Art Fair Sponsorship

The Appraiser Workshops blog has covered many different topics over the past few years, but I dont recall posting much if anything at all on art fair sponsorship.  I always find it interesting and to try to understand, beyond how direct and indirect relationships work between the corporate world and the art world.

The Financial Times takes a look at some of the large sponsors, such as Deutsche Bank sponsor of the Frieze (which is the focus of the article), as well as others such as Louis Vuitton and J P Morgan.

The FT reports
These names, some of them relative newcomers to the sponsors’ rollcall, show that staying close to art and helping to make it happen is a genuine lure for businesses and financial institutions, even in tough economic times. The British Museum’s new exhibition, Grayson Perry’s skittish and brilliantly devised The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman , comes about thanks to Alix Partners (a financial consultancy) and Louis Vuitton – why does that seem a witty juxtaposition?

Another new project bridges the visual sphere with music and performance: JP Morgan has just announced its Signature Series, which supports ongoing work at the National Portrait Gallery, the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre.

But what, I asked Hicks, is in it for all these sponsors? Is it really worth it, to make oneself look civilised and wide-reaching, and to impress and care for clients? Sponsorship can be controversial, of course: sponsors have sometimes lost their nerve when faced with outrĂ© artworks, and notions of suitability go the other way too, as shown by some public disapproval of BP as an art sponsor in the wake of the Mexican oil spill last year. Associations have to be all positive, it seems, in this loose form of branding: it’s all about “fit”.

As Hicks points out, Frieze provides one of the most interesting chances to showcase Deutsche Bank’s collection and to show the wider world how committed it is to the art that fills its office buildings in more than 70 countries around the world.
To read the complete FT article on art fair sponsorship, click HERE.

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