In recent years, the local and state spending on culture will fall by around 2.5 percent. This affects around 20,000 artists, 1,000 art museums and exhibition halls. This is bad news for art publishers and galleries because public institutes are seen as opinion leaders in the art market. According to the IFO Institute, Munich, also affects more than 8600 companies and their more than 24,000 employees, including affiliate workers like Gebäudereinigung Aachen who are involved in the daily operation of the business, retail sale of works of art, collectors’ items and antiques.
In contrast, the art world celebrates success abroad, and groundbreaking exhibitions – such as “sensations” – came in recent years from London or the United States. The 2004 cultural policy agenda does not change this situation. It hardly deserves this name and lies somewhere between absolute inactivity and rather senseless activities.
Exhibition Fees for Artists in Copyright Laws
The Federal Ministry of Justice plans to legally anchor exhibition fees for artists in copyright law: Then, for example, museums, art associations, hotels, restaurants, and lawyers should pay fees to the artist for the right to exhibit his works. This would close a gap in copyright. But to assume that this improves the economic situation of the artists is far from any expertise: Because museums or art associations, for example, will not receive any additional funds for these fees and would have to save this elsewhere – for example when buying art or catalog production. The bottom line is that artists do not receive any more. This means that this legal measure is economically at least useless.
The Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) wants to expand the application of the so-called foreigner tax: Up to now, foreign artists have only been subject to a flat tax rate if they have a performance or concert in Germany. The principle is: is taxed, who as a foreigner provides a service in Germany. The tax must deduct the organizer of the artist’s fee and then pay to the German tax authorities. The tax offices in Germany, in turn, offset this with the tax authority in the home country of the artist. A process that deprives artists of their income and makes Germany unattractive to foreign artists. Promoting the mobility of artists is indeed a recently decided goal of the EU – with the voice of the Federal Government. But this does not prevent the federal government from
But since this law exists, the Ministry of Finance has not applied the “foreigner’s tax” to the sale of works: now the ministry takes the liberty of interpreting the text of its own law after many years “finally right”.
Apparently, the cultural compatibility test by Minister of State Weiss could not stop this nonsense, which is far from realistic.
Not A Change In Law, Only In Execution
In the Bundestag and in the Landtag one does not even deal with that. It was not a change in the law, but “only” a change in the execution, for which the government was responsible. And when will cultural policy consider itself responsible? When the BMF has recognized that imported shoes, luxury fashion, designer furniture, and books are also artistically produced and designed, and shoe importers that use the furniture and fashion industry to supply? Considering that thousands of companies can apply for an exemption from this tax, one begins to believe that the financial administration is now only self-governing. Administrative cuts are not on the cultural policy agenda 2004.
After all, one is not inactive in European cultural policy, but Germany has earned the sad reputation of the cultural policy brakeman – especially with the recently rediscovered partner France. Obviously, the foreign cultural policy of Germany in economic and tax matters is not determined by Ms. Minister of State Weiss, but only by Federal Finance Minister Eichel. Under his leadership, the Federal Ministry of Finance is considered backward abroad: even Switzerland has long accepted photo-art for tax purposes as art – as stipulated by an EU directive, not the BMF.
German Photographers – Highly Priced Abroad
The result is that German photographers are sold abroad at the highest prices – a revealing disgrace for the German cultural state, and a financial loss for the German fiscal authorities. But this is also not on the 2004 agenda – just as little as a foreign cultural policy that goes beyond the invitation of artist friends to travel abroad to China and elsewhere. Two years ago, foreign cultural policy was to play a greater role in the dialogue between nations – keyword: conflict prevention. Since then, little or nothing has been done by the federal government in Afghanistan or Kosovo. The fact that the Federal Foreign Office has now created a keynote speech for foreign cultural policy is not a real ray of hope. This is basic work that was overdue years ago.
Reforms in financial policy, municipal finance and trade tax, as well as in pension policy were on the agenda, for example. Reforms for the art world were not and are not on the political agenda.