When art collectors collect art that is critical of society or capitalism and thereby promote it, they sometimes think that simply acquiring this art also makes them critical and reflective collectors and people.
That’s not the case. What can happen when artists and their art are used as proof of the politically correct behavior of their collectors could be observed this year using the example of the art collector Julia Stoschek.
Stoschek is one of the most distinguished collectors of media art, she has built up an impressive and important collection. In Düsseldorf and Berlin she maintains exhibition halls in which she makes this art accessible to the public. She is the daughter of Michael Stoschek, the shareholder and chairman of the Brose group of companies. Julia Stoschek is also a partner in the company, which today earns its money by manufacturing vehicle parts. A part from Brose is installed in every second new car.
Max Brose founded the automotive equipment company in Berlin in 1908. From 1936 onwards, Brose manufactured petrol cans for the Wehrmacht, among other things. This is how the company got through the Second World War to some extent. Brose was then classified as a “follower”. Already in 1948 he managed his company again. The company’s success story continued. Til today.
The Brose company in the Nazi era
In an interview with the “New York Times” in June of this year, Julia Stoschek conveyed the impression that the company’s activities during the Nazi era had been processed through the publication of a book to mark its centenary. The Brose website states that “the history of the family company and the attitude of the company founder Max Brose during the Nazi era were examined by the historian Gregor Schöllgen and their results published”.
In addition, in 2000 Brose made a “financial contribution to the ‘Remembrance, Responsibility and Future’ foundation. The foundation paid compensation to former Nazi forced laborers on behalf of the German economy.” How much money was paid is not stated.
In an interview with the magazine “Der Spiegel”, also in June, Stoschek pointed out that the “Dimensions . . . also have to classify”. She meant that there was a difference between convicted war criminals such as the entrepreneur Friedrich Flick, who had around 50,000 forced laborers work for him under the worst conditions, and Max Brose, who in 1942 employed a total of 280 “foreign workers who were assigned by government agencies”. (as they are called on the company website) worked. But what does that mean? Are 280 forced laborers acceptable? Is a limit only exceeded after 300? What exactly are the dimensions?
The fact that Stoschek was sure of the silent approval of the artists she collected, that the company had done enough to come to terms with the company’s history, sounded like this in the “Spiegel”: “In my collection there are artists who are extremely critical, they would not work with me if they feel we have the wrong attitude.”
Leave a Reply