After reading this article about an unconventional relation between art and the CIA, I started thinking about ways in which art and business are related. I'll highlight two Belgian examples that come to mind:
Since the start of the financial crisis, it was quiet around the art collection of the bank. Belfius has the largest art collection in Belgium, Gemeentekrediet and Dexia invested for years in Belgian art and have recently reopend the Belfius Art Gallery where work of young artists is shown next to more known Belgian artists: Rubens, Jordaens, Delvaux, Magritte, Tuymans and Fabre.
This work by Jacob Jordaens where Marsyas is being skinned by Apollo by fits well in the collection with the fall after the hubris as theme - as pointed out by the conservator Patricia Jaspers *.
When Würth came to Turnhout, the art collection that would also be part of the site was the talk of the town, almost even more than the jobs Würth would bring to this region in development. On the website of the Würth group we can read that by displaying art in the main offices of the different countries '(...) the exhibitions permit an inspiring coexistence and interplay of the arts and everyday business. (...) The exhibition activities of all galleries pick up essential aspects of Würth including modernity, internationality and quality in their art presentations. The Würth Collection (...) encompasses around 15,000 works now (...).'
The relationship between art, the artists and the people or organisations who are rich enough to collect this art is in my view very problematic. It was not the scope of this post to go deeper into this relationship, and it would be a hard task to do so. Maybe in the future I'll feel up to this difficult taks, but for now this topic is discussed over a beer, rather than during a blog post.