The 72-year-old Irish novelist John Banville—who also uses the nom de plume Benjamin Black—has enjoyed commercial success along with critical acclaim and has been mentioned as a possible Nobel Prize winner. But in an interview with Martina Fuchs, he says that he’s always steered clear of politics in his work. “If you put politics into art, you get bad politics and bad art,” he says. “I have no message. All I want to give to readers is delight and a heightened sense of what it is to be alive in this strange planet that we’ve been cast upon.” He also tells Fuchs, "My biggest struggle is always to try to get the sentence right.”
The Montreux Jazz Festival has just launched a media venture that will include video, podcasts, and even vinyl records, among other things. We speak to Nicolas Bonard, CEO of the new subsidiary, to find out how they are exploring a new stream of revenue and how they’ll try to monetize their rich archive.
Anneliek Sijbrandij founded the Verbier Art Summit four years ago during a sabbatical from her job as tax lawyer. Now the platform has expanded to Brazil, with the U.S. and China next in line. The aim is to drive change and foster dialogue between curators, artists and the public. Sijbrandij also tells Tanya König why she doesn’t engage galleries or auction houses as sponsors.
With over 11 million subscribers on YouTube, Casey Neistat is an online celebrity. The filmmaker and content creator spoke at the Swiss Innovation Forum in Basel yesterday on how he built his online business. Tanya König asked him about the growing influencer business and when he turns down lucrative deals.
This month, two auction houses—Christie’s and Dobiaschofsky—had total wine sales in the millions, and a new “wine bank” just opened in Switzerland, further proof that fine wine is increasingly becoming a sought-after alternative investment. Tanya König finds out why, despite its volatility, some investors are looking to wine to diversify their portfolios.
“The value of art is very hard to determine” and it can’t be rationalized, says Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist, who calls himself “a top businessman.” He discusses when he refuses to sell an artwork, the price of his activism, and why the U.S.-China trade war won’t end up as just a trade war.
Fierce, fabulous and female. Artist Daniel Eisenhut is at the Kunst Zurich art fair exhibiting a portrait series that features 100 female leaders in business, politics and culture. With the most recent Swiss elections putting record numbers of women in parliament, some of the women portrayed by Eisenhut tell us why female representation matters.
Mattel has dedicated a @Barbie in the likeness of Swiss mountaineer and helicopter pilot @Evelyne Binsack. As new @Disney “Frozen 2” dolls hit the shelves just in time for Christmas, will Barbie keep up with the competition?
Pro Helvetia is Switzerland’s Arts Council and last year it doled out CHF 42 million to artists and their projects. As an artist, says Philippe Bischof, director of Pro Helvetia, “it’s easier to survive in Switzerland than in many, many other countries.” He tells Tanya König about his organization’s selection process, its international reach, and why it is now funding gaming.
Alberto Giacometti’s “Lampe coupe aux deux figures” was the highest-selling piece last week at the Swiss Art Sale at Christie’s in Zurich. Tanya König followed that artwork until it sold and found out what goes into selling art at auction.
Well over a hundred years since she was created, Heidi is still an ambassador for Swiss tourism. Every year over 150,000 people visit the town of Maienfeld, where Johanna Spyri’s stories were set. And now the Swiss National Museum has unveiled the “Heidi in Japan” exhibition to celebrate the success of the Japanese animated cartoon that helped Heidi rise to global fame.
Regula Curti connects musicians from around the world through her digital platform, Beyond Music. The project offers an alternative to streaming apps like Spotify and has caught the attention of the U.S. Recording Academy. And with the help of Grammy Award-winning producer Larry Klein, Beyond Music’s first collaborative album, “Same Sky,” has Grammy potential of its own.
The Swiss Fashion Association curated the first-ever Swiss Pavilion at the Who’s Next fashion fair in Paris last week, presenting eight young designers to an international audience. Karin Lorez, president of the association, and designer Claudia Nabholz tell Tanya König what’s next in the push to promote Swiss designers in Europe and beyond.
Aviel Cahn takes over as director of the Grand Théâtre de Genève in September. He tells Tanya König about his plans to put the opera house on the international map and how he will take it into the future by pushing collaboration with other Geneva-based institutions.
5,500 costumed actors, 500 choir singers, 36 alpine horns, and 16 jazz musicians: This is the grandiose main performance at Fête des Vignerons, the Swiss wine festival that happens once every 20 years.