Countdown to Brexit

Just two weeks ago, at the opening of her exhibition ‘A Fortnight of Tears’ at the White Cube in Bermondsey, Tracey Emin once again expressed her bewilderment at the whole idea of Brexit: ‘It is really insane. If we leave Europe and it turns out OK and we’re happy eating our cabbages and we’re happy living on an island with our island mentality then fine, I’ll go along with that. But I don’t think it’s going to work like that’.

This essentially echoes last year's subliminal message to Europe with her installation 'I Want My Time With You', a 20m long LED sign hanging below the clock at the Eurostar Terminal of London St Pancras. In that occasion, Tracey Emin commented: 'I am deeply, deeply concerned about Europe and that in a year's time we're going to be a tiny little island just floating around in the North Sea. It's madness.'

Putting aside thoughts and feelings about the ongoing agonising saga of Brexit, we have a look at what it might entail for artists in the UK.


Bollocks to Brexit by Lucy Bryant

| Click the image above to discover 'Bollocks to Brexit' by Lucy Bryant |


Mounting concern about the impact of Brexit on the art world in Britain has turned into fear as negotiations have plunged into further disarray with just over a month before the UK leaves the EU. In a survey conducted by ICM for Arts Council England [read it HERE] the most pressing issues amongst arts and culture organisations appear to relate to the ability of organisations and individuals to work in the European Union for short periods, the replacement of the EU funding for the arts and the introduction of new restrictions on trade.

According to research by EUCLID [read it HERE], the EU spent an average of £40m a year on the arts, museums and art-related projects in England between 2007 and 2016 (with the exception of 2014-2015 when ESIF funds were not allocated).

It is estimated that a total of £345m funded as many as 1385 arts and cultural projects with almost 30% of this money benefitting London and the South West.

So far Theresa May's government has made a vague commitment to replicate some EU funding but failed to provide more specific details.


QE2EU Brexit Nightmare [left] and Brexit Warhol [right] by Pure Evil

QE2EU Brexit Nightmare and Brexit Warhol by Pure Evil

| Click the images above to discover Bubble Head by Pure Evil |


It's important to remember that Brexit doesn't equate solely with changes to the arts funding. There are several critical areas potentially affected by it: ARR Artist's Resale Right (artists' right to a royalty each time their artwork is sold for more than 1,000 Euro through an auction house, gallery or dealer), copyright law, export license (the present system allows the UK to purchase works of national importance at the same price at which they had been sold, thus preventing them from leaving the Country) and VAT (works purchased from within the EU are currently VAT exempted).

The same uncertainty also applies to the choice of law and jurisdiction in disputes, the restitution claims for artefacts that have been illegally removed currently in existence between EU member states and the strict anti-money laundering checks in place when purchasing valuable works of art.

Arts Council England has released an EU exit guide containing information pertinent to art organisations, museums and libraries. You can find it HERE

With only 36 days to go, it makes for a sobering read. You're welcome.


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Second Class by Heath Kane

'Second Class' by Heath Kane