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Culture Incorporated

Museums, Artists, and Corporate Sponsorships

2002
Author:

Mark W. Rectanus

Culture Incorporated

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

In Culture Incorporated, Mark W. 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.

Culture Incorporated is a compelling look at the next stop of commercial branding—the colonization of public space and voice. While it may be fashionable to be aghast at the intensifying linkage of cultural capital with economic capital, this book shows it's more productive to be knowledgeable. Why is it happening so quickly? Using the Western museum (especially those in the United States and Germany) as a contested site, Mark Rectanus shows how the marketplace of ideas is every bit as up for grabs as the soap aisle. Like politics and education, the concept of art is just another venue of marketing. And this may not be all bad. Certainly it's not all good. A fair-minded and dispassionate look is called for and that is exactly what this book provides.

James Twitchell, Adcult USA: The Triumph of Advertising in America

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’s 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.


Culture Incorporated

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

Culture Incorporated

Culture Incorporated is a compelling look at the next stop of commercial branding—the colonization of public space and voice. While it may be fashionable to be aghast at the intensifying linkage of cultural capital with economic capital, this book shows it's more productive to be knowledgeable. Why is it happening so quickly? Using the Western museum (especially those in the United States and Germany) as a contested site, Mark Rectanus shows how the marketplace of ideas is every bit as up for grabs as the soap aisle. Like politics and education, the concept of art is just another venue of marketing. And this may not be all bad. Certainly it's not all good. A fair-minded and dispassionate look is called for and that is exactly what this book provides.

James Twitchell, Adcult USA: The Triumph of Advertising in America

Mark W. Rectanus has written a sophisticated and nuanced critique of corporate penetration and influence into the world of art and culture. This is trailblazing research that deserves the attention of all those interested in media and cultural studies.

Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mark W. Rectanus’s critique of corporate-sponsorship is a rapier-edged yet remarkably fair-minded expose.

Artichoke

Rectanus covers an impressive range of subjects. He illuminates his examples with theoretical insights from a variety of sources. This is a pioneering work that provides fascinating information and raises a number of important questions.

German Studies Review

Rectanus is a stimulating read. Culture Incorporated has much to offer to the practitioner willing to step back and open up to reflection on the wider cultural implications of museums, culture, and sponsorship

Museums Australia Magazine