Reuters sees the recession as a serious threat to commissioned art. With wealthy private collectors pulling back from financing ambitious projects, new work can only be funded by
A more far-reaching impact of the recession is likely to be felt on U.S. art commissions years ahead, experts note, because a commissioned piece can take years to complete after money is allocated. A lack of funding now may mean less art later.
Other commissioned work, such as artist Julie Mehretu’s monumental “Mural,” a multimillion-dollar work installed this year in the lobby of Goldman Sachs, was commissioned before the 2008 financial crisis, in which the bank was deeply involved.
The year 2009 was particularly hard, said Creative Time’s Pasternak. “A lot of our individual supporters lost a lot of their wealth, and others worried about losing their jobs cut their support,” she said.
When companies approach commissioning now, they tend to look at commercial gain, said Amy Cappellazzo, Christie’s’ international co-head of post-war and contemporary art.
“Corporations used to do it as a kind of civic philanthropy,” she said. “Now they’re also looking into it as image building and brand building.”
Businesses like hotels and restaurants “want to tie it to their style and interior designs,” she said. Hotel chain Sage Hospitality, for example, is hanging works by local artists in guest rooms.