German Cabinet Approves Controversial Cultural Export Bill


A piece of German legislation that has drawn the ire of artists like Georg Baselitz and Gerhard Richter was approved by the country’s federal cabinet, and is now headed to the Bundestag. The bill, called the “Culture Protection Act,” originally sought to impose restrictions on the export of artworks valued in excess of €150,000 or over 50 years old. Now, according to Deutsche Welle, it appears these limits have been relaxed to €300,000 and 70 years. When culture minister Monike Grütters first proposed the law in July, Baselitz withdrew all works he had on loan to German institutions, and Richter threatened to do the same, calling the law “an interference with freedom.”

Others have also criticized the law, including gallerist Michael Werner and billionaire Hasso Plattner, who has vowed to withdraw a planned donation of his collection to a state museum should the act go into effect, as Artnet News has noted. The “Culture Protection Act” also proposes oversight on antiquities imports, an area that has — as we have previously reported — been of particular interest to United States authorities amid reports of terrorists groups like ISIS profiting from the illicit trade in artifacts. This aspect of the bill has proven considerably less controversial.

Mostafa Heddaya (@mheddaya)

(Photo: Georg Baselitz at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr)