Social Commitment: Communicating Art and Promoting Encounters with the New
The promotion of art is part of the Mercedes-Benz’s broader social commitment to culture and education. With its art collection, the company aims to create a tangible benefit for the common good. The basis for this is Mercedes-Benz’s understanding of its role in reacting to social issues and developments in a responsible way. The goal of creating an art collection of high museum quality originated within the company itself.
Mercedes-Benz is an of-the-moment, modern luxury brand. Luxury is all about the extraordinary — and that creates desire. It’s the same with art: high-caliber art is both rare and fascinating. With our Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, we want to open up access to the artistic worlds found in life. As part of a globally active corporation whose employees move across a wide variety of cultural spheres, the Art Collection considers the communication of art to both internal and external target groups as a central task and mission. Art is an expression of our human thinking, living, and behavior. It is a mirror of society, helping us to reflect on our own actions and, in this way, to rethink our point of view. Art offers people the luxury of insight, pleasure, and fascination. Its vibrant presence opens up space for open exchanges of ideas and encounters with the new, which can be experienced both intellectually and sensually.
Fostering Accessibility and Exchange: High-profile Exhibitions Inside and Outside the Company
Exhibitions of the works within the company as well as in international museums enable the art-interested public to engage with the Collection on a broad basis. A large part of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection can be seen at the company’s various locations – some permanently, some temporarily. In this way, employees have the opportunity to encounter the cultural, social, political, and aesthetic concepts of contemporary art in the context of their everyday work lives. We present the individual works and groups of works in meaningful contexts and in locations generally accessible to our employees in Stuttgart (Untertürkheim, Vaihingen, Mercedes-Benz Bank), Sindelfingen und Berlin (Mercedes-Benz Vertrieb Deutschland and Marienfelde). This points to the fact that, from the very beginning, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection’s approaches and objectives went far beyond the idea of merely decorating the Group’s buildings and offices.
With its exhibitions, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection brings people together. Artists are builders of bridges, helping to bring people into dialogue – even across borders or lines of resistance. Since 2000, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has attracted around two million visitors with some 120 internal and external high-quality, imaginatively curated exhibitions in renowned German and international museums, such as those in New York, Detroit, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Singapore, Sao Paulo, or Buenos Aires. In addition, the Collection makes its works available via loans to international exhibitions and museums – such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao or the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Between 2003 and 2013, representative works from the Collection were hosted by international museums as part of a world tour, accompanied by an extensive education program. The artistic endeavors of the Collection are experienced as an engaging platform for exchange and social encounters.
Expansion of the Collection, Active support for Young and Upcoming Artists, and Publications
In addition to its lively exhibition activities both inside and outside company locations, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection’s focus also includes the addition of works of art to the Collection and producing accompanying publications. We see it as our duty to develop our collection, because only a lively collection that integrates and communicates the latest tendencies in art is perceived as an active means of cultural advancement. The art collection emphasizes the acquisition of young art – in particular from South Africa, India, South America and China, in order to contribute to a conscientious policy of support. The works of young artists are integrated into the Collection’s exhibitions and publications and presented to a wide audience both inside and outside of the company.
Beginning in 1991, the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection initiated the Mercedes-Benz Art Scope program in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Japan to promote the development of contemporary art and cultural exchange between Japan and Europe. The centerpiece of the program is a three-month artist-in-residence fellowship for Japanese artists in Berlin and for German artists in Tokyo, with accompanying exhibitions in both cities. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection has also gained international recognition for its wide range of art publications. These publications are available worldwide and are the subject of numerous reviews in art journals and magazines.
Further focal points of the Collection include collaborations within the company, for example with the Mercedes-Benz Museum or in the context of internal company educational programs, as well as art projects intended for public spaces. Over the years, the Collection has developed into a living, breathing part of the company.