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From Medici to Saatchi: The changing business of art

Ahead of the Joburg Art Fair running from 14 to 16 March in Sandton, independent curator CAROL BROWN looks at the changing face of corporate art collections, what it means for African and South African artists, and the why and how of supporting art.

el Anatsui’s sensational curtainUntil about ten years ago, corporate art collections were hidden behind doors and only shared with employees of the leading banks, law firms and financial institutions. They were mainly purchased for financial investment and to decorate the walls of the offices. Now, walls are disappearing from offices and the art is changing and having to fulfil new roles.

Artworks have become widely publicised assets which are used to brand a company and build internal corporate identity and as part of a wide ranging package of community and social responsibility activities.

There are many reasons for this but one which has recently surfaced is that national art museums are now longer adequately funded. It’s pretty much an international trend and not only applicable to South Africa.

This means that our heritage cannot be preserved by museums and our cultural capital becomes lost as artists seek other occupations or, in South Africa’s case, leave the country to go to places where there is more interest in purchasing contemporary art. So the big corporate collectors now have a great opportunity to fill the role previously played by museums and to become keepers of heritage and patrons of living artists.



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Posted in the category: Insight, Trends

WiFi losing hi-tech arms race

Wireless warCommercial WiFi hotspots face a dim future in South Africa – at least among corporate workers on the move, a new research study reveals.

Mobility 2007, the latest edition of World Wide Worx’s annual study of mobile technology, released this week, shows that the corporate use of WiFi – small networks that allow wireless access to the Internet – has fallen back after a steady rise in the previous three years. By contrast, the use of 3G – wireless broadband provided by the mobile networks – has rocketed.

World Wide Worx had been warning for several years that commercial WiFi hotspots, especially in hotels and conference centres, were in danger of pricing themselves out of the market. And, now that a monthly subscription to a basic 3G service is cheaper than a few hours on most commercial hotspots, the chickens have come home to roost.



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Posted in the category: News, Technology

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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