Five reasons you should buy expensive art for your corporation…And five reasons you shouldn’t


5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Expensive Art for your Corporation:

  1. As a financial investment
  2. To impress and intrigue your customers
  3. To install pride among your employees
  4. To draw attention and admiration to your corporate spaces
  5. To emphasize or illustrate the feel or brand of your company

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Expensive Art for your Corporation:

  1. Too expensive/No budget for it
  2. Too time-consuming
  3. You lack the knowledge or education to select art
  4. You don’t trust your sense of what makes art “good”
  5. You don’t see how it will prove its worth

Much “world class” art develops its value and public presence essentially by branding, in some ways like a corporation or a politician does.  Name recognition is key for an artist to rise to the top of the heap, and for art buyers to know that they are purchasing pieces that will be fine investments.

In fact, it can get ridiculous. Often collectors have buyers purchasing art based on an artist’s name recognition alone, nabbing pieces that they haven’t even seen for incredibly high figures. The gulch between those artists earning massive incomes and those barely making a living is deep. At this high level the fine art market is difficult to understand.

Vermont isn’t far from New York geographically. However the values, budgets, and tastes are worlds apart. So, although one aspect of my collecting is about making good investments for my client, other aspects are very important in the choices we make.

My clients have their own individual tastes. I am selecting art not only for them but for a diverse group of individuals who frequent the buildings.  Finding art that pleases everyone in that group would be impossible. Art that engages some and not others is inevitable.

When I purchase art for NRG I seek a broad variety, both meaningfully and visually, so that employees who live with this art every day may be in turn confronted, broadened, confounded, provoked, and comforted by different pieces.

I have learned as I add new art to the collection that a variety of feedback, not always positive or comfortable, is encouraging because it means that people are seeing the art, interpreting it, and responding to it. This is what art is about, to open doors for people and suggest new ways of looking at life…not always a comfortable thing.

Environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben spoke at the opening of the second building.  He said this about my own commissioned artwork there:

“Corporate art is usually chosen to be as bland and inoffensive as possible–decoration, not something integral to the mission of the company. To walk around the NRG buildings and see Sarah-Lee Terrat’s installations, is to understand that this is a company that really is on the cutting edge, that’s fighting for the future and not pulling punches. It’s brave stuff, as well as beautiful.”

I’ve never received a more meaningful response than that. I understand why art often has to risk offending no one. Seeking art for that purpose is not terribly challenging, and can be fun. To have the opportunity to create and purchase art that has meaning and emotion, tells stories, and provokes response is by comparison risky. But it is much more compelling to me and to the people for whom I provide art.

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