invest in contemporary Greek art. Funding is also going into museums and national galleries – Credit Suisse is an example of this. We say let bygones be bygones – the banks are on our side.
Corporate art, once a true juxtaposition, is being reconciled. Bank curators, we thank you for this. You have looked beyond the art of investing, and into investment in art.