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Zilkens' News Blog

Dr. Stephan Zilkens

Stephan Zilkens

Zilkens' News Blog 47 2022

More than 450 people came to the opening of the exhibition "Worth Fighting For" at Campus "M" in Oskar-Jäger-Strasse 97-99 in Cologne. Among them was the liberal veteran Gerhard Baum. The caterer was pleased - he didn't have to take back a bottle. The opening speeches by Berivan Aymaz, who represented the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth, and State Secretary Türkeli-Dehnert were to the point. A special highlight was the address by the new Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, as well as by the two curators Bjorn Geldhof and Bart de Baere. Some were convinced afterwards that they had understood why Ukraine will win this war. Russian War Crimes, however, is not for the faint-hearted - it combines original recordings of Russian soldiers' phone calls home with photographs of everyday war life taken by Ukrainian professionals. Fortunately, the sequence only has English subtitles that reproduce what is said - but that is enough to understand that people become beasts in war and deprive themselves of their civil rights. Now the exhibition is open in normal operation from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. - every day, including today, Monday, when museums rest from the burden of the public. We offer guided tours every Sunday at 4pm and organise others as required. Please let us know! On Wednesday 14 December we are still thinking about a finissage - more details here.

In my short life, the world population has quadrupled! Now we are 8 billion or more than 8,000,000,000 people living on this planet and want food and warmth or in short - water and energy. Those who are now radicalising themselves in Taliban fashion and throwing everything they can at works of art in order to immediately enforce their demand for decarbonisation of the world against all rules fail to recognise the power of the factual. Only Ms Thunberg points the way out via nuclear energy. But that is ideologically out of the question for the others.

Art Basel, together with UBS, commissioned a survey of 2,700 mega-collectors, which came to the conclusion that the majority of them are prepared to pay up to 25% more for a work of art if it has a better carbon footprint. I prefer to believe in the statistics that I have falsified myself, because often collectors who buy art for good money find good forwarding agents and their trained staff too expensive, and then they are treated like football players with DPD and the like. The damage is then borne by the insurers - but they exclude parcel pushers as regular carriers. According to our statistics, we are right to say so.

43,000 people visited Art Cologne this year. The queues were long in front of the security checks - amazing that some people (of all sexes, by the way) didn't understand why! But it was a clear consequence to secure the artworks at the fair. Monet's 6.5 million or Gerhard Richter's 5 million works were a potential target for an attack by the environmental Taliban - and they were unglazed. The fair itself was very pleasant to experience thanks to a completely new spatial conception. Some people found it too relaxed - and would have liked more on offer. In this case, however, less was clearly more. One could still breathe between the aisles - unlike in Basel's Unlimited, where a larger proportion of visitors were infected with the "nice" C-virus in June. The galleries' sales were also said to have been satisfactory.

In Italy, the newly elected president of the gallery association, Sirio Ortolani, feels rather lonely. This may also be due to the new Italian Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, who is a journalist close to Matteo Salvini. However, he is already planning exhibitions on Futurism and the Renaissance according to the motto "we make Italy great again". Whether he will then loosen the shackles of the Italian art trade remains to be seen. The public broadcaster - especially Deutschlandfunk - smells a headline in good old Bild newspaper tradition and bleats something about a waste of public funds. No - not the planned new building of the Chancellor's Office for more than 770 million euros is meant, but the first-time Corona subsidies for the art trade. And all this only because 4 or 5 larger galleries also received funds, beside more then 200 who really needed it.. We are basically talking about sums well below 100 kEUR. Publicly financed radio and television is not only a talking point because of the RBB. In the past, they thought they had to impose balance on the parties' bickering and squabbling = control of speaking time, control of reports and much more. But obviously everything that concerns our living conditions has been exempted from this and, for example, in the cultural programme Aspekte (come healthy through the same - loosely based on Böhmermann), they allow one-sided reporting on organic farming (sculptures, pictures, plays or songs have not been created in the process), the one-sidedness of which can really no longer be surpassed. Even the crocodile tears after the World Climate Summit are cried by those who have eaten world wisdom with spoons - stupidly, those affected don't want to hear so much about it. But Cancel Culture, Fridays for Future or Extinction Rebellion have no lobby in China, India and Africa. Better to destroy the foundations on which the balance of highly developed, freedom-oriented societies in the West is based. One could almost think that totalitarian regimes secretly feast on the intolerance of the cultural Taliban. Perhaps what we need is another, truly independent press where reporting and commentary are clearly separated and the trust in all citizens to know how to distinguish and make their own judgement.

Next weekend, after a Vienna Art Week in Miami Beach, the stands will be set up for the art fairs taking place there - quick buy before Christmas, so to speak.

In this spirit, have an optimistic week with good experiences in freedom


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