Forbes explores the uneasy relationship between corporate art and the aims of collecting. Most art collecting is either the product of a person’s taste and interest or driven by the art historical concerns of an institution. But a corporate collection has to serve the one—the company’s desire to see value preserved—and the many—the needs and interests of the employees who will most likely spend the most time with the works themselves.
The author, Samantha Sharf, captures this dichotomy very well here:
Liz Christensen, curator at Deutsche Bank, says, “We’re not buying for investment. But we’re not buying for not investment.” She explains that this means they are not worrying about resale value when acquiring a work, but they do want to make smart purchases.
Rogers, of Progressive, calls art a “cultural investment, not a financial investment.” He feels art is an investment in the people who work there.
Rogers organizes discussions and events around the collection and exhibitions the curators create from it. But he also relishes the opportunity for random discoveries. Employees sometimes tell him although they may not like a particular work that is ok, because they know they are not supposed to.