Negotiations are in train between Peter Klaus Schuster, director of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, the administrative body of the Berlin State museums, and the millionaire, Friedrich Christian (Mick) Flick over the latter’s collection, for which he would like to find a home in Berlin.
It comprises some 2,500 works of contemporary art which include works such as Paul McCarthy’s “Santa Chocolate Shop” shown last year in New York as part of the artist’s retrospective.
Berlin certainly needs to catch up on the many decades when it was not buying, but to some, the collection presents an ethical problem. Last year, Mick Flick’s plans to build a museum for it in Zurich to a design by Rem Koolhaas was blocked by protests from the Jewish community and cultural organisations because he is a grandson and heir of Hitler’s biggest arms manufacturer, Friedrich Flick, who used forced labour provided by the Nazi regime in his factories.
Opponents say that Mr Flick should contribute to the fund set up by German industry to compensate those forced into labour camps by the Nazis, rather than gratify his own vanity with a public art collection.
After all the furore, Mick Flick cancelled a planned exhibition of his collection in Munich’s Haus der Kunst as he thought “it would do the art and artists more harm than good”. He announced that he would set up a foundation in Germany endowed with DM10 million to further “Civilian courage in the face of xenophobia, racism and intolerance”.