MONDAY 20 JAN 2014 11:27 AM


In August 2012, the Tate Modern and Unilever ended a 12-year partnership which centred on the former’s massive exhibition space Turbine Hall. The Unilever Series featured high-profile artists, a corresponding education programme and lured more than 60 million visitors.

Today, the Tate has announced the beginning of an 11-year partnership with South Korean automotive company Hyundai. Turbine Hall, the chief beneficiary of Hyundai-commissioned exhibitions, is undergoing a £215m project to increase the size of the hall and of the museum.

Hyundai’s vice chairman Euisun Chung says, “At Hyundai, we understand that cars can provide much more than transportation. They can connect with people emotionally and it is this feeling that connects people to great art. This is the nature of our partnership with Tate. 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.”

Hyundai is no stranger to the arts and heritage world. It has sponsored projects at the MMCA – South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, an institute seeking to rival the Tate and New York’s MoMa.

The arts world in Britain is heavily sponsored by private capital, as a supplement to government funding. Culture secretary Maria Miller has been a supporter of this relationship. She says, “Private sector support for the arts is absolutely vital in terms of generating a sustainable mixed economy for our cultural organisations.”

BBC arts editor Will Gompertz says such partnerships are typically unsatisfactory in terms of ROI for the sponsoring company. However, he says Hyundai may be viewing this as a form of cultural diplmacy, rather than corporate sponsorship – particularly as the Tate Modern will purchase works of South Korean art alongside the launch of the partnership. Russia's VTB Capital pursues a similar cultural partnership with British arts foundation Calvert 22.