German government considers reducing VAT for art sales

Plus: Art Basel and UBS publish global art market report | UCL Culture restructuring proposal draws criticism | Adel Abdessemed withdraws video of burning chickens from exhibition in Lyon | and Michael Morgner wins inaugural Schmidt-Rottluff Art Prize

15 March 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

German government considers possibility of reintroducing VAT breaks on art sales | Germany’s newly formed coalition government is considering the possibility of reviving a reduced VAT rate on commercially traded works of art, reports ArtNet. In a document outlining its legislative agenda, the government announced that it is ‘working towards ensuring the realisation of the previous legislative conditions of the art trade prior to 2014’, when art was taxed at a reduced rate of 7 per cent (in 2014, this was raised to 19 per cent, in line with the country’s standard VAT rate).

Art Basel and UBS publish global art market report | The second edition of Art Basel and UBS’s Global Art Market report has been published, finding that in 2017 the sector has shown growth following two years of decline. According to the report, authored by Clare McAndrew, the art market grew by 12 per cent to an estimated $63.7bn in 2017, with gains significantly boosted by a number of high-profile sales, such as that of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi last November. Works sold for over $1m – one per cent of transactions – accounted for 64 per cent of the total figure.

UCL Culture restructuring proposal draws criticism | University College London has drawn criticism for its proposal to restructure the management of its cultural unit, reports the Museums Association. UCL Culture, the body responsible for the UCL Art Museum, the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, presented the plan – which proposes, among other changes, that the individual managerial posts at the three museums be merged into one role across the institutions – for consultation to its staff on 13 February. Documents outlining the proposal have since been made public by UCL professor Joe Cain, who has created a petition calling for the plans to be rejected.

Adel Abdessemed withdraws video of burning chickens from exhibition in Lyon | French-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed has decided to take down a video installation from an exhibition of his work in Lyon, reports Le Figaro (French language article). The video, entitled Printemps, appears to depict chickens being burned alive, and sparked an outcry on social media following the opening of Abdessemed’s exhibition at MAC Lyon last week. The museum has explained that the video was created using special cinematic effects and the chickens were not harmed during its making.

Michael Morgner wins inaugural Schmidt-Rottluff Art Prize | German artist Michael Morgner has been awarded the inaugural Schmidt-Rottluff Art Prize, reports Artforum. The biennial award is intended to recognise the life’s work of a contemporary artist, granting its winner $25,000.