The art of business and the business of art

My Business Advice clients vary enormously in their business interests to the point where I rarely get surprised by their ideas.

rachel_whiteread_-_houseHowever last week I saw an artist and her partner, who’s project (an ‘intervention‘ as she called it) involves building a multi-million pound house (with a significant twist). Although houses as art are not new, with perhaps Rachel Whiteread’s House, a concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house completed in autumn 1993 and exhibited at the location of the original house in East London. It drew mixed responses, winning her both the Turner Prize for best young British artist in 1993 and the K Foundation art award for worst British artist.

My client was concerned that her idea, which in some respects is even more simple in concept, if not in construction, would be stolen by rival artists. Unfortunately the nature of intellectual property is that the less tangible the idea the weaker the protection. For example the storyline for a novel is much more difficult to protect than the finished book, printed and bound.

During the advice session she recommended a visit to Roger Hiorns latest work Seizure. This show the results of a giant science experiment in a derelict flat in south London. After reinforcing the walls and ceiling and covering them in plastic sheeting, 80,000 litres of a copper sulphate solution was poured in from a hole in the ceiling. After a few weeks the temperature of the solution fell and the crystals began to grow. The result is spectacular to say the least.

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The artist admiring the fruits of his labour


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