Three more thoughts on corporate art, after Tom’s:

1. I’ve begun to see art I’d noticed in the galleries of the East End of London popping up in corporate environments now and again. I recall seeing Christopher Bucklow’s glimmering figures, which I’d seen at Anthony Wilkinson , turning up in the foyer of a big insurance firm. They had seemed charming and ethereal (if slightly hippy-dippy) in a gallery. In a gleaming postmodernist pile of marble they looked disturbingly like the sort of graphics you’d find on ‘motivational’, ‘people-centred’ literature.

2. I slightly know a man who makes (some of) his living advising businesses on the art they should show in their buildings, including buying and selling items into and out of their collections. He’s always very polite about his contacts, but his frustration is clear sometimes and it seems to me that the problem is not that there isn’t thought put into corporate art, it’s that the people with the purse strings don’t listen to good advice and you end up with compromise and muddle. That’s before you even get to the tendency of city folk to ignore the art around them.

3. I sometimes wonder whether there is a sub-genre of consciously corporate-friendly art. It’s clear that most corporates wouldn’t want to buy in to the more confrontational or unsettling end of the art available in the world right now. Certainly they’re keen to look ‘with it’ but the last thing they want to do is offend anyone. There are enough corporate HQs around to generate a significant chunk of the market for contemporary art, in London at least. Some smart artists and dealers surely look to fill this market. I often wonder whether Damien Hirst’s spot paintings and spin paintings are elaborate comments on this market in blankness (comments which, in true Hirst style, are cynical cash-ins themselves).