Luxury and Culture

We had a debate yesterday about the nature of the relationship between luxury and culture chaired by Will Gompertz.   There can be no doubt that companies dealing in luxury goods are increasingly involved in the world of art.   One only has to think of the Prada Foundation in Milan and the Fondation Cartier and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.   Luxury brands use many of the techniques of fine art to promote their goods in order to enhance the association, including works designed by artists and the aestheticisation of display.   Equally, there is a good case to be made that big name artists are behaving increasingly like brands, with their own shops and easily identifiable and replicable products.   So the question was:-   where do the boundaries lie ?  Is it a question of intent, whereby artists seldom, if ever, think purely in terms of commercial aims and objectives, whereas luxury brands always must ?   Is it to do with the different arenas of display as between the big shop and the gallery/museum ?  Should one resist the commodification of art ?

What does seem paradoxical is that the world of luxury is able and willing to use the vocabulary of art, taste, aesthetics, judgment, quality in a way that the art world won’t.

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