The Creative Pop of Corporate Art
Corporate and art are concepts not often found together, yet at GNAM this summer they can be found sharing a few rooms. The colour pop that is the Corporate Art exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art is a brief overview of how art, through the ages, has been used to compliment and enhance global business.
Over seventy works have been curated through the collaboration of GNAM and pptArt, a crowdsourcing platform for the contemporary art world. Thus, the exhibition shows a number of newer artists on the scene, and a healthy dose of talented Italian artists. Other international artists who have collaborated with big name business round out the show, and the business names might be surprising.
Who knew Romero Britto designed colour-tatsic posters for Absolute Vodka (alongside Andy Warhol and Keith Haring)? Or that Tom Sacks, he who usually ridicules consumer over-consumption, was employed by Mont Blanc to design a special edition paging for their luxury pens? Even fashion designer Alexander McQueen has been embroiled in creating corporate art- designing a gold and filigree pattern for… American Express credit cars! It is a brilliant and, at times, psychedelic show, a jumble of attention grabbing nick nacks. It gives the viewer the opportunity to ask that chicken and egg question, did pop art influence advertising? Or was it the other way around, or together complimenting each other in the race to grab the eye and self promote? As many items, particularly artist enhanced packaging for food related products illustrate, we as the consumer can’t help but be attracted like children to bright colour pop and anything graphic and bold.
As the exhibition displays, the corporate ephemera that art and artists can touch is vast. From ‘doggy bags’ to bicycles, to lottery tickets and toilet rolls, the corporate canvas is stretched world wide, and touches many aspects of modern life. Vespas and coffee machine also prove to be ideal bases for artistic outpourings! GNAM and pptArt helpfully include samples from an earlier age of Corporate Art, going back to the 1930’s with the now iconic Martini and Rossi poster designs, which could be pinpointed as the beginning of company ‘branding’. Also featured are some beautiful tarot cards created for Alitalia in the early 1970’s, now collector items by darkly evocative Italian illustrator Gianni Novak.
As probably the most successful vehicle of modern visual art, advertising brings the artist to the wider world, and business thrives from creative enhancement and support. The two concepts together will probably never really be comfortable bed fellows in the eyes of steadfast art supporters, or profit hungry business bosses, yet at GNAM there is proof of a harmony in bringing together the two. In the race to grab the consumers attention- perhaps the one binding thing that brings art and business together, an exciting and inventive visual explosion can be enjoyed.
Till 11 October 2015
The National Gallery of Modern Art
Viale delle Belle Arti, 131
Tue-Sat 10am-6pm. Sun 2-7.30pm
Entry Fee €8/4