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17 Dec 2009

University of Antwerp: Call for Papers - Public Private Partnership in Contemporary Art

Public Private Partnership in Contemporary Art


31st December 2009

+ 32 3 265 54 87

Venusstraat 23
B 2000 Antwerp

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This call for papers aims at academics or academic organisations with a view of participating as a EU or Switzerland country reporter to an expert seminar on Public Private Partnership in Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium on Sat. 24th April 2010. The organiser will cover travel and accommodation costs.

The contemporary art fair artbrussels 28 takes place in Brussels from 22nd to 26th April 2010.
On the occasion of the art fair, an international 2-day legal seminar on Public Private Partnership in Contemporary Art is open for participation. On day 1, a public debate will take place on artbrussels. On day 2, an expert seminar will be held in Antwerp (Appendix 1. Programme - Appendix 2. Background).

Intention to participate should be submitted by 31st December 2009 to Proposals should contain a short cv and an outline (5 lines) of the proposed text.

A rough questionnaire will be provided by the beginning of January 2010.
A text of max 20 p. with the country report is expected by 1st April 2010. No fee is provided for this text.
The expert seminar takes place on 24th April 2010, where a comparative report will be presented and a discussion will be held.
The country reporters will then have until 24th May to submit their final report.
The proceedings will be published by Intersentia publishers by September 2010.

Appendix 1. Programme

Day 1. Public Debate – 23rd April 2010 – artbrussels (Brussels Expo)

The private-public art depot: win-win?

To approach private art collections with a professional collection policy concerning collection management (acquisition / care / use), research and preservation, could benefit both the collector and the public authorities responsible for the cultural heritage.

How does Public Private Partnership fit into this area?

General introduction

Prof. Frederik Swennen (University of Antwerp)

Invited international case-studies
- Momart (London, UK): private art depot
- La Maison Rouge (Paris, France): art exhibitions or Langen Foundation (Neuss, Germany)
- Schaulager (Basel, Switzerland): conservation, research and dissemination of art
- Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, The Netherlands): The Collections Building


Day 2. Expert Seminar – 24th April 2010 – University of Antwerp

Public Private Partnership in Contemporary Art

General introduction

Philosophical approach
Sociological approach
Managerial approach

Comparative law
o Country reports (reporters from EU countries)
o Comparative report

Appendix 2. Background

During the last decade, numerous (semi-)private initiatives – both personal and corporate, both individual and collective – have been developed in contemporary art. Private collectors play a prominent role, not in the least because of the high density of private art collections. Some private collections are considered of museological importance.

Legal measures regarding private collections include supporting, restraining and stimulating measures.

Private collectors often consider these measures as superfluous restrictions to their activities rather than as incentives with a view to facilitating their commitment to public collections.
On the one hand, existing crossovers between public and private collections are mostly applied on an ad hoc-basis. A predictable policy – thus: legal certainty – is lacking.
On the other hand, better crossovers are considered necessary, e.g. an extension of the possibility to transfer art objects to other tax regimes or a review of the deductibility of donations of works of art.

As a result, over the past years some initiatives have been undertaken by which private art collectors – as (a group of) private individuals or as (a group of) companies – have acted out as protagonists in the contemporary art sector by creating their own (legal and managerial) structures. Regarding its legal translation, this outing is generally presented as an alternative to the public art collections rather than a dialogue therewith, e.g. rather with a private foundation than by loaning or donating a gift.

All parties concerned however consider the elaboration of better crossovers between the public and the private necessary.

Firstly, there is an unbalance in available capital . On the one hand, the standstill of public resources for art hampers the creation, conservation and dissemination of public art collections, especially in the light of the high market for contemporary art. Public museums, however, are usually better equipped in terms of staff, space and assets for the conservation of and care for works of art. On the other hand, private collectors, with often multiple budgets compared to public resources, have acquired a factual primacy. This raises important questions over the role that public authorities should take in the contemporary art sector, in light of the low level of know-how amongst private collectors on conservation, documentation and care of their collection.

There is thus a second, substantive, need. It seems that in contemporary art in particular, public and private collections are increasingly fulfilling interchangeable functions. On the one hand, private collections tend to 'professionalize' or 'objectify'. In this way, the horizontal and vertical boundaries of the structures directed by private or corporate collectors and the publicly managed museum become alike. Beside, there is public interest to ensure the aforementioned functions regarding private collections in order to prevent their loss, e.g. after transmission of a collection by inheritance, or mergers and acquisitions of companies. On the other hand, private collectors contribute to a new form of unlocking public collections, e.g. by way of an ad hoc curatorship, from a subjective point of view rather than with an objective, encyclopaedic purpose.
A third reason lies in the fact that private collections' chances of survival in the long term are low in the absence of support – be it financial or in terms of know-how – from the public domain.

Public authorities currently lack efficient tools so as to stimulate private collectors to create crossovers. Research into private and public tools regarding art collections will enable the creation of efficient crossovers.

As PPP in the broad sense is considered, every of the three following means by which the public authorities responsible for cultural heritage may reach out to private (personal or corporate) art collectors:
- supporting measures, such as public subventions to private entities fulfilling functions of an art centre or cultural heritage organisation;
- restraining measures, such as property restrictions with a view of protecting the cultural heritage, e.g. export restrictions for top pieces;
- stimulating measures, such as favourable tax regimes for private foundations or inherited art collections that are open to the public; payment of inheritance taxes with art objects, deductibility from income taxes of (promised) gifts.