March 20th and 21st, 2020
University of Amsterdam
In the decades following the Second World War, corporate art collecting has become a widely accepted and much–adopted corporate practice in the industrialized and post-industrialized world. Today, many organizations ranging from multinationals to non-profit organizations buy and showcase visual art, often by artists who are in the early phase of their careers. The methods and policies of artwork acquisition and display are highly professional, with corporate art collections usually managed by curators with an educational background in art history and/or broad experience in the art world.
Despite these developments, research on corporate art collections remains scarce and fragmented between disciplines and national contexts. This is unfortunate, especially given that corporate art collecting can be linked to other significant yet little-understood shifts in both art and organizations. Corporate art collections, for instance, are destined to play an increasing role in discussions about national cultural policies, as they have become depositories of future heritage due to their acquisition policies being comparable to that of museums and other institutional collectors. On the one hand, as corporate art collectors become increasingly dominant consumers of art, this leads to questions about the role of these organizations in the art world. On the other hand, companies and non-profit institutions use their art collections strategically, to express e.g. organizational identity and culture, which is reflective of the increasing use of organizational artefacts and spaces for the purpose of communicative action.
The abovementioned developments have significant implications for both the role of art and organizations in society, leading to new research questions. For this international conference, we aim to bring together a group of scholars working in the fields of art history, sociology, organization studies, law, economics, management, cultural policy studies, and data science to address topics such as:
Corporate collections and the art market
- The (changing) position of corporate art collections within the cultural sector, in the present or the recent past
- Corporate collecting as a contemporary manifestation of artistic patronage
- The role of curators as cultural leaders
- The role of art collecting as a form of expressive and communicative action
Institutional developments relating to art in organizations and in exchange with society
- New collaborative practices between organizations and art world members
- Changing conceptions of the role for visual art in society
- New modes of artistic consumption, production and preservation
- The role of (art) objects and spaces as symbolic expressions of organizational identity and culture
- Cultural and other non-core business activities as competitive organizational strategy
This conference is the closing event of a four-year research project, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections (VBCN) on corporate collecting in the Netherlands. This project, Corporate collections as emerging heritage: Art market dynamics, corporate strategies, and public support for the arts focused on present-day corporate collecting as a source of signals to different audiences, i.e., internal and external stakeholders of the collecting organizations to museums and other actors in the art market.
The conference will take place in Amsterdam on March 20th and 21st, 2020; no fees are required for registration. Based upon need, the conference organizers can allocate funding to speakers who do not have research funds to cover the costs of travel and/or accommodation.
We invite researchers to submit an abstract (no more than 500 words) before January 15, 2020, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include: name(s) of author(s), position, and university/institute, plus relevant publications or projects. The conference language will be English. The selection of papers will be communicated by January 30, 2020.
An edited volume of papers based on the work presented at the conference will be published. All papers submitted will be subject to an editorial process. The conference organizers will act as the editorial board.
Arnold Witte and Jan de Groot, University of Amsterdam, dept. of Cultural History, and Monika Kackovic and Nachoem Wijnberg, University of Amsterdam Business School.