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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 37 2022

It is worth fighting for one's own culture. Putin has cheekily claimed that Ukraine has no culture of its own. At the Venice Biennale, the team of the Pinchuk Art Center from Kyiv showed with the exhibition "we defend our freedom" that this is not true. We want to deepen this experience with the largest solo exhibition of current Ukrainian art to date in the context of contemporary art established in the West and bring Venice, Kyiv and Davos to Cologne for a month on 3,200 m² of exhibition space, parallel to Art Cologne and beyond. The budget of 390,000 euros seems daunting at first, but it's only 122 euros per m² - and we've already raised 53,000, including a donation from a well-known art insurer. The largest position in the budget is the necessary exhibition architecture, because a large former car showroom first has to be prepared for art. The second largest amount, however, goes directly to the Ukrainian artists, for lending their works, travelling here and producing works. The rest is transport, technical equipment, energy and supervision during opening hours, as well as an educational concept that places the works in a historical context.

The budget becomes more sustainable if it is spread over many shoulders. So we still hope to get 100 - 120 TEUR from public funds. The state of NRW has already sent signals - we are still waiting for the reaction of the federal government, especially that of Claudia Roth and Annalena Baerbock. The leading art insurers (all of whom also read our newsletter) should take heart, despite the increasingly difficult general situation, and donate 5,000 EUR each (via Betterplace and via Rotary Gemeindienst there are even deductible donation receipts for this) - that would be another 50 TEUR for the project. Art Cologne could also take heart and support the project, as could the galleries participating in the fair, so that here, too, around 80,000 EUR does not seem unrealistic. A fundraising dinner on 19 October for 200 invited guests should raise 100,000 EUR in deductible donations. This would finance the project - but you have all read the question marks, so our more than 2,500 readers should consider donating between 20 and 50 EUR to Betterplace ( . Should the exhibition not take place, the donations will be transferred back again, it doesn't really get any fairer than that. But please do it soon, because if we don't have half of it together by the end of the month, we will have to give up our plan, as we won't have enough time to prepare. The window of opportunity is now and cannot be postponed - I am therefore also counting on your support and thank you very much right now.

Eike Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is sounding the alarm about the lack of staff everywhere. In July, almost 430,000 people visited the exhibition houses belonging to the Uffizi, as many as all the Cologne exhibition houses together in the pandemic year 2021. The Italian Ministry of Culture has reduced the museum's budget for 2022 by 9%. But without staff, no visitors, because the crowds have to be supervised and brought in. And an NFT of Botticelli's Venus is just not as refreshing as the work itself.

The year-end rally around the still willing art buyers continued last week in New York with the Armory show and in Vienna with the Vienna Contemporary. This week, Berlin Art Week follows with the Positions fair at the old Tempelhof airport. On the opening evening at 7pm, a prize will be awarded for the best booth - we are providing EUR 3,000.00 for this.

In the Art Newspaper, tips are given for art collectors to reduce CO² - sea transport and flying coach class. The latter makes no sense at all because the planes fly anyway and you need more time (and thus CO²) to find the right solutions when you arrive at your destination squeezed into ECO and poorly rested, and the first is toxic for most works of art because the physical strain and the climatic challenge on an ocean-going ship are incomparably different than on a 12-hour flight from Frankfurt to Singapore. In the first Cologne Art Insurance Talk, this was a core topic - apart from the fact that insurers generally don't like sea transport.

Allianz has strengthened its team in Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne with an additional fine art underwriter in each case in order to spread the knowledge available at an early stage over more heads. However, their business also seems to have grown, despite some new competitors in the market.

They are probably fighting over the tender for the insurance of the art collections in Düsseldorf and Vienna. As always, Düsseldorf wants it cheap and only those who have managed at least one exhibition with an insured sum of over 100 million euros in each of the last three years. Pandemic, existing contracts and competence seem to be less of a priority in this issue. If you had insured Leonardo's Salvador Mundi with its 450 million, you would be there 4 times ... . And as far as the sole award criterion of price is concerned - we in Germany have already had our experiences with the cheapest - when it comes down to it, it doesn't work, building sites are abandoned, the wrong quality leads to premature wear and tear, and when applied to insurance, this means that those who take their breath away cannot regulate sensibly either. We refuse to participate in such tenders and prefer to take care of our customers, who mostly know what they have in us.

In this spirit, we wish you a good and stimulating week.

Yours, Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne

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Dr. Stephan Zilkens | Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker