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Frieze 2017

Frieze draws up plan to protect art world from Brexit

Director Victoria Siddall has aired her concerns about the impact on galleries that are based in the UK or exhibit at fairs

Raymond Hains’s Union Jack (2005), with Galerie Max Hetzler at Frieze London David Owens

Ongoing concerns about the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) have prompted the organisers of Frieze to draw up a list of recommendations designed to “help maintain the best possible conditions” for the art world. In an open letter, Victoria Siddall, the director of the Frieze fairs, aired her concerns about the impact of Brexit on galleries that are based in the UK or exhibit at fairs in London. Siddall shared her proposals with the Creative Industries Federation, an arts lobbying organisation, as part of a larger discussion of how the government should respond to the needs of the cultural sector.

Representatives of Frieze have “spoken to a range of people working in galleries”, Siddall says, and have formulated a plan of action with four recommendations. These include maintaining the current rate of VAT (5%) on works imported into the UK; continuing the free circulation of works between the EU and the UK; and maintaining the temporary admission procedure, which ensures that works imported temporarily for events such as fairs and exhibitions are exempt from import duties and VAT.

A major issue, Siddall says, is continued freedom of movement. “It is critical that non-UK nationals continue to be able to work in the UK. If the visa requirements must change, one solution is a specialist category providing artists and art workers with fast-track entry for specific events,” she says.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 294 October 2017