Author Archives: kchare

Munich Art Controversy

As I mentioned in my previous blog post about the book and film “The Monuments Men,” there is somewhat of an art controversy in Munich. This issue is very hot right now because the apartment in Munich where stolen art was found was owned by Hidebrand Gurlitt, who was an art dealer in the Nazi era. He was said to have worked to establish the Nazi art museums during that time period, and to have possibly bought these relics from the Nazi party, who stole them. 

Mr. Gurlitt has since passed, but his son has been fighting for custody of these paintings and various works of art. The battle has been raging on in courts for a few months now, and at first, the authorities wanted to keep the identity of the works unknown. However, a list of the art has now been published. The works included art by Picasso, Matisse, and other renowned artists. 

It seems that the courts have ruled in favor of Mr. Gurlitt’s son, who is 80 and was housing the “stolen” relics, which he claimed were bought and paid for. How he came into possession of the works was not discussed. 300 of the over 1,500 pieces will be returning to his apartment in Munich. This has enraged Jewish groups throughout the country.

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The Monuments Men

In Munich, art is quite the popular topic in the media these days, and the rumored Nazi stolen art treasure trove is the main event. Some 1500 pieces of art work were found in a former Nazi art dealer’s apartment. These pieces include paintings and sculptures, by well-known artists as well as lesser known.

The real story, though, is this is not the first time art “stolen” by the Nazi’s has been mentioned this month. You may have seen the trailer for the film “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney and other various actors.

This film is all about reclaiming the art stolen by the Nazis during WWII. The film is based on a phenomenal book by Robert M. Edsel. I would suggest it to anyone who is even remotely interested in history, German affairs, or art. It is an incredible story of how important art truly is and how it’s tied to history.

It has been 75 years since WWII started. As a culture we are still finding new developments from that time. Finding these art works might not seem like a matter of global concern, but if you think about it, these paintings were people’s lives. It was the history of their life, and to the world that was important. These events are something to be noted — art changed these men forever.

China, the New Silicon Valley

When many think of China, their minds do not automatically snap to modern technological hub. In an article written on Spiegel Online, Bernhard Zand delves into the new world of technology sweeping through China. Technology here in the United States is a way of life. We use our cell phones on possibly an hourly basis, and frequently check emails. We live in our own little technology bubble. China has begun to burst our bubble. There is a company in China called 36Kr, which is similar to Microsoft and Apple. A few months ago, 36Kr held a party in a nightclub in downtown Beijing where music was played on apps made by 36Kr. There was also a raffle held at the end of the night that required the audience to shake their cellphones:

“Okay, everyone log in to Weixin,” the MC says, “and shake your phones: three, two, one, now!”

Weixin, WeChat in English, is the most successful Chinese chat app and everyone in The Basement had it installed on their mobile devices. When the phone is shaken, the app displays a list of everyone nearby within just seconds. Those at the top of the moderator’s Weixin list win the raffle: iPhones, paid vacation days, giant-screen televisions. One winner is so ecstatic that, new iPad in hand, he begins breakdancing on stage.

A band plays at 36Kr’s New Year party.

This is the new face of China. It is estimated that over 84% of the 1.3 billion people in China have access to cellular devices and internet. Akio Tanaka, a technology investor, said, “When I came to Beijing 10 years ago, China’s Internet was so ugly. But now, the websites of some Chinese vendors are better than those in America.” Beijing is taking an avid interest in technology, and the state is more than willing to help start-up companies get their ideas off the ground. All types of tech giants are now coming to China for ideas in technology, including Facebook, Yahoo, and various social networks. Beijing is becoming the Silicon Valley of China.