Hyundai to support Tate Modern commissions and acquisitions

When you think of Korean arts sponsorship in the UK perhaps you think of Samsung (you can normally bet that a Korean video art show has some Samsung assistance) and Asiana (who support a lot of the KCC’s activities, particularly when it comes to travel). But now, don’t forget Hyundai. They already have a 10-year partnership with MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) in Seoul, which allows MMCA to invent a strong promotional platform for Korean artists. And on Monday this week they announced an 11-year partnership (2014 – 2025) with the Tate.

The Tate Modern turbine hall (image courtesy of the Tate)
The Tate Modern turbine hall (image courtesy of the Tate)

The headline news is support for commissions in the huge Turbine Hall of the former power station (pictured). “Hyundai’s commitment to Tate will give us an unprecedented opportunity to plan for the future, and will secure a decade of exciting new Turbine Hall commissions for all Tate Modern’s visitors,” is the official quote from Tate chief Sir Nicholas Serota.

But Hyundai is also providing support to boost the Tate’s Asian art collection, starting with nine Nam June Paik works.

“At Hyundai Motor, we understand that cars can provide much more than transportation. They can connect with people emotionally and it is this same feeling that connects people to great art. This is the nature of our partnership with Tate,” is the official quote from Hyundai Motor’s Vice Chairman Euisun Chung. “We are excited about the new possibilities that lie ahead and are very privileged to be working together with the Tate on this inspiring collaboration.”

Great news.

Will Gompertz, the BBC’s arts boffin, comments as follows:

It is highly unusual for a company to sign up to an 11-year sponsorship. The norm is a three-year deal, sometimes it can be five, but 11 is extraordinary. And very risky.

In my experience, most corporate sponsorships involving consumer brands with physical products to sell fail to live up to the sponsor’s expectations. Typically, the company doesn’t achieve the shift in perception it had hoped for, nor the consumer recognition of its involvement in the arts.

But it’s possible this deal is as much about cultural diplomacy as it is about corporate sponsorship.

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