The Corporate Arts Manifesto

  1. The Corporate World is a valid of an artistic medium: as literature, film, music or painting become more and more storied, many things have already been done. It’s natural to look for new artistic mediums.
  2. Corporate Arts demands that a company is run for a purpose other than the pure pursuit of profit: It should aim to inspire, move, subvert or delight both its employees and the world at large. Practitioners of the corporate arts should endeavor to inspire, move, subvert or delight within the system they are working.
  3. A corporation should be viewed as any other secret society: a sports team, a club, a rock and roll band. Like the best of secret societies, it should contribute positively to society at large, giving something to society beyond the members of the club (a team that plays a great game for everyone’s enjoyment, a club that performs charitable acts benefiting those beyond the club, a rock and roll band that puts out an album that emotionally moves people). It fosters a sense of camaraderie, but does not view outsiders as the enemy.
  4. Style Points matter in the Corporate Arts: To succeed in the Corporate Arts, practitioners must earn style points. That is, how you make your money in the corporate arts matters. Indeed, it is the point of the Corporate Arts – that you exist in the corporate world without compromising your artistic values. To that end, some corporate pursuits are more worthwhile than others from an artistic point of view, and should be judged accordingly. Concretely, making money in the corporate world at the expense of others is against the ethos of the corporate arts. Making money in a manner that is fun, interesting, rewarding, or contributes to humanity earns style points. At the very least, a practitioner of the corporate arts must work in a manner that is, on balance, neutral. Those who participate in corporate america who do earn profit at the expense of others are not in the corporate arts, and should receive negative style points. Some examples: Predatory banking — negative style points. A company bringing manufacturing back to America in some small way: lots of style points. Damaging the environment, belittling certain groups of humans, or breaking the law are massive negative style points.
  5. That being said, style points are accumulated in the corporate arts for giving a lot of people great jobs, even if the contribute nothing else to society (but it cannot be a detriment to society). A creative shop that just employs a bunch of people making stuff but to no real public benefit: medium style points.
  6. Style points should not be confused with a lack of substance: The best corporate art is more than skin deep. It answers the tough questions, it has a holistic viewpoint.
  7. It is not antithetical to the corporate arts to make money, even in excess of what one needs to survive. This is true in the corporate arts as it is in literature, acting or music. However, it is vital that this be done morally, and with artistic flair. It is even acceptable to get wealthy in the Corporate Arts and still maintain your artistry. If in doubt, your artistic peers will decide whether you have accomplished this or sold out. You will be given the right to defend yourself in the court of Corporate Artistic law.
  8. Every opportunity in the corporate world is an opportunity for artistic expression: Do not just write a press release, craft something clever, artistic, and subversive (if possible). You can apply the corporate arts to a lawn mowing pattern, the design of a restroom sign, a purchase order.
  9. It is possible to be an outsider or an insider in the Corporate Arts. Both are valid. Much as some painters come from within the system an some do not, or some musicians are nurtured by more successful ones. One may work with a group of other people in a corporate endeavor that holistically embraces the Corporate Arts. Conversely, one may practice the Corporate Arts within a non-artistic corporation. In such instances, the Corporate Artist should endeavor to act as a prankster, subversive, moral conscience or uplifting artistic presence. There may be some corporate entities where this is not possible. Also bear in mind rule #4 regarding style points.
  10. The corporate arts are not the providence of privilege. They can be performed at the lowest level of the corporate scale. The Corporate Arts place a premium on authenticity in art: it is easier for a person of wealthy provenance to participate in the corporate arts, but it is more difficult for said person to create truly moving Corporate Art with high style points.
  11. When in doubt, ask would Tony Wilson or Bill Drummond do?