What was once the elite and private practice of banks and law firms has become a mainstay of almost every successful business.
“Art gives the business personality,” explained Stephen McCoubrey, one of the curators in charge of the UBS Art Collection, in an interview with BBC. “When you walk into these rooms, they are pretty much all done by the same handful of fit-out architects from one company to another. What makes them unique—what makes this the UBS office and not the Credit Suisse or Goldman Sachs office—is the art on the walls and the people sitting here.”
Cultural capital is capital. Building a brand means creating leverage through dynamic spaces that speak, resonate, and stay with clients. But, as with all capital, there is a cost and a risk associated with purchasing art. Art collections are huge capital assets that tie-up surplus.
Although the argument for developing and showcasing an art collection is strong, corporations and businesses are restricted by their capital. The risks of art collecting are also of concern for companies as the market fluctuates, and poor purchasing can have an adverse affect on the perceived benefits.