Do you allow optional cookies?
In the world of the art trade, the fair circus is slowly picking up speed. After the preludes in Geneva and Bologna, the first real heavyweight is now in sight with ARCO in Madrid. The harbingers of FRIEZE in Los Angeles give cause for optimism. So does Spain's relative remoteness (geographically) from the war. Let's see what Stefan Kobel will report next week.
Some people find our newsblog too political by now. Every week since 24 February last year a commentary on the impact of the war on culture, our behaviour and the need to support Ukraine with everything we can in its struggle for our freedom too seems exhausting. Bible exegetes like Margot Käßmann, Protestant theologian, have studied the book assiduously and they know Matthew 5:39 by heart: "But I say unto you, Resist not evil, but: If anyone strikes you on your right cheek, offer him the other also." This is enough to demand the cessation of support to Ukraine with arms. The war crimes of the aggressor are swept under the carpet in the manifesto, which 500,000 (how many of them from the AfD, how many Russian cyborgs and how many inspired by pacifism???) have signed so far. For this, an entire country that is admirably fighting back is to be sacrificed? One wonders how the troops around Wagenknecht, Schwarzer, Chupalla and Co. would react if they were slapped on the right cheek. They would strike back with all the violence of the state of law and perhaps even more. Only war eludes these reaction patterns. Back in March 2022, Viktor Pinchuk made a statement in the New York Times in which he also called for fighter jets to defend the country. 1,500 km of battle lines - and should Belarus become involved in the actions, even more - can be bridged in less than an hour at Mach 2, whereas it would take armoured units weeks ... . China has now announced that it will go public with a peace initiative on 24 February (the anniversary of the Russian invasion of a peaceful country). One can be curious. Kamela Harris and Ms von der Leyen are not - Ms Baerbock is, and our much-admired head of government is keeping a low profile. Going under cover seems to be his real strength (cum-Ex sends his regards).
Despite all this, Carnival is still celebrated in Cologne and other cities and on Wednesday there is the ash cross in Catholic areas - it stands for penance, purification and transience. And then Lent begins until Easter - not so for the German trade unions, who want to satisfy their clientele with high wage demands. In the end, it is always the jobs that are taken by people who have not had the chance to qualify themselves sufficiently (to put it mildly) that are affected. Their jobs are increasingly being replaced by machines. This is another way of breeding precarious conditions by speaking out loudly against them and making human labour too expensive.
Climate change has long since caught up with the insurance industry. Natural hazards are getting bigger and more expensive. Now the first insurer, HUK-Coburg, has introduced compulsory elementary insurance for all residential building covers. The market otherwise only offers this as an opt-out variant, and certain flood zones tend to be considered uninsurable. The definition of natural hazard damage will be decisive: Flood?, inundation?; rising groundwater due to heavy rain in another region? all together or only parts of it? - We will not be unemployed ...
Cultural appropriation is, after all, a bad offence for woke people (isn't the word also an appropriation?). When I was a kid, I preferred being an Indian to being a cowboy at carnival, because the only way to fight white people armed with guns was to be cunning. "Bang, you're dead" was easier but sillier. Now a baker in Heilbronn is in trouble with the city's anti-discrimination office for decorating carnival doughnuts called Berliner (yeast dough with a sticky-sweet filling) with allegedly discriminatory decorations such as Indians, Chinese, cowboys and people of all skin colours. The shop has been doing this for generations. The Cologne Negerköpp - a carnival club in which people wear bast skirts and paint themselves black - also have problems. The discussion borders on the absurd: is learning a foreign language now also cultural appropriation? Indigenous people (what is that actually?) who walk around in clothes, like you and me, are they also committing cultural appropriation? Was the adoption of ancient Greek motifs in sculpture by the Romans cultural appropriation? Isn't Renaissance culture a single cultural appropriation? But perhaps the argument about cultural appropriation is also just an expression of a lack of education and tolerance, which is sold as its opposite. At many a university, this is taking root.
In Holland, thieves have attacked the ceramics museum in Leeuwarden and deliberately stolen 11 valuable Chinese porcelains, of which they broke 7 as they fled. 14 days earlier, a burglary attempt had failed. Now the thieves came through the roof, although the security measures had been strengthened. The works are not for sale - now one could write another crime novel in which the Chinese mafia plays a role, whose boss owns a deep cellar in which he appropriates the cultural achievements of his ancestors ...
We wish you an unshaken start to the week - stay in sympathy with us.
Stephan Zilkens and the team of Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Cologne and Solothurn