Tibor Kalman on corporations

An exchange between Steven Heller and Tibor Kalman on corporations and design:

Tibor Kalman: You don’t become a corporation and you don’t make profit in this world without exploiting people. And I knew that Benetton was a corporation, and everybody else I had ever worked for was a corporation too There are a couple of institutions that I’ve worked for like a museum now. that is not in and of itself scummy, but it gets its money from scum. That’s just how it is, and you’re either going to go into a shell, go into academia, kill yourself or figure out a way to swim among the barracuda.

Steven Heller: So you were comfortable with the relationship?

TK: I didn’t have very much trouble reconciling with it at that time. I knew deep in my marrow that Benetton was probably not the nicest company in the world, but I thought that the freedom I was getting in making the magazine was worth the trade-off of having slightly filthy money in it. Remember, most ballet in the United States is funded by Philip Morris. Does that mean the dancers shouldn’t dance?

SH: You mean you’re not a purist?

TK: I’m not independently wealthy. I can’t afford purity. I don’t believe it’s the way to be effective.

— (via Design Dialogues)