Friday, January 14, 2011

UPDATED: More on the European Commission's attempt to "define" art

A previous post discussed the European Commission's recent controversial classification of light and video-sound installations as not constituting art and therefore being subject to VAT at a rate of 20% (as opposed to 5% charged on artworks). The logic behind the regulation is inherently flawed given that VAT is said to be charged on the work's value as "sculpture" - clearly far greater than the value of its component light fitting parts. Pierre Valentin of Withers, London, who spoke to The Art Newspaper back in December, has now published an article in the opinion section of the site discussing in more detail the European Commission's move to "define" what is art or what is not art to be more precise. Valentin describes the European Commission's promulgation of EU regulation 731/2010, which overturns the decisions of two member states' (the UK and the Netherlands) tax tribunals, as a "mockery of the judicial process." But doesn't this case simply illustrate the fact that in the hierarchy of legislative sources in member states, EU law trumps national laws? Of course this doesn't justify the regulation in either substance or form (the reasoning is frankly absurd and there was no publicity or public consultation). However, the notion of the Commission taking a view on an issue different to that of two member states is hardly shocking. Furthermore, the "consensus" was among only two of the twenty-seven member states...

UPDATE: Yet one more article from The Art Newspaper on how the art world is "up in arms" over the "light bulb law"

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