“Art & Economy”

Deichtorhallen Hamburg

Expectations could only be low: A corporation, Siemens, was hosting an exhibition on the theme of art and economy. Would there be room for critique, or would art just play the role of court jester? Such concerns were hardly assuaged by the room set aside here for the self-representations of firms that had agreed to answer questions about the politics of art in their business. As one might expect, these self-portraits dealt more or less openly with credibility, distinction, and power. They culminated in photographs of CEOs: modern-day courtly portraits, every last one of them a manly hero in a suit posing in front of the artistically high-carat appointments of his executive suite. Were such photographs not already familiar from newsmagazines, we might even, given enough goodwill, have suspected them of irony.

The artistic section of the exhibition, with thirty-two participants, went rather

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