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Montieth & Company Advises on Disputed Anselm Kiefer Exhibition in China

by M&Co. Staff

Cross-border media relations support in Germany, the UK, and US

New York/London, December 20, 2016—Montieth & Company has been appointed communications counsel to advise on the issues arising in the German and Chinese art worlds resulting from the opposition of German Neo-Expressionist artist Anselm Kiefer to the exhibition of a collection of his works at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Mr. Kiefer, along with one of his art dealers, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, spoke out against the exhibition in the news media at the outset of exhibition on November 19, 2016. The resulting media coverage, which centered in Germany and China and extended through more than a dozen countries, quoted Mr. Kiefer and Ropac criticizing the exhibition’s organizers for allegedly having excluded the artist from the exhibition.

“The facts are that every effort was made to include Mr. Kiefer, and he declined to be involved,” said Montieth M. Illingworth, President of Montieth & Company, who is managing this engagement through the firm’s London and New York offices. “The artist’s so-called ‘right’ to control when, where, and by whom his or her art is displayed publicly legally ends when that art is sold and goes into a private collection. This exhibition is from private collections.”

Montieth & Company is advising the exhibition’s organizers on communications strategy, media relations, thought leadership, and stakeholder engagement within the international contemporary art and museum worlds. “The key issue here is about the freedom and the right of art curators and of museums to bring to the public culturally and historically important artworks,” added Illingworth. “While the artist’s preferences on public display must always be listened to by the curatorial world, and the relationship between artists and curators is vital to protect and advance, curatorial freedom is what’s at stake here. If curatorial freedom is eroded, the whole world suffers.”

Montieth & Company has significant experience in the international art market, working across the spectrum of events, issues, and transactions from the bi-annual auctions in London and New York to the highly exclusive world of private sales. This includes work in such niche areas as art finance and the international purchase and sale of art through Swiss freeports.

We also have specific expertise supporting individual collectors, museums, and governments on the issue of looted art. Our work across this practice group has extended through dozens of money and media centers across the world.