this issue contains
>> Welcome to "25"
>> Hall of Fame englisch
>> Interview with Ariane Grigoteit
>> Visionary Spaces: Zaha Hadid

>> archive


Art at work: Neo Rauch, Stereo, 2001,
Photo: Lee Mawdsley, London

But what use is all this to individual staff members in the bank?

A great deal. A concern that is uninformed about the problems of and changes taking place in society can no longer work at a profit and develop social visions. In the Deutsche Bank, art helps develop well-informed opinions. In this sense it is a massive asset in developing corporate strategy. Art is of course an image factor for the Deutsche Bank, but it is much more. It would make no sense to create fresh impetus without following up with deeds. Through our cultural commitment we want not only to reflect on social developments but also to assume responsibility in this sphere—to support artistic talent, initiate discussion, provide active help. And in this respect the bank's art activities are indissolubly linked to other aspects of its cultural and social commitments. Thus for instance the bank has commitments not only towards art and music but also towards society in general—whereby all these aspects are brought together under Corporate Cultural Affairs.

Art at work: Sigmar Polke, Untitled (Gespenster), 1963,
Photo: Lee Mawdsley, London

Do staff members respond to the art in the bank?

Indeed they do, and in a range of ways. From the very beginning the bank's decision to present contemporary art in the workplace has been both a motivation and a challenge. Art is not a fig-leaf in this respect but represents an emotional and spiritual dividend, an opportunity of examining the questions of contemporary society from other perspectives. What is fascinating is that the bank's collection is one of its best investments: it was bought at very reasonable prices and has risen considerably in value. Many people now see that something of great worth has been created here, and when I receive reactions from colleagues such as those contained in the emails published in this catalogue, then I know that the struggle has been worth it.

Cristiano Mascaro, Mec Rio de Janeiro, 1987
Deutsche Bank Collection, © Cristiano Mascaro

With all due respect to cultural commitment and art's media effectiveness, is art not a fairly elitist affair after all?

The one does not preclude the other. While art may indeed take up radical positions or criticise the negative effects of globalisation, many artists belong to networks of art galleries that market such positions at a profit. This contradictory situation shows that polarised thinking in terms of oppositions like "radical" and "conservative", "underground" and "establishment, is no longer relevant. As concerns increasingly take over responsibility for art sponsorship in the face of empty public coffers, they must also keep an open mind on the controversial and uncomfortable issues that art articulates. It would be marvellous if our anniversary exhibition could show its visitors that art is not just something for the select few.

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