Russian legislators passed a new law that will reduce import and export restrictions on contemporary art.
Until now, art made in the last 50 years has been categorized as a luxury good subject to high import dues of 30 percent and other restrictions, which some Russians blame for stunting the growth of the country’s art market. But those tight controls, originally implemented by lawmakers to prevent a drain of culture following the collapse of the Soviet Union, will be lifted by a new law passed at the end of January. The change comes after lobbying from some of Russia’s monied art collectors, who have access to President Vladimir Putin and will benefit from the change, The Art Newspaperreported. But some hope that the liberalization of restrictions on the art market will bring benefits for the Russian public by fostering contemporary art in the country and making it easier to open and run museums. “I really hope that, from this moment, it starts to work in a normal way, like everywhere else in the world,” Anton Belov, director of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, told The Art Newspaper.