I am not a Daily Mail reader nor do I read any of the Murdoch owned newspapers and yes this includes the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice. I do admit to reading the Saturday Guardian and the occasional FT for business news. Everything else newsworthy I extract from the free web. It does however surprise me when people that I have known for many years turn all xenophobic-clap trap on me. For example, I was passing a bearded friend of mine who was sitting outside in a cafe and presumed that he would be a certain stay voter. He is an architect and depends on professionals ie bankers and other service industry folk’s salaries for his livelihood. Nope he wanted to leave citing the over-kill bureaucracy of Europe as the reason. I was shocked!
The art world is another story all together. This year alone I travelled to France, Spain, Germany and Italy for exhibitions and events covered by Artlyst. Imagine shutting off this artery of free movement where British artists can’t just go to Berlin, live and work for a few months legally. Imagine returning to the days of having to acquire a visa or work permit each time you want to go and give a talk or exhibit your work in Europe. Not to mention exhibiting at international art fairs. Think logistically – FIAC in Paris or Frieze in London would be a nightmare scenario of border controls with customs and excise forms to decimate a rain forest. Every item would need to be bonded, imported and then exported if it remained unsold.
The UK is currently the epicentre of the art market in Europe. Not only is Sotheby’s and Christie’s headquarters located in the capital, turning over billions of pounds but major international galleries have located to London because it is the most important financial city in Europe. Exit and the banks will follow. They already have Switzerland, Luxembourg and Monaco why would they need us? The big US banks also want us to remain in Europe.
Now my final point. The arts are always at the frontline of cuts. We have already seen our Chancellor George Osborne cut 30% of the arts budget as an austerity measure, in the last four years. If Britain exits Europe we are going to have to dig ourselves out of the largest sink hole since WWII. How do you think that’s going to affect you as an artist or art professional?
Words: Paul Carter Robinson Artlyst Editor Photo: Via Twitter