Corporations are people, Sarah Guthrie paints their portraits

Scott Edelman sez, "Artist Sarah Guthrie (whose work I discovered at the Crystal City, VA art installation Artomatic) believes that since Citizens United grants corporations the same legal status as human beings, they's surely want their own portraits. And so she has painted AT&T, Mattel, General Mills and other corporations in the style of the old masters in a series she calls Corporate Masters. She writes: 'The corporations selected are large multi-nationals that have been highlighted in the news recently: for legally paying less in federal income tax than you and me; for market domination; for bringing the economy to the brink of disaster.'"

3 more reasons to visit Artomatic (Thanks, Scott!)


  1. Corporations brought the economy to the brink of disaster? Jeez… (headslap). Stick to painting, please. The real reasons the economy fell into a ditch are not terribly complex, but will challenge popular notions that everything should be free and that neither business nor homeowners should suffer consequences.

    1. Yes, corporations did bring the economy to the brink of disaster. And, you should thank the taxpayers for bailing their sorry butts out, (getting “free” relief in the process). If it had been allowed to collapse the suffering would have been much worse. But we keep setting up the same system over and over again, in spite of the crappy track record of the past. Boom and bust and boom and bust, it never ends.

  2. As much as I dislike many of the things that megacorporations have wrought upon this planet and its people, and as much as I disagree with some of the things that corporate personhood allows big business to get away with, it always gets my goat when I hear, “Corporations aren’t people!” No, they aren’t, and this statement is a misunderstanding of the concept of “corporate personhood.” The U.S. legal concept of corporate personhood is NOT the same thing as saying corporations should be treated as if they are actually people, with all of the same rights as human beings (despite it sometimes seeming like corporation are treated preferentially to humans, both in the U.S. and elsewhere). Corporate personhood is simply a concept that states that, because a corporation represents a group of people, it is entitled to certain legal rights and responsibilities. But these rights and responsibilities are not the same as those that a citizen (human being) holds.

    1.  If they really were people, we could arrest them for being sociopathic mass murderers. I’m ok with this.

  3. They’re just portraits with logos on the faces. Not exactly inspired. I was hoping AT&T would be an old man in military uniform with a thousand-mile vacant stare, or Mattel a vapid blonde with a gregarious manufactured grin. And so on.

    1. Or any Wall Street firm could be depicted as Bela Lugosi, with blood dripping from his lips. Or, Exxon/Mobil could be Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy, our worst nightmare, ruining our sleep with another fuel rate increase.

  4. I keep sending marriage proposals.  No response yet.  Sigh…it would be a lovely wedding.

  5. Artomatic is great fun and has tons of really cool things to see, and also a ton of crap.  There is also a lot of this political commentary that is so in your face its not clever or as interesting as they think.  I passed up all of that with a big yawn and sought out the really cool things (like glass cast star wars figures, Lovecraft door knockers, etc etc).

    Whatever floats your boats or keeps you faux rage going I guess.

  6. “Are corporations human beings?” is really two questions.

    1) Are corporations human? The answer is yes, at least on this planet.

    2) Are corporations beings? The answer is no; they are collections of beings. (On the other hand, there was Valentina by Joseph H. Delaney and Marc Stiegler. On the gripping hand, that hasn’t happened yet.)

    Since corporations aren’t beings, they pay no taxes. The taxes supposedly paid by corporations are actually paid by the humans associated with them. In other words, it makes no sense to complain about them not paying enough taxes.

Comments are closed.