Friday, April 08, 2016

Stay where you are

Put a painting by C F Goldie together with an auction price of $1.175 million and odds are the media are going to suddenly get interested in the visual arts. Last night at the International Art Centre we got a flurry of excitement and a couple of interesting questions. The new owner of the Goldie was unwilling to discuss whether or not he would export the painting to China which raises the question as to just what can be taken out of the country. In fact any protected NZ artwork can only be exported if Government approval is given under the provisions of the 1975 Protected Objects Act. In the case of the Goldie approval would be all but impossible.

So what are the rules around NZ art being taken out of the country on a permanent basis? First and foremost it has to be regarded as a ‘protected object’. This classification is pretty sweeping and means something that is ‘part of the movable cultural heritage of New Zealand and that is of importance to New Zealand, or to a part of New Zealand.' Then, if it is over 50 years old and has been made by a New Zealand artist living or dead and is related to New Zealand, it stays unless permission is formally granted.

The 50 year rule is particularly interesting as it is now starting to affect modern artists like Colin McCahon and Don Binney and Gordon Walters. As the 50 year date line line moves forward, any of works created pre-1966 are now subject to export restrictions.