The Corporate Occupation of the Arts. -OccupyLSX / The Bank of Ideas
Earl St. EC2A 2AL – Sat 14th Jan 2012.  2- 6pm

We're taking part in this afternoon of presentations and discussions at the Bank of Ideas, an abandoned office block purchased several years ago by the bank UBS and squatted by Occupy LSX. More info about it all below

Could there be a crueller indictment of an art world that is convinced of its moral superiority to mainstream culture than to be subsidized by one of the criminal financial forces that has brought our culture to its very knees?
Mat Gleason

Art is the ultimate emotional branding.  
Brunswick International Corporate Communications Partnership.

An afternoon of talks by artists, activists, writers and academics to explore the parasitic and exploitative relationship between art and capital. We will discuss the politics of sponsorship; activism against sponsors, Bloombergism, the transformation of the Art School and the ideological takeover of the dissensual values of art.

·     Corporations who refuse to pay £billions in taxes are fêted for their relatively paltry largess and are awarded privileged access to events and policymaking. Donations no longer fit within notions of ‘patronage’ or ‘philanthropy’ but are strategically targeted blue chip branding exercises. This is part of a much bigger drive towards the marketisation of the arts and the privatisation of cultural provision and public space.

·     There is a long history of Art’s aesthetic and sensual pleasures being used to conceal ethical irresponsibility. Now though, the space of dissent and critique is commodified and art’s autonomy is turned against itself.

·     Whist arts funding is slashed, and the public space decimated, the artist’s labour is being yet more intensively exploited.  Dozens of Associate Lectureship have been axed, a 10% wage cut imposed on ICA staff and 800 interns work for free. All this whilst corporate capital turns its casino logic into spectacular saleroom values.

·     In campaigns against BP’s sponsorship of the Tate and demonstrations at auction houses, activists have recently brought public attention how the arts are used to whitewash toxic reputations and in the appropriation of arts positive values and associations. No account is taken of the contradiction between the utter incompatibility between the ethical promise of the art world and the destructive activities of many corporations.

·     As is usual in Occupy, our conversation will turn from analysis and critique of ‘what is going on’ into planning and strategy for ‘what is to be done’.

Organised by Andrew Conio. (University of Wolverhampton and Chelsea School of Art.)


Andrew Conio. Introduction – The State Against Art
Platform. Licence to Spill – Big oil and the UK art scene.
Liberate Tate. Performance interventions in gallery spaces
John Beck (Newcastle University) and Matthew Cornford (University of Brighton). The Art School and the Culture Shed.
John Cussans. Protest Pedagogy.
Mark McGowan. There is No Law Against Art.
Dean Kenning. The Corporate Occupation of Art.
Freee. Mel Jordan, Andy Hewitt and Dave Beech. Economists are Wrong.
Precarious Workers Brigade. How Can we Fight the Marketisaton and Corporatisation of the Arts?