Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The federal government buys art for three million euros

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Dhe federal art collection is being expanded considerably to help artists in the corona crisis. Minister of Culture Monika Grütters has increased this year’s purchase budget for the collection of contemporary art within the “Neustart Kultur” program by 2.5 million euros to now three million euros. Around 150 works of art are to be bought for the collection this year with the money. An independent purchasing commission will look for works at art fairs as well as with artists directly and in galleries.

Frank Pergande

Political correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.

As a rule, the value of an acquired work of art should not exceed 20,000 euros. However, direct application from artists will not be possible. Grütters said to the FAS: “With the short-term increase in the purchase budget, we are giving the federal art collection a quick and effective impetus to revive art production in the currently difficult situation.” Smaller galleries in particular should benefit from the broad diversification of purchases and through the Direct acquisition in ateliers artists “to be encouraged and supported”.

The Federal State Minister of Culture manages and supervises the federal collection of contemporary art, founded in 1970. Usually half a million euros a year are available for this. Between 2012 and 2020, three hundred works were acquired for 2.7 million euros. An independent purchasing commission, whose members are appointed by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media for five years each, makes suggestions for this. They work on a voluntary basis.

State art purchases, which are supposed to help artists in a serious social crisis, have a long tradition. In 1934, for example, the American President Roosevelt initiated the “Public Works of Art Project” program after the stock market collapse. Thousands of artists have received commissions for more than a million dollars, including Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Roosevelt’s commissioner at the time decided: “Hell, they have to eat like everyone else.”

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