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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 38 2023

In his 510th issue, Stefan Kobel has once again compiled a lot. More following on our blog.

On Sunday, the Art Week and the fair "Positions" came to an end in Berlin. The prize for the best booth, awarded by an internal jury, was presented this year to Idolon Gallery from Taipei. The sponsor of the prize is Zilkens Fine Art Schweiz GmbH.

European cultures are out of joint - at least if you follow the job advertisements of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz. The Museum der Kulturen der Welt is looking for a "Collections Manager:in (m/f/d)" via the "Verkehrsrundschau" - a publication of the logistics industry - so what now? a female or diverse collections manager male? a male or diverse collections manager female? Do we have five genders now? And somehow different every year? And the Foundation's application management trots out even further: "We encourage and welcome: -actively promote a culture of appreciation; -equal opportunities and diversity;-applications from all people, regardless of age, gender, nationality, cultural and social background, religion or belief, disability, sexual identity;-applications from People of Colour, Black people and people with a history of refugee status; - Apart from the fact that all this sounds like rather empty phrases and only becomes valuable when its concrete content is developed, one is overcome by the feeling that some things in the sequence lead to contradictions. First everyone is supposed to apply and then some seem to be welcomed and supported more than others. German with its logic is already exhausting.

Cologne, a city steeped in history and over 2000 years old, has once again managed to prove its special competence in the production of bad jokes, even though the session hasn't even started yet. 11.11 is still a long way off, but the city council's desire to turn the dull summertime into grotty humour by punishable inactivity seems to have succeeded, with a sickness rate of almost 10% (the holiday rate is not published): Motto "bruche mer nit - fott domet!" (we don't need it - get rid of it!) In January, thieves in the East Asian Museum in Cologne had already packed their loot for removal, but they were discovered at the last second and driven away without taking their items with them. The attempted break-in in June, during which a pane was broken, only led to an emergency repair. More than 10 weeks later, thieves of unknown sex entered the building through the provisionally repaired area and calmly removed top pieces from the museum, the value of which is probably higher than the reported million euros. Since Chinese collectors are also interested in historical objects from their own culture, it is conceivable that commissioned theft is the cause in this case. Artnapping is also a possibility. The art trade is closed, because the objects are all named and published in the Art Loss Register - unlike the case of the Viennese auction house, there was no copy of the police report and without it no entry. This is a bit different from the Mageburg authority, which publishes unchecked suspicious cases and thinks it is not responsible for them. Which brings us back to the Cologne city administration, which certainly can't be held responsible for the theft from the museum. Here are a few excuses to choose from - the department heads of all sexes can then make it easy for themselves by ticking the boxes: - We are not responsible; - The tender is currently being prepared; - The responsible employee (must be a man) was unfortunately ill; - The repair was not in the budget; - The coordination between the departments is still ongoing; - The cultural budget is exhausted, the measure was firmly planned for next year; - We have not been asked to do anything; - The city council has not yet decided on the use of the funds; - No one has informed us ... . In the end, no one will have done it! The principle of shared responsibility to the maximum of irresponsibility with parallel optimisation of one's own salaries works. The insurers who have to deal with the damage have good reasons to reduce or even refuse their benefits here because of considerable breaches of obligations. And given the cheap price the city pays for its art insurance (less than EUR 65,000 with EUR 200,000,000 coverage at first risk or 0.0325% p.a.), it is understandable that risk carriers, who are also responsible to their shareholders, will look very closely here. An insurance contract applies to both sides - especially in the event of a claim, because that is what it is designed for.

Antwerp is an interesting city that is difficult to enter by motor vehicle on the inside. Without a permit, which you can organise via the internet, it gets expensive. Public transport is available, but seems to have copied a few things from Deutsche Bahn. The city seems young - you only see bicycles roaring through the streets at breakneck speed, usually those on the saddle without helmets. The old people don't seem so important - probably all parked somewhere. Reduced entrance fees for museums - none whatsoever! Only pupils and students get a discount. 20 EUR is the entrance fee to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts - lavishly restored not so long ago. There are no more people at the ticket office - only two machines, but they have their moods when one is not working. No human contact when buying a ticket ? - that is certainly cost-effective in the long run but borderline atmospheric. However, the exhibition surprises with combinations that are quite something, because late Middle Ages/Renaissance and modern times are sometimes neatly mixed, as in the room in which Fouquet's Madonna is combined with works by Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymanns. Somewhere, an Ostade also hangs deliberately askew - visual habits want to be questioned.

We wish you a good start to the week, we wish Ukraine continued active support in defence of our freedom, and we wish the last remaining independent museum of East Asian art in Germany that the objects will reappear undamaged.

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

automatically translated


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