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Culture Incorporated: Museums, Artists, And Corporate Sponsorships
by Mark W. Rectanus
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
Paper: 978-0-8166-3852-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8166-3851-2
Library of Congress Classification NX710.R43 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 700.79

An exposé of the hidden costs of corporate funding of the arts.

Photographer Annie Leibowitz collaborates with American Express on a portrait exhibition. Absolut Vodka engages artists for their advertisements. Philip Morris mounts an "Arts Against Hunger" campaign in partnership with prominent museums. Is it art or PR, and where is the line that separates the artistic from the corporate? According to Mark Rectanus, that line has blurred. These mergers of art, business, and museums, he argues, are examples of the worldwide privatization of cultural funding.

In Culture Incorporated, Rectanus calls for full disclosure of corporate involvement in cultural events and examines how corporations, art institutions, and foundations are reshaping the cultural terrain. In turn, he also shows how that ground is destabilized by artists subverting these same institutions to create a heightened awareness of critical alternatives.

Rectanus exposes how sponsorship helps maintain social legitimation in a time when corporations are the target of significant criticism. He provides wide-ranging examples of artists and institutions grappling with corporate sponsorship, including artists' collaboration with sponsors, corporate sponsorship of museum exhibitions, festivals, and rock concerts, and cybersponsoring. Throughout, Rectanus analyzes the convergence of cultural institutions with global corporate politics and its influence on our culture and our communities.

Mark W. Rectanus is professor of German at Iowa State University.

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