Corporations are like wild beasts. Both are driven by blind, unthinking appetites. The only authentic instinct of a corporation is to sustain itself; its drive and creativity have one objective: shareholder return. All its talk about serving the community, building dreams, and saving lives is propaganda for its employees and customers. That said, corporations can be downright amusing, especially when they collide with the world of art. I've identified three kinds of art that corporations display in their offices and which never fail to amuse me:
( 2) Faux Rebel art: Former anti-establishment art—long defanged, decontextualized, made chic—is now the art of the "edgy" establishment. For example, a large woodcarving of Ché Guevara’s shaggy face in the board room (yes, I saw one in downtown San Francisco); a copy of a Diego Rivera mural in the lobby, etc.
(3) Motivational art: the most common kind, with framed posters of, say, a lone bald eagle in flight, muscular rowers in a longboat, lean people scaling mountain peaks. "Inspirational" words appear beneath: only those who see the invisible can do the impossible; true leaders don’t strive to be first but are the first to strive; dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible.
"AT DESPAIR, INC., we believe motivational products create unrealistic expectations, raising hopes only to dash them. That's why we created our soul-crushingly depressing Demotivators® designs, so you can skip the delusions that motivational products induce and head straight for the disappointments that follow!"
Check out some of their framed posters and the messages on them. My favorites include:
- Goals: It's best to avoid standing directly between a competitive jerk and his goals.
- Challenges: I expected times like this - but I never thought they'd be so bad, so long, and so frequent.
- Consulting: If you're not a part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.
- Defeat: For every winner, there are dozens of losers. Odds are you're one of them.
- Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.
- Apathy: If we don't take care of the customer, maybe they'll stop bugging us.
- Leaders: Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here.
- Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
- Risks: If you never try anything new, you'll miss out on many of life's great disappointments.
- Teamwork: A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.