Corporate Art takes on a new form

fight club corporate artI packed in with scores of my closest fellow hipster doofi at the opening of the Scion Installation 4: It’s A Beautiful World at Gallery Lombardi on Saturday. The whole event rubbed me horribly wrong (not the gallery’s fault).

1. Why have an opening in an 18′ x 30′ gallery where hundreds of people are expected to come out? Surely Scion has enough money to rent or create a venue that will accommodate an crowd that size. It was the main reason I left after 15 minutes. It wasn’t quaint or charming, as can sometimes happen when a certain magic in the air brings a lot of people to a show. It was a logistical nightmare.


2. The message wasn’t “Hey, Scion is sponsoring this show to help inspire the community that art is an important part of our culture.” It was, “Hey, Scion just wants to affirm that you are indeed hip and cool by coming to this event, and giving away lots of logoed schwag telling you that our cars will make you look hip and cool.”

3. The illustration/graphic design/assemblages I could kinda make out over all the nappy heads was not that impressive.

4 . Most of all, it bothered me that Scion was using art as “experience marketing,” but that seems to be the way things are going. I heard somewhere that in the 21st century economy in America will not be the leader in manufacturing goods or even providing services, instead we will lead the globe in designing experiences. That is, creating a comfort world of smoke and mirrors for the individual. As a result, the trend will continue grow for art (creating art, going to an opening, even collecting) to be a po-mo unbalancing act that affirms a sense of self and massages the ego. The problem I have is that it’s detrimental to one’s culture when those choices are presented (and thus controlled) by large corporations. I think we may even see the definition of art get narrower and narrower again. Although I don’t suppose it’s any different from the Post-Renaissance Venetians. The Church and the aristocracy had the market cornered on artistic freedom since they both had a societal agenda to perpetuate, and it seemed to keep everyone in their place for a good long time.

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