Museums are not the only organisations that build art collections. Major companies, both national and international, also collect art. Many corporate art collections were founded decades ago, and have been expanded and updated ever since.
A project initiated by four residents of The Hague, all of them involved in the city’s local politics, has led to the exhibition PUBLIC / PRIVATE – Corporate collections – a Hague perspective, which is to open shortly at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Featuring works from the collections of company branches in The Hague, this will be a surprising and highly diverse exhibition. Visitors will be treated to an entirely different atmosphere in each gallery.
Corporate collections and museums complement each other. Each, in its own way, is essential to a healthy art climate. The role of corporate art collections is however entirely different from that of museums. For a company, art is mainly about image. It is often shown in workspaces and reception rooms. Nevertheless, the best corporate collections are certainly museum standard. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is therefore pleased to offer ten companies the opportunity to show their work to a wider audience.
Corporate collections are often the product of a well-oiled machine, with a curator – maybe even several – who pursue an ambitious collection policy focused on current developments on the Dutch and international contemporary art scene. Some companies have a smaller collection, or collect under the guidance of an external advisor. PUBLIC / PRIVATE features both types.
The exhibition highlights corporate collections from The Hague. Many of the participating companies are members of the Dutch Association for Corporate Art Collections, but this exhibition focuses mainly on their Hague branches. The result is a highly varied exhibition, including works by Anish Kapoor, Jan Dibbets, Karel Appel, Anton Corbijn, Folkert de Jong, Michael Raedecker, Don Brown, Pyke Koch and Wim Schuhmacher.
PUBLIC / PRIVATE will feature selected works from the art collections of ABN AMRO, AEGON, BAM, BNG, ING, KPMG, KPN, Nationale Nederlanden, NIBC and employers’ association VNO-NCW. They give a good impression of the character of the collections and the layout of the exhibition reflects their size. ING has by far the largest collection, followed by ABN AMRO. Work from the KPN and AEGON collections will be shown in the two remaining larger spaces. The smaller collections will be divided among the small galleries, and BAM’s collection is represented by a single sculpture.
During PUBLIC / PRIVATE, an exhibition entitled Office Life, with photographs by Philip Mechanicus and Sander van Wetten, will be staged in the museum’s Cordia Room. Philip Mechanicus photographed workplaces in the 1970s, and Sander van Wettum’s photographs show office life as it is today.