Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Modest Proposal (For Preventing the Contemporary Art of Britain from Being a Burden to the Country, and for Making it Beneficial to the Public). [1]

T he proposal needs further research, but here are some foundational elements:

1) Levy a tax on any artwork sold in the London art market that has been produced by an ex-student of a publicly-funded UK art school. The tax could start at 50% of sale price and reduce by 5% per year, calculated from the date the artist in question left art school; a kind of social "droit de suite".
2) Sell Anthony D'Offay's art back to him. Suggest that he reaffirm the preeminence of his collector's nous by saving his collection from the (now impoverished) state, paying back what he took in cash (£26 million) and tax relief (£14 million).[2] This may not be much in the face of the national deficit, but would be an important symbol of the private art world's solidarity with the country in time of difficulty.
3) Don't pay for the upkeep of Charles Saatchi's art collection. Do ask him to pay the state an annual fee for this service, should it be rendered.[3]
3a) Don't forget that there might be a hidden agenda behind Saatchi's rhetorical sorties.[4]
4) Each year, offer unsold artworks from the Frieze Art Fair free to people on Jobseeker's Allowance (or equivalent) in Greater London, Merseyside, Tyneside, Strathclyde, etc,* as tokens of the British art world's solidarity with the people of Britain.
5) Put any money gleaned by these means into an endowment for public-sector art venues and events.
*Other regions may apply.

[1] http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html
[2] Tim Adams, 'Anthony D'Offay. Portrait of the Perfect Dealer', Observer,2 March 2008,p.47. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/mar/02/artnews.anthonydoffay
[3] Adrian Searle, 'Saatchi Gallery: Nice gift Charles, but what now?', Guardian 1 July 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/jul/01/saatchi-gallery-museum-contemporary-art
[4] Saatchi: 'You have to build the national collection around art that is by definition validated – and more expensive. [We are left with] an inadequate national collection of our great artists – not enough prime Hockney, Freud, Bacon, Auerbach, not a good collection of British Kitchen Sink painters, or British Pop Art pioneers, like Hamilton, and a weak group of works by the YBA generation.' [Just pop in that last one, then.] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/14/turner-legacy-charles-saatchi

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