Saturday, February 25, 2006

wal-mart is so corrupt...even when it comes to its art

I found this article in Artnet news really interesting because I despise wal-mart and other wal-mart-like companies that are expanding their inventory to art, thus ruining the market for other galleries...and basically cheapening art. Well...now it looks like the wal-mart museum is avoiding paying taxes.

Artnet News

Feb. 24, 2006

SPECIAL TAX BREAK FOR WAL-MART MUSEUM
According to the website Wal-Mart Watch, the Crystal Bridges art gallery -- funded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton and set to open in 2009 in Bentonville, Ark., with works by the likes of Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper -- has benefited from some serious tax maneuvering. Last year, the state legislature passed Arkansas Act 1865, sponsored by Bentonville Republican Horace Hardwick, which provides for a series of sales and use tax exemptions to nonprofit museums that open to the public between 2005 and 2013, cost more than $30 million to build and house more than $100 million worth of art -- in other words, Crystal Bridges.

The six percent state sales tax that would ordinarily be due on Walton’s 2005 purchase of Asher B. Durand’s masterpiece, Kindred Spirits (1849) for an estimated $35 million from the New York Public Library [see Artnet News, May 19, 2005] would have alone amounted to more than $2 million of tax revenue.

Ordinarily, the tax funds would support education -- and Arkansas consistently ranks at the bottom nationally in funding for primary and secondary school education. Alice Walton, on the other hand, is listed as the world’s 30th richest person. Does it sound like Wal-Mart’s scorched earth corporate policy is proving useful to its so-called charitable activities as well? In a recent article about Crystal Bridges published in the Nation Institute’s Tom Dispatch, critic Rebecca Solnit accused Walton of "turning hallowed American art into a fig leaf to paste over naked greed and raw exploitation."

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the painting was purchased from
the new york public library the
sales tax would be paid to the state of ny and not arkansas.many if not all non profit orgs benefit
from tax exemptions of some sort

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the people who built endowed and
donated art to all cultural institutions in this country did
and continue to recieve tax deductions for their philanthropy
alice walton is building a art
museum that will be open to the public will house a collection of
great american art.she is spending
her money to do so.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous topher said...

tax breaks for art museums? That is what this story is about.
Knee jerk reaction to this story is "Wal-mart makes billions, why not make them pay twice as much?"
My feeling is that tax breaks, if available, should be made available to all and be dolled out regardless of wealth. If the wal-mart woman is forced to pay taxes, then 555 and DAM and every non-profit around should. Make it a level playing field.
This situation is akin to the NEA de-funding of the 80's. I firmly believe that our government should not be in the buisness of funding artist ventures. This idea bore fruit a number of years ago and funding was cut greatly within the NEA. out of these huge cuts was born Burning Man. Burning Man not only investigates new creative ventures, it also helps the community of Black Rock by donating money to the local highschool and other public affairs. So you see, had the NEA funding never been cut, Burning Mam never would have been born, and the black rock high school girls basketball team would have never been formed.

If this wal-mart museum is denied tax breaks, then all should be denied. That is true equality in a democracy.If anything I believe that art should be exempt from taxes just like food. That would be great and really boost the purchasing of art. Its just a dream.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous cooper said...

Wait, does anyone else find it hilarious that these folks are fans of Edward Hopper? Talk about work dealing with the detrimental effects of the industrial revolution upon the human psyche. Talk about the sadness and isolation of mechanized living as a result of the "new-era" of capitalism. Irony anyone?

I guess they are pretty pictures though.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Cooper said...

Also,
So NEA funding lead to other creative outlets, true.

You know tons of amazing art is made as a result of people facing adversity. That doesn't mean that adversity should be embraced. I mean there was some amazing work made in response the the Vietnam War. The foundations for american blues music came from a our history of slavery. Its not like the artists who developed these movements would just be picking their asses if not for their trials and tribulations. In fact, they would, in all likelyhood, have been much more productive if not for their unfortunate situations.

Funding cuts lead to a higher level of competition, no doubt. Intense competiton, however, does not always lead to "better" art. It does always lead to more stress and a more hostile climate. It also disenfranchises those who make art that is not "marketable."

Thats right, no more pretty installations, no more "happenings."

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOu are so right about Wal-Mart ruining the art market - in many ways. The biggest way that I see is by selling 'handmade oil paintings' from China that are mass produced. One person might paint 1000 parts of a painting a day - its like an assembly line for reproducing great paintings.

The public ends up thinking that oil paintings are worthless and buys the cheap crap instead of investing in supporting artists struggling to make a living with original careful works.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's in Art-kin-sawn. There all akin ta each utha anyhoo. They will point at it with thier webbed fingers..................GO FIGURE!

11:04 PM  

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