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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 29 2022

It's actually summertime and there should be time to look back on the first half of the year. Stefan Kobel looks back at the art fairs of the first half of the year. For us, the present is too eventful for time to look back.

"When Faith moves Mountains" is the name of the new exhibition at the Pinchuk Art Center in Kyiv, which opened last Friday 143 days after Russia's brutal attack on a democracy on the move. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, in coordination with the Belgian government, has loaned about 40 works of art that are in dialogue with works by Ukrainian artists. The war risk was not insurable and yet the loan was made. Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon commented: "We are happy to take this risk, because in this way we can express our solidarity with Ukraine and our desire to deepen our relations with this country."

Try looking for the members of the supervisory board of a German public limited company. You will find them - at the latest in the annual report. It's different at Documenta in Kassel. The supervisory board is headed by a journeyman (Geselle) who is also the mayor of this city in the middle of Germany. The members remain in the dark - but the board appoints the search committee, which then in turn selects the head of the next Documenta. For support, there is also an advisory board, which is internationally very broad and competent in matters of art. All these bodies have not really covered themselves with glory in the discussion about Documenta 15. First and foremost the chairman of the supervisory board (SPD), who has had a squeaky-clean administrative career from policeman to mayor. A deeper competence for art and culture has not yet become apparent, but Documenta enjoys a worldwide reputation as a supposedly (take your pick) art exhibition that can point the way for generations. Now it has been announced in scant words that the managing director of documenta und Museum Fridericianum gGmbH, Dr. Sabine Schormann, who has the power of representation, is resigning from her position in agreement with the supervisory board. Whether this will solve Documenta 15's dilemma between interesting ideas and ways of life and enabling new perceptions of quality in bad art, however, remains questionable. The global South - to use a new buzzword - certainly has artists who are capable of more than demonstration banners and slogans.

Another retreat took place rather quietly. Andreas Berndt, who was responsible for operational art insurance at ERGO Versicherung until the end of June, has decided to spend his last working years with another employer. Who that will be and where he has let it remain open - we can be curious. Meanwhile, Julia Ries continues with Johannes Kasek and her team.

Nothing is getting cheaper - inflation is the name of the interest rate disaster triggered by Mario Draghi and now by Christine Lagarde to protect the local South, that even the dollar parity with the euro that has occurred does not let itself be distracted. The fact that freight rates - and this also applies to the transport of art exhibitions - rose by 6.93% in the last quarter, as reported by the Verkehrsrundschau, is not surprising. That is still below the rate of inflation. - Incidentally, the premium rates for art insurance seem to be stable (for the time being), it's only the value development that is increasing for one or the other work.

Sports reporters of all sexes love rankings just as much as the boards of insurance companies and other business enterprises. Depending on who compiled the respective construct, it also helps their reputation. Now, Artprice seems to have got statistically confused in its attempt to sort out the market of auction houses in Europe, which has hit Drouot in Paris in particular, because they do not appear in the ranking at all. Is turnover the only yardstick for the quality then assumed behind it? Or are old masters like Kornfeld, who at almost 100 years of age can still be found in his house every day and achieves sensational results with one auction a year, not to be ranked higher? In any case, there is competition and that makes it exciting for collectors, art dealers, museums and galleries.

We wish you a week full of inspiration from the art in the places you visit. Yours, Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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