Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Bill Viola is not an artist

Posted by cathedralofshit on January 5, 2011

We have long suspected it but it is now official. The European Commission have backed Her Majesties Customs and Revenue ruling against Haunch of Venison requiring them to pay VAT on the import of his tiresome hardware at the standard rate of 17.5% (or 15% or 20% or whatever it is/ was when it happened etc) rather than the 5% that is imposed upon artworks. Dan Flavin has suffered the same fate. HoV have said the decision is “comical”. What’s really comical is that Flavin and Viola have left HoV.
Conceptually speaking CoS thinks that the EU got it pretty much right about this and the secondary market’s fetishisation of electrical appliances. To quote Grandpa Weiner: “The piece need not be built” and in the case of Viola we would all rather it wasn’t. Lucky HMRC haven’t got the time to start opening the (empty) crates bouncing bonds, back and forth between Switzerland and London or a few others would be in trouble… How long before Haunch is revealed to not be an art gallery?

2 Responses to “Bill Viola is not an artist”

  1. said

    £36,000 VAT imputes a nearly £200,000 value for light fixtures, which is insane.

    If the tax authority is insisting they are nothing but projectors and light bulbs, surely the declared and recognized value of the works should be the straight up retail cost of the hardware. And so the VAT should be calculated on this vastly deflated basis.

    I think art dealers [or whatever HoV is these days] should embrace this components-based tax scheme, and petition to have it applied to canvas and pigments and pencils, too.

  2. Rajoy said

    Surely if it’s just straight-out VAT at full rate then they can claim it back, rather than the reduced rate of 5% on the Margin Scheme – which they can’t. So they’re saving money really.

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