According to the Speaker:
One important issue of the enterprise culture that has engulfed both Britain and America since the Reagan and Thatcher governments first set it in train in the early 1980s was the extent to which contemporary culture, and especially contemporary art, has been subjected to the process of privatisation in both countries. Since the 1980s, corporate art collections were set up with increasing frequency on both sides of the Atlantic. Modern corporations did not hesitate to use their economic power to recruit their own curators and set up their own art departments, and they set about vigorously emulating what used formerly to be the prerogatives of public art museums and galleries by organizing and touring their own collections at home and abroad. They also successfully transformed art museums and galleries into their own public-relations vehicles. This they did by taking over the function that cultural institutions enjoy in our society, and by exploiting their social status, the extent of their ambition can be even more clearly illustrated by the art galleries or branches of public museums that they established within corporate premises, and the art exhibitions which they either held there or organised to tour the country. It was as if art had in fact become part and parcel of their everyday business practices. In short, business influence became well advanced in every phase of contemporary art - in its production, its dissemination and its reception. The talk will attempt to answer the question: To what extent is corporate intervention in the arts still an important and active phenomenon, and what forms is it now taking in our contemporary cultural life?