The corporate world meets the art world

China International Business (
   Issue 271/August 2010
Mark Graham

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The corporate world meets the art world in a most convivial way at the offices of Ogilvy & Mather in Beijing. Art-loving boss Shenan Chuang decided to give over part of an office floor to ever-changing art displays. Instead of a traditional reception area, visitors step out of the elevator and arrive at the O-Gallery, which hosts a dazzling display of contemporary Chinese art. “The idea is to invite young artists who don’ t have a gallery to support them,” says Chuang, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Greater China. “I think it is more meaningful because we can help the young artists. Ogilvy is a high profile company in China so it helps them that we use the company name to support the artist.

“It gets a lot of publicity and media attention, we send invitations to clients, the media, even our rivals, and they are all very happy. The artists don’t have to be famous but they have to have potential to become great artists. There are no real rules, just that the art cannot be too vulgar. Only once have I said ‘no’ to the curator; it was not a piece that the curator was comfortable with either.”

In the past five years, the company has had a dozen exhibitions, curated by Han Tsungwoo, with a total of some 250 pieces displayed. All the work is for sale – Chuang has even bought a number of works herself and is eyeing a few sculptures in the current Generational Mash-up exhibition.

Putting art to the fore, she says, helps project a funky and modern image to clients, and, in addition, helps make the company more appealing to potential employees.

“It is so cool and unprecedented it makes you feel you want to join the company,” says Ogilvy & Mather public relations executive Sarah Guldin. “The art made it seem to me like an interesting place to work, and I have heard that from other people as well.”

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China International Business is the fastest-growing and most highly regarded English language business magazine in China. Our team of respected journalists and expert commentators cover the stories that matter for the people that matter, keeping our readers abreast of the latest news, trends and developments affecting their businesses in China. Our readers are key decision-makers in foreign-invested enterprises across China.

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Date: August 12, 2010