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Living with Art:
Friedhelm Hütte on Deutsche Bank’s Fair Activities

      Friedhelm Hütte, 2005
This fall, Deutsche Bank will once again be sponsoring the Frieze Art Fair in London – one of the largest international art fairs for young art. As it did last year, the bank will be presenting itself with a stand of its own design. Prior to Frieze, which will be opening to the public on October 21, db-artmag invited Friedhelm Hütte, director of Deutsche Bank Art, to an interview to talk to him about the bank’s art activities.

This year, Deutsche Bank is sponsoring the Frieze Art Fair for the second time. The bank will also be present at the Art Cologne again with a VIP lounge. These are two of the largest European art fairs. Why such a commitment?

Friedheln Hütte: For us, the art fairs are a perfect forum to inform the public about the bank’s art activities and to achieve high public visibility for this commitment. The press is always closely involved and reports extensively on these events. At the same time, the art fairs are also an ideal forum to meet casually with the artists and galleries we work together with and to draw attention and gain new subscribers to our monthly art magazine Not least, it’s an opportunity to invite bank clients, to discuss with them, and to offer them special services in this context. This is why Private Wealth Management and Deutsche Bank Art are particularly interested in maintaining a presence at art fairs.

Deutsche Bank Art at TEFAF, Maastricht, 2005
Photo: Pieter de Vries

Deutsche Bank will be supporting the Frieze Art Fair as main sponsor for the next two years, as well. Why didn’t you decide upon a German art fair such as Berlin’s Art Forum, which could certainly use such a potent sponsor?

That’s quite right, Frieze is the only fair we’re the main sponsor of, but this is not a decision that excludes a cooperation with other fairs in another form or rules out a special appearance at these events. Three years ago, for instance, we put on an "after hours party" in Berlin on the occasion of Art Forum. That’s something we might be considering again for the future. The special thing about Frieze is that the London branch has also committed itself to working with the new fairs to an extraordinary degree. That wouldn’t have been possible in Berlin, for instance. Through Deutsche Bank’s special commitment in London, we’ve succeeded in establishing a connection that went on to make a longer-term sponsorship possible. This offers Deutsche Bank an attractive opportunity to position itself favorably in Great Britain.

Deutsche Bank Art at Frieze Art Fair, London, 2005
Photo: Lee Madwsley

How will Deutsche Bank be positioning itself at the Frieze Art Fair?

We’re setting up a generously furnished VIP lounge for our clients and guests as well as for the artists. For the first time, we’ve asked two Berlin-based artists, Ursula Döbereiner and Kirstine Roepstorff, to design an artistic work especially for the public section of our fair presentation. In addition, there will also be advertising covering our support of the Frieze as well as further events in London. For interested staff members, we’ve made a number of free tickets available for Frieze. The demand for them was so high that the tickets were completely gone within a single day. Moreover, talks with both well-known and younger curators will be taking place, including Ivona Blazwick from the Whitechapel Art Gallery. A further cooperation in this respect is the London Art Newspaper, which will be publishing an extensive piece on Ursula Döbereiner and Kirstine Roepstorff. During the fair, the newspaper will be publishing special editions each day in which they have given us an entire page to introduce the artists whose works are presented in the lounge.

Deutsche Bank Art at Art Frankfurt, 2004
Photo: Alexander Geh

This year, there will be an extensive VIP program at Art Cologne for Deutsche Bank clients and guests. What highlights can visitors look forward to?

What’s special this year is our cooperation with the magazine AD – Architectural Digest. We will be presenting ourselves in a common lounge, with AD doing the interior design and us providing the art works for the lounge. The presentation theme is "Living with Art," which fits perfectly with our concept " Art at Work." That has been and continues to be definitive for the company collection.

What is particularly fascinating about Frieze for you personally?

The Frieze Art Fair is almost as internationally conceived as the Art Basel, but it’s more concentrated on contemporary art, and hence it fits with the bank’s focus. Beyond that, London connects us in a unique way to the fashion, music, and art worlds and attracts an additional audience. This exerts a certain fascination, and I personally like this enormously.