“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Andy Warhol


It is challenging to think of the Art world related to business practices, as the latter is strictly associated with the capitalistic system of our times. Capitalism is known for being object of criticism by Artists since the end of the second world war; it will suffice to consider Duchamp’s custom of annulling the functional feature of consumerism’s objects, such as an iron or a urinal. However, the correlation between art and the system is fundamental to the artist’s success and sustain now a day.

What would be “success” then, from the artist’s point of view today?

Money is not the right answer. On the first chapter of his “Living with Art”, Mark Getlein suggests six activities, services or roles, of the contemporary artist:

  1. create places for some human purpose
  2. create extraordinary versions of ordinary objects
  3. record and commemorate
  4. give tangible form to the unknown
  5. give tangible form to feelings
  6. refresh our vision and help see the world in new ways.

These descriptions of the contemporary artist’s practice, distance the social role of art from the practice of making money. Artists are known for the purity of their purposes, such as raising public awareness through messages and releasing individuals through their artistic research. In 2014, I was personally told by the Italian conceptual artist Nicola Rossini, that his purpose in life is to be “remembered and studied throughout the centuries.”

How could his object be achieved?


Nicola Rossini, although his young age, 24, already have two permanent artworks exhibited on public spaces in Florence. What made the latter circumstances possible, were the collaborations amongst the artist himself, associations and public foundations.

As contemporary facts demonstrate, partnerships are vital for an artist’s breakthrough in today’s society. Andy Warhol is known for choosing and assembling other’s ideas into his most famous artworks, such as the “One Dollar Bill” or the “Campbell’s Soup Can,” which were suggested by Muriel Latow (A. M. Goldstein, 2010). Jeff Koons’ “Made in Heaven” Series debuted at the Venice Biennale in 1990, illustrate Koons and his soon bride-to-be (now ex-wife) Italian porn star, Cicciolina, during intimacy moments (the world’s best ever, 2010). Jeff Koons also collaborated with Stella McCartney, giving to the fashion designer the right to print his painting on her fabrics (Martin P. 2007 p. 38), and use the “Rabbit” sculpture as an accessory (artnet), for Stella McCartney’s spring/ summer collection 2006. Another important partnership was the Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen Collaboration of 2013, which merges the shared aesthetic vision of the artist and the fashion designer of symmetry and natural world references, in a collection of 30 scarves of unique design (Sejal K.).




Another feature which connects the Artists- Entrepreneurs listed above is the fact that most of their work arise shock and move the public opinion. All of their pieces are politically and socially active. For example, “Jim Beam – J.B. Turner Train”, by Koons, which “was a warning: Don’t be fool, keep your eyes open” (Koons, J. 2003) towards the audience; or Hirst’s “Thousands of Years”, which makes you think of the vast cycles of mortality going on all around us.


Furthermore, Warhol, with “Ambulance Disaster Two Times”, reports the temporary condition of the human mind towards the tremendous facts happening in real life often showed live on the TV (emblem of the new capitalistic society).

Every contemporary artist of success has had good collaborations with creative (and not) people and associations, to spread their concepts within the community. Furthermore, they used the means of stun the audience to take the attention of their work, through their private lives and professional practices.

From Salvador Dali’, who collaborated with designers fashion designers, to Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, etc., business has been introduced into the world of Art, as fundamental practice to spread active messages to the public awareness. Today’s artists adapt their work to our economic system, finding a way to turn it useful and meaningful, as in the past, but, at the same time, profitable for their sustain:

“When [Andy Warhol] was making very commercial work, he was always making anti-commercial work. When he was making almost unwatchable films in the 60s,he was making Elizabet Taylor paintings” (Goldstein M., 2010).

By Nicole Afonso Alves Calistri, 2016


Artnet, Stella McCartney and Jeff Koons, auction results, online source available from http://www.artnet.com/artists/ stella-mccartney-and-jeff-koons/past-auction-results, accessed on 24/01/2016

Goldstein M., 2010, “The Business Artist: How Andy Warhol Turned a Love of Money Into a $228 Million Art Career”, Blouinartinfo, online source available from http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/278514/the-business-artist- how-andy-warhol-turned-a-love-of-money, accessed on 24/01/16


Martin P. 2007, “THE ART OF FASHION;
Partnerships between artists and fashion designers have an illustrious history: think Dali and Schiaparelli, or Cocteau and Chanel. Penny Martin introduces a new set of collaborations between today’s leading lights, from Stella McCartney, Jeff Koons, Christopher Bailey and beyond. Photographs by Richard Burbridge”, Sunday Magazine, February 10, 2007, First Edition, p. 38

The world’s best ever, 2010, “INSTALLATION VIEW: JEFF KOONS “MADE IN HEAVEN” SERIES (XXX)”, The world’s best ever, online source available from http://www.theworldsbestever.com/2010/10/14/installation-view-jeff-koons- made-in-heaven-series-major-paintings/, accessed on 24/01/16

Sejal K. “The Damien Hirst & Alexander McQueen scarves are here”, Fashion, Stylist, online source available from http://www.stylist.co.uk/fashion/the-damien-hirst-and-alexander-mcqueen-scarves-are-here, accessed on 25/01/2016



Brown S. and Patterson A. 2000, “Imagining Marketing: Art, Aesthetics and Avant-Garde”, Routledge

Bätschmann O. 1997, “The Artist in the Modern World: The Conflict Between Market and Self-Expression”, Dumont

Bonami F. 2008 “Jeff Koons”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London.




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