When Attitudes Become Form
Philip Morris Becomes Sponsor
Arts sponsorship in Europe against the background of developments in America





„Some company recently was interested in buying my `aura´. They didn´t want my product. They kept saying, `We want your aura´. I never figured out what they wanted. But they were willing to pay a lot for it. So then I thought that if somebody was willing to pay that much for it, I should try to figure out what it is.[2]

Andy Warhol, the author of this anecdote, pursued a particular philosophy with regard to his work, which seems to be perfectly compatible with the said company´s interest, namely: „Good business is the best art.“[3] This was not meant ironically; it can be taken as a perhaps provocative, but undoubtedly accurate comment on Warhol´s perfect mastery of image making, public relations and marketing. He was without doubt the most successful artist-entrepreneur of the 20th century and, with his Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc., founded back in the Sixties, he was probably the greatest Master of the Business of Art. John Lennon even described him as „the biggest publicity man in the world.“[4] Warhol refused to have anything to do with the idealistic belief in an autonomy and a purity of the arts which set them apart from all economic reality. As someone who started out as a commercial artist, he was completely at home with the overlapping of artistic and commercial values. His business orientation can be seen as nothing less than a strategy to open up the work of the artist to economic principles. Today, 13 years after Warhol´s death, art and culture are positioned within a system of connections and dependencies that is influenced more comprehensively than ever by economics. In the past decade and a half in particular, the opposite poles of art and business, often regarded as total antitheses, have entered into a close association, welcomed enthusiastically by some as an advance and a necessity, and bitterly criticised by others as a disastrous alliance.

I. The phenomenon of private arts sponsorship.

While the public purse increasingly remains prudently closed, there has been since the Eighties, in the more affluent countries of Europe, a growing tendency for the arts to be funded by the private sector. As the state withdraws more and more from the provision of subsidies for cultural institutions, numerous concerns, banks, insurances, production companies and service enterprises are putting art at the centre of their corporate culture and their public image. Art sponsorship has developed internationally into an important component of marketing and public relations. For several years in some countries, there have been private agencies acting as brokers and intermediaries between the art world and the business world, while in Austria and Switzerland, for example, such a service is already provided by the state. The existence of journals like Der Kultursponsor or Sponsor News, and an annual international trade fair for sponsors are evidence enough of interest in the subject. Sponsorship as a business practice is understood as “the promotion of artists or cultural institutions by the provision of finance, material assistance or services with the aim of receiving an equivalent benefit in return, mostly in the form of publicity.“[5] If an exhibition in a museum, for instance, is sponsored, the following could be agreed with the museum: the naming of the sponsor on the posters, programmes, tickets and in the catalogue; participation in the press conference; exclusive interviews; a speech by a representative of the sponsor at the opening; private viewings and free tickets for members of staff or customers, mention of the sponsorship in advertising and company reports etc..


These returns for services rendered are normally geared to corporate aims, because a sponsor is a manager acting according to business criteria, not a sensitive, selfless patron. Modern patronage in the form of generous donations certainly plays an important role in the financing of the arts, but a search for the motives behind this practice leads into a grey area. The distribution of private-sector donations as opposed to sponsorship tends to happen very discreetly, though this does not necessarily imply altruism, since donations are often associated with lobbyist ambitions. On the other hand, there are very limited possibilities of setting donations off against tax, while genuine sponsorship expenses, in Germany for instance, can be put down as fully legitimate business expenses. In no other European country is so much money spent on the arts by the private and the public sector as in Germany. In 1994 over 2.3 billion Deutschmarks went on sponsorship, most of it to sport, but also 380 million Deutschmarks to the arts. In 1995 arts sponsorship amounted to 425 million Deutschmarks, with the same amount being raised from patronage. The millions of German sponsorship were a mere 3% of what the state, the Länder and the cities spent that year on the arts (14.5 billion Deutschmarks)[6], and it was a small amount, too, compared to the 50 billion Deutschmarks that German business spent on advertising and public relations. Nevertheless, many large and small projects of individual artists and museums could not be realized today without sponsorship, because precisely the above-mentioned 3% includes the finance that still allows museums, for example, to plan ahead for their exhibitions.

In general, sponsorship is always a business to the mutual benefit of two partners, who, however, are pursuing different aims. The sponsor wants to be seen as a business partner, whose interests will be safeguarded. The central question must now be: how are these interests dealt with? And what effect can private-sector arts sponsorship have on the arts? Sponsoring itself is not the problem. What is relevant first and foremost is the question of how this form of funding is handled and what the long-term consequences are. But first of all, at the outset, let us briefly consider what specifically the interests of business in the arts are.

II. The economic interests of business

Klaus Siebenhaar, a writer on cultural studies and the history of communications, had this to say of the Eighties: „Backed up by the empirical social sciences and socio-cultural research, which diagnosed a change in values, a development towards individual freedom and self-realization, a new thinking very gradually began to make itself felt in the boardroom.“[7] In many countries of Europe, forward-looking management theories sought to incorporate specifically artistic qualities as constitutive elements in entrepreneurial strategies. Business saw the figure of the artist as embodying creativity, imagination and innovation, individualism, self-reliance, and flexibility. In short: art was viewed as intellectually stimulating productive capital for the creative culture aspired to by business. Theoretical economist Kenneth Galbraith summed this up when he expressed the opinion that the artist, consciously or unconsciously, is an essential factor in industrial progress. “[8]

Thomas Bechtler, Swiss entrepreneur and president of the Züricher Kunsthaus, formulated the interest in artistic activity as follows: „As a rule, the rational and analytical aspect is emphasized and over-emphasized in management, and at the same time the importance of intuition for management decisions is underestimated or completely overlooked. But in many cases intuition plays a key role.“ Art as a form of communication that encourages intuition can be „a means of learning to grasp a complex situation with the help of a simplified image.“[9] In short, this idea is very much in keeping with current post-modern thinking: „The world can no longer be put into words, it can only be perceived and described with the help of images.“[10] Notwithstanding all the rationality necessary to economic practice, a commitment to art must now contribute, so the corporate view, to a progress-orientated productivity and innovative capability. The fact is, however, that the words creativity, flexitibility and innovation, which are so readily bandied about, issue from the mouths of „advocates“ of the arts „who attribute a significance to them that they were not made for“[11], but by which they are increasingly measured. No artist creates a work in order to serve as a proxy for or an expression of economic efficiency. If so be that a work of art in a corporate collection does indeed promote the professional creativity and motivation of the staff and thus sharpens their competitive faculties, this certainly has nothing to do with the thinking and the intention of the artist. And that makes the basic difference in interests clear.

Apart from the productivity aspect, the construction of an identity also plays a large role in the linking of art with business. Identity, here, is not understood as a naturally given constant, but the most general form of individual and collective self-definition. Interest-led emphasis on identities and thus also on differences, foreignness and divergence can easily lead, on the political level, to negative policies of inclusion and exclusion. But from a business point of view, establishing an identity appears to be an essential element of a competition-driven market economy. The image of both product and producer is extremely important for their social acceptability, sometimes even more important than the objectifiable quality of what is on offer. Many a commercial no longer even shows the actual product, only its symbolic appeal. Richard Bachinger of the public relations department of the Italian Olivetti concern had this to say on the subject: „In future only companies with a clearly recognizable identity will survive in an increasingly competitive market. Since the products are scarcely distinguishable as to price, performance and even appearance, the identity and thus the image of a corporation can influence the buyer decisively.“[12] And now the fine arts no less are being mobilized to give a company a distinctive image and set it off from others in the field, because the fine arts make a visible and tangible contribution to the specific corporate identity which has been strategically planned and put into operation. Sponsorship activities or corporate collecting – the building up of an internal company collection – can, however, have an internal as well as an external impact in that they strengthen the ties that bind the employees to the company. In the eyes of business, art thus constitutes a socially integrating factor, which ultimately is expected to provide an effective competitive edge.

III. The frank speaking of some sponsors

Looking at the glossy brochures of some European concerns, banks and insurance companies, one still often gets the impression that the motives of these institutions in funding the arts really are primarily altruistic. They continually mention highly honourable aims: commitment to art, social responsibility, support for young artists, open-mindedness towards art, improvement of the quality of life etc. No doubt there may be companies here and there who really are so socially and philanthropically inclined, but the interest of the great majority is in economics, and that is only natural. The fact that sponsorship cultivates an ethos of responsibility in which general social values – like those that art and culture supposedly represent for the sponsors - are used to justify a company´s business activities is rarely or only coyly admitted in public. Though in a survey carried out in 1994 by iFO, a German institute for business management and research, 92.4% of sponsoring companies named the cultivation of their own image as the primary motive for sponsorship.[13]

In the USA and occasionally also in Europe people are much more open about the question of interests where arts sponsorship is concerned. George Weisman, chief executive of the American cigarette company Philip Morris, wrote in an advertising brochure: „The fundamental interest of business in art is self-interest. [....] Our decision to promote art was not determine by the indigence or the situation of the art scene. Our sole desire was to be better than our competitors.“[14] The consistency with which this aim was pursued became evident in the mid-Nineties, when the New York city authorities were considering banning smoking in public places. Philip Morris threatened to withdraw their support for New York´s museums. Even in Switzerland, they don´t hesitate when it´s a question of the criteria of private cultural funding. Sponsor Hans Bär of the renowned Zürich banking house Julius Bär was very frank on the subject: „Culture has become a business, and it´s the same there as anywhere else: if something doesn´t sell, it has little chance of surviving.“[15]

Alain-Dominique Perrin, president of Cartier International, explained the sponsorship activities of his company briefly and to the point: „They allow you to seduce public opinion.“[16] A public relations man with the American company Mobil Oil put it more aggressively: „These programmes make us sufficiently acceptable so that when important issues are at stake, we can afford to be brutal.“[17] That the company can be brutal towards artists and museums became evident in 1984 when it threatened London´s Tate Gallery, which it was sponsoring, with court action because it had put on an exhibition of works by the New York artist Hans Haacke, some of which take a critical view of Mobil Oil´s corporate policies.

In the mid-Sixties David Rockefeller, chairman of the board of America´s Chase Manhattan Bank, summed up the real interest of business in art in exemplary fashion: „A connection with the arts [.....] can make the comany known and give it a more glowing reputation with the public and improve its image. It can make for better relations with the customers, and awake in them a greater readiness to buy the company´s products and a higher estimation of their quality.“[18] Accordingly, the prime aim in general is an image transfer, in other words the projection onto the corporate image of the positive image created by the sponsored cultural event.

The following questions now arise. What are the positive and negative sides of form of cultural funding specific to the USA? What role does business play here? And can we, or to what extent can we speak of an exemplary model, from a European point of view? Against the background of current developments in US art museums, a differentiated assessment will now be attempted.

IV. The system of arts funding in the USA

Since the beginning of the 19th century, it has been generally agreed in middle-class European society that promoting cultural life is a fundamental public responsibility. It is a basic principle of traditional American liberalism, on the other hand, that it is personal initiative that enables people to lead an independent, productive and cuIturally creative life. This attitude geared to individualism and personal responsibility, together with the mistrust of state intervention, has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand it hinders the setting up of a comprehensive system of social security and health care; on the other hand it encourages commitment in the individual, also for the common good.

Both the welfare sector and promotion of the arts in the USA are heavily reliant on private funding, because the American constitution contains no requirement for the state to take over any specific responsibilities in the cultural sector. Consequently, museums, orchestras, opera houses, theatres, universities and libraries would be unthinkable without private commitment. Even America´s single public-service television channel, the cultural channel PBS, or a highly-subsidized museum like the National Gallery of Art in Washington are dependent on patrons, sponsors and foundations. In 1990, for example, at federal, state and municipal level in the USA, approximately 1.2 billion dollars were spent on the arts[19], while in the same year the public purse in Germany, for example, allocated over 11 billion Deutschmarks.[20] In 1994, American companies spent 875 million dollars[21] on promoting the arts, whereas German companies only spent around 380 million Deutschmarks.[22] These few figures are enough to show clearly the difference of emphasis in the way the two countries fund the arts. But they also make it plain that Germany´s extremely high-density, rich and thus also much more expensive cultural landscape could never be financed along American lines. This country at the heart of Europe, tiny by American standards, has some 150 symphony orchestras, while the USA has only 55 comparable ensembles; not to speak of the over 100 German opera houses with musicians on permanent staff, and the corresponding institutions in America, of which there are only two dozen.

It is impossible here to go into the remarkable history of American art collections, but the point should at least be made that almost all US art museums owe their existence historically to private, charitable foundations, with over three-quarters of them still continuing to be privately funded. They are mostly run, at their own discretion, by boards of trustees. The trustees are almost without exception prominent figures from the world of finance and business. The policies followed by the museums are determined indirectly by these trustees, since the directors and curators are wholly dependent on their good will and cannot act really independently. Apart from attending official and social functions, fundraising is one of the principal tasks of the trustees, because the museums receive on average only 20 to 30% of the money they need in subsidies from federal, state and municipal administrations. There are, however, a large number of museums which get practically no funding, like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, for example. They have to earn the money they need from entrance fees, museum shops, restaurants and cafeterias, and lending fees. Apart from that, donations from private individuals, membership fees and interest on founding capital play a very big role. For cultural institutions, therefore, as also for the welfare sector, education and the churches, fundraising is their main organisational responsibility after the business of running the institute. Fundraising is understood as the methodical form of collecting donations, and no one in America would ever dream of denigrating the practice as begging. On the contrary, a whole industry has meanwhile grown up, with fundraising consultants whose profession it is to find money which will be used for the public good.

A remarkable number of Americans regard it as a social obligation to make a voluntary contribution to public welfare, whether in the form of donations or of voluntary work. This philanthropic tradition enjoys a high profile in the USA. To the private financial contributions to the museums from members, citizens´committees, and individual donors there came increasingly, from the Seventies on, funds from business enterprises. Although the majority of money for the arts continues to come from the private donations of individual citizens and not from business, still the latter has become an important factor, by now, in cultural funding. As far back as 1967, David Rockefeller set up the Business Committee for the Arts, which promotes cooperation between business enterprises and cultural institutions. This association of businesses advertizes vigorously in trade journals on behalf of its members, expressly pointing out the opportunities to improve the corporate image and thus the success of the company through donations, foundations, sponsorship and corporate collecting. In general there is a high acceptance in the USA of the symbiotic interlinking of art and commerce. However, the dependence of museums on the businesses that sponsor them has taken on highly dubious forms over the last fifteen years, namely since the museums have allowed themselves to become involved without reserve in the image building of large corporations. Thomas Krens, director of New York´s Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and of the museum of the same name, openly admitted: „Corporations tell museums which exhibitions they want to see realized, depending on the tastes of their audience. [.....] museums have become part of the advertising program of corporations.“[23]

In Germany this attitude has found its echo and its climax to date in the words of Jean-Christophe Ammann, director of Frankfurt´s Museum of Modern Art: „We want to become part of the philosophy of a corporation [....].“[24] He rented the façade of his museum to a company who put up there a giant metal cream carton. In the case of advertising like that, which intrudes so aggressively upon the public face of the museum, one can only wonder whether the people of Frankfurt are able or willing to go on identifying with this institution. Rudi Fuchs of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam went even further than Ammann. At the end of 1999 he wanted to rent 600 square metres of his institution to the car company Audi for the presentation of new models. This grotesque pact was only foiled by the intervention of the municipal authorities.

V. Arts funding in the USA: exemplary model or nightmare?

There follows now a discussion of three current problems arising for the beneficiaries of the American system of arts promotion. It must be emphazised that their citing below is not an expression of typically Eurocentric prejudice, but is widely supported by explicit American criticism.

1. Increasing self-censorship in American cultural institutions

Since for sponsors of events in particular, media response and attendance numbers are seen as the only verifiable criteria of success, projects with a wide popular appeal and hence a strong impact on the media will always be most highly favoured by the corporations. The programmes planned by museums or orchestras must appeal to a wide public and above all to the sponsors. What is offered is thus subject to the principle of acceptability, and this both reduces the range of cultural variety and encourages tendencies towards opportunism. Thus increasingly in the USA decisions as to arts programming are taken in the light of whether it suits the requirements of potential sponsors and donors. Under these circumstances, people´s traditional perception of art as an autonomous quantity in the ideal sense and also as a critical authority is losing more and more ground, because „programmes likely to upset the sponsors in the corporations would not only put the personal careers of museum staff at risk but also the survival of their institute.“[25] This leads to an over-hasty compliance, which precludes risk-taking exhibition experiments from the outset through the excercise of self-censorship.

In most American cultural institutions, in particular the big museums, this phenomenon has been noticeably on the increase in the last few years. Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has said in public that he wouldn´t exhibit any paintings in his museum that were likely to provoke, for fear of frightening away the patrons and the sponsors.[26] For the same reason the great Smithsonian Institution in Washington instructed the National Museum of American History not to report, in the exhibition „Science in American Life“ which opened in 1994, on the damage to health caused by the chemical industry. Particularly scandalous was the cancelling at short notice in 1989 of the big Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington´s oldest art museum. Because Jesse Helms, one of the most conservative Republicans in the American Congress, had fiercely criticized the state subsidy for this exhibition, the director of the museum, a woman, called the exhibition off shortly before it was due to open. In 1999 the director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, closed an art exhibition in over-hasty compliance, because the project that had been planned by his predecessor reputedly included works that were blasphemous. The list of examples of this kind of self-censorship could go on and on.

That self-censorship of the arts has meanwhile started to spread in a European country like Germany, too, can be deduced from something said by Brigitte Conzen, the former secretary of the Cultural Circle in the Federation of German Industries (BDI): “A sponsor has no need to exert influence, since the projects that are suggested to him have already been made `suitable´. The self-censorship of the people making the suggestions functions perfectly and goes into operation at an early stage.“[27] This might be in the interests of business, but it is not in the interests of culture, which cannot allow itself to be restricted to what is entertainment-orientated and easy to consume. Social acceptability, an understandable criterion for business, must not become a basic category for a responsible cultural policy. The provocative and the uncomfortable, the experimental and the minority interest – these need to be promoted too, indeed it is precisely these that need promoting. Whatever already enjoys a wide consensus has no need of additional moral support. (The so-called sponsoring of concerts by Michael Jackson or the Rolling Stones, who have not the slightest need for such support, seems particularly absurd in this context.)

2. The capitalization of the museums and their collections

European museums and art galleries are under increasing pressure to work with profit in mind, to market art aggressively and to be guided by entrepreneurial costing principles. The danger – indeed the actual consequence in some cases – is of a `Disneylandization´ in the sense of a shameless populist commercialization. In the words of the main sponsor of the controversial Berlin Biennale of 1998: „An exhibition must be managed like a business, geared to demand for the product, market analysis, stated target.“[28] The cultural value of an art exhibition was clearly measured here with sole reference to the market. But what was the good of this sponsor´s absurd notions if the experts´ criticism of the project was damning?

In the USA too, the institution of the art museum is no longer always first and foremost a place for collecting, conserving, researching and communicating art as an elementary embodiment of cultural practice. The museums and the objects in their care are today often described simply as `assets´. Thomas Krens, for example, director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, habitually speaks not of the museum but of the `museum industry´, of exhibitions being `products´, and of the practice of `asset management´.[29] „The estimated art assets of the Guggenheim Foundation amount to at least three billion dollars.“ Following drastic cut-backs in funding particularly by the municipal authorities, a boom in museum marketing set in in the USA to open up alternative sources of finance, and this is massively supported by business enterprises. But capitalization did not just bring with it competitive analyses, market research and product policies, it also involved a large-scale assault on their own permanent collections. It is true that practically every American art museum sells works from its own collection.[30] But in the meantime the entrepreneurial attitude of the museum directors and their trustees has assumed proportions that have caused an outcry even in the USA .

In 1990 the Guggenheim Museum sold for 21 million dollars at Sotheby´s a painting by Kandinsky that from the point of view of art history was hugely important, unique and one of the mainstays of the collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art followed suit and more or less at the same time sold 149 works from its holdings. New York´s Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Minneapolis Art Institute also took part in a sell-out of their works. The periodical Art in America commented aptly: „The frank acknowledgment that art works represent `stock´ or `assets´ violates a traditional idea of the museum as a guardian of cultural patrimony resistant to shifting fashions.“[31] Although the American Association of Museums has been emphasizing repeatedly since the Seventies how important it is to keep a collection together, and that when a work is sold it can mostly never be replaced[32], the Shelburne Museum in Vermont auctioned 22 top-class impressionist paintings at Sotheby´s a few years ago, to put its ailing finances in order. The works were all from the Havemeyer Collection, one of the most legendary of America´s private collections. The first five works alone, which were auctioned in November 1996, realized over 30 million dollars, but will be lost forever as far as the collection is concerned. This kind of museum sell-out is not necessarily restricted to the USA, as is evidenced by the negative example of the National Graphics Collection and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, which in the second half of the Nineties turned a number of works from its collection into cash, though a much more modest amount, in order to fill the museum´s empty coffers.

3. The withdrawal of both public and private-corporate sponsors

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which was set up in the mid-Sixties, is the only US federal authority that exists for the specific purpose of supporting the arts. In 1996 this state foundation spent a modest 162 millions dollars. A resolution passed a year later by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives reduced the amount available to the NEA to less than 100 million dollars. Catastrophic is the only word for this development, because the significance of the NEA lies in more than just the amount of state funds it has to distribute. It has the function of making manifest the reason why a beneficiary is worthy of sponsorship and thus represents a challenge to private sponsors to co-operate in giving their support. If this challenge no longer exists, this will inevitably lead corporate sponsors to withdraw, which they are beginning to do anyway, for other reasons.

Largely because of financial problems relating to the state of the economy, many American companies, especially large companies, are currently being significantly less generous with their sponsorships and donations than they were a few years ago. Even a crowd-puller like the New York Museum of Modern Art´s big summer exhibition of 1996, Picasso and Portrait Painting, was made to feel this. The fact that US business funded only 10% of the budget for this exhibition can be taken as a clear alarm signal. Some companies, however, are withdrawing their money from arts promotion not for economic reasons but for reasons of political corectness, and are putting it instead into the welfare sector, from which the government is increasingly withdrawing. They give their support to schools for the socially underprivileged, soup kitchens, hostels for the homeless, the inadequate health-care system, or the fight against youth unemployment in the cities. For these reasons, the immensely wealthy Lannan Foundation, which had its own art museum in Los Angeles, has stopped buying contemporary art in the last few years, and has sold the most important works in its holdings.

The welfare sector and the environment have emerged as areas where prestige is to be won, and in Europe, too, welfare- and eco-sponsoring are on the increase. Although we live in a so-called leisure-orientated society, visitor numbers have clearly been falling in a number of museums and galleries in particular. If changing priorities should direct the attention of the sponsors to something else, they will doubtless have no hesitation in withdrawing their support from art and bestowing their favour on other sectors, which seem likely to do more for their image. Even though the forecasts optimistically assume that expenditure on the arts by private sponsors will rise in the coming years, this doesn´t alter the fact that business has to maintain its flexibility, also in the negative sense. And if arts sponsorship loses its appeal, the state will be neither willing nor able to fill the yawning financial gaps.

VI. Opportunities and prospects

Since the question as to “exemplary model or nightmare“ cannot be answered decisively one way or the other, we shall concentrate in conclusion on specifically positive sides of the American model of arts funding. As far as the enormous number of private donations, gifts and other provisions of patronage is concerned, one can have nothing but admiration for the social commitment of the Americans and their creative feeling for the arts. But to speak of a general model for Europe in this regard is certainly not appropriate, since the overall differences between the societies and the systems of arts sponsorship are too great. In particular, we do not have here that strong liberalist principle of personal initiative and at the same time the individual sense of responsibility for social matters.

Nevertheless, it may be assumed that the search for private sources of funding can be extended and to some extent professionalized following the American model, if one thinks for example of the practice of fundraising in the museum sector, which was referred to earlier. We hear all the time that the willingness of private individuals to give to the arts could be activated by improvements to the basic tax laws. A private patron in Germany, for instance, is only allowed to claim tax relief on 10% of his total income donated for cultural purposes. In the USA, remarkably, there is no percentual limit whatsoever on tax-exempted donations to causes that benefit the public, and this of course is an enormus encourgement to people to give. It is not surprising, therefore, that according to a study by John Hopkins University the average amount donated per head for good causes is the equivalent of over 1200 Deutschmarks in America and only 170 Deutschmarks in Germany.[33] Gifts of art works to museums also come in for special relief in the USA, in total contrast to Germany, and this has been so since the beginning of the 20th century: „The donor can set off, for tax purposes, the full current value of the work, which can be very much greater than at the time of purchase. Undoubtedly these tax concessions are one main reason for private gifts,“[34] as Richard Oldenburg, a former director of the New York Museum of Modern Art, pointed out recently at an international colloquium.

On the one hand, therefore, there is a need in Europe for signals to be put out by those responsible for cultural and financial policies which will contribute, along the lines of the American model, to encouraging a more positive attitude in society towards private inititatives, particularly those instituted by patrons and private foundations. On the other hand, despite all adversity, the aim has to be adhered to of securing the necessary public funding in the long term, in order to circumvent the negative phenomenon of the withdrawal of private-corporate sponsors, the capitalization of museums and institutional self-censorship, all of which can already be clearly observed in the USA. Europe should also take careful note of the fact that at the end of the Nineties, under the system of mostly private funding for the arts, many American museum directors expressed great dissatisfaction.[35] Numerous directors of museums, for example in Dallas, Chicago, New York, Washington and Philadelphia, resigned their posts. The balancing act between management and art, between fundraising and research is becoming more and more of a frustrating acrobatic contortion. Interests are too far apart and this is a constant source of conflict, which American museum directors are reacting to with increasing criticism or even with resignations.

© Hubertus Butin

[1] Clemens Krümmel, `superdocumenta´, in Rita Baukrowitz and Karin Günther (eds.), team compendium: selfmade matches, Hamburg, 1996, 160.
[2] Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. (From A to B and Back Again), New York, 1975, 77.
[3] Warhol, ibid. 92.
[4] John Lennon, quoted from Victor Bockris, Andy Warhol, Düsseldorf, 1989, 381.
[5] Peter Roth, `Theorie´, in Christoph Graf Douglas (ed.), Corporate Collecting und Corporate Sponsoring. Dokumentation des Symposiums zur Art Frankfurt 1994, Regensburg, 1994, 35.
[6] Brigitte Kössner, Kunstsponsoring II. Neue Trends & Entwicklungen, Vienna, 1998, 47.
[7] Klaus Siebenhaar, Kultur & Management. Positionen – Tendenzen – Perspektiven, Berlin, 1992, 9.
[8] See Richard Kriesche, `Kunst im Glück´, in Kunstforum International, 87, January/February 1987, 234.
[9] Thomas Bechtler, quoted from Marjory Jacobson, Kunst im Unternehmen, Frankfurt/Main, 1994, 170.
[10] Uta Kösser, `Wenn die Welt-Anschauung in die Brüche geht, ist es besser, sich die Welt anzuschauen´, in Weimarer Beiträge, 2, 1993, 202.
[11] Walther Grasskamp, Kunst und Geld. Szenen einer Mischehe, Munich, 1998, 71.
[12] Richard Bachinger, quoted from Karla Fohrbeck, Renaissance der Mäzene? Interessenvielfalt in der privaten Kulturfinanzierung, Cologne, 1989, 296.
[13] Marlies Hummel, `Kulturfinanzierung durch Unternehmen in Zeiten verschärfter ökonomischer Sachzwänge´, in Cultural Circle in the Federation of German Industries (BDI) (ed.), Die Krise uberwinden. Kulturförderung in gemeinsamer Verantwortung (II). Grünbuch des Aktionskreises Kultur, Bonn, 1996, 74.
[14] George Weisman, Philip Morris und die Kunst, Munich, 1982 , no page number (German advertizing brochure put out by Philip Morris GmbH).
[15] Hans Bär, quoted from Paolo Bianchi, `Kunst als Ausdruck der Unternehmenskultur´, in Kunstforum International, 102, July/August, 1989, 224.
[16] Alain-Dominique Perrin, quoted from Sandra d´Aboville, `Le mécénat français: la fin d´un préjugé´, in Galeries Magazine, 15, October/November, 1986, 74.
[17] Without a name, quoted from Hans Haacke, `Der Kampf ums Geld. Sponsoren, Kunst, moderne Zeiten´, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11.10.95.
[18] David Rockefeller, quoted from Hans Haacke, `Arbeitsbedingungen´, in Kunstforum International, 42, June 1980, 215f.
[19] Federal government spending: 697 million dollars (not including Public Broadcasting), federal state spending: 292 million dollars, spending of the 51 major cities: 184 million dollars. In Franz Otto Hofecker, Michael Söndermann, Andreas Johannes Wiesand (eds.), Kulturfinanzierung im Föderalismus, ( kultur & wissenschaft, 7), Bonn, 1994, 120, 220-234.
[20] According to figures from the Bonn Centre for Cultural Research in Wiesand (op. cit.), 192 – 194.
[21] Richard Oldenburg, `Abschied vom Kunsttempel. Wie können Museen im nächsten Jahhundert überleben?´, in Lettre International, 34, 1996, 44 (a lecture given on 22 May 1996 at the colloquium Museo/Museum: organización, gestión y communicazión in Barcelona).
[22] Ekkehard Bechler, `Rahmenbedingungen und Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten der privaten Kulturförderung und –finanzierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, in Fohrbeck op. cit., 48.
[23] Thomas Krens, `Museum Finances´, in Martin Feldstein (ed.), The Economics of Art Museums, Chicago, 1991, 64.
[24] Jean-Christophe Ammann, `Schöpferische Allianz. Mit Sponsoren in die Zukunft´, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24.10.95.
[25] Hans Haacke, `Arbeitsbedingungen´, in Kunstforum International, 42, June 1980, 218.
[26] Philippe de Montebello, see Amei Wallach, `High Stakes in Gambling Town´, in New York Newsday, 10. 4. 1990, 15.
[27] Brigitte Conzen, `Der Mäzen´, in Werner Lippert (ed.), Corporate Collecting. Manager: Die neuen Medici, Düsseldorf 1990, 31.
[28] Eberhard von Mayntz, quoted from Friedrich Meschede, `Ein Gespenst geht um´, in Hilmar Hoffman (ed.), Das Guggenheim-Prinzip, Cologne, 1999, 80.
[29] Thomas Krens, quoted from Rosalind Krauss, `Die kulturelle Logik des spätkapitalistischen Museums´, in Texte zur Kunst, 2, Volume 2, June 1992, 142.
[30] Peter Temin, `An Economic History of American Art Museums´, in Feldstein, op. cit, 179 - 193.
[31] Philip Weiss, `Selling the Collection´, in Art in America, 78, July 1990, 125.
[32] Steven L. Katz, `Museum Trusteeship: The Fiduciary Ethic Applied´, in The Journal of Arts Management and Law, 4, Volume 16, Winter 1987, 72f.
[33] Roman Herzog, `Operative Stiftungsarbeit´in Hummel, op.cit, 39.
[34] Richard Oldenburg, `Abschied vom Kunsttempel. Wie können Museen im nächsten Jahrhundert überleben?´, in Lettre International, op.cit., 43.
[35] Eduard Beaucamp, `Fluchtwelle´, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 18.8.98.