Singapore is opening a freeport for art and massive storage facility at the Changi airport in an effort to combat Hong Kong’s aggressive courting of the art market. Now Paris seems to be tearing a page from the same playbook. France is making real efforts to expand its role in the global art market, including building some state of the art infrastructure outside Paris according to the New York Times/International Herald Tribune:
With the global art market suffering in the economic downturn, the projects, privately financed and state supported, seek to bolster art markets by combining traditional notions of storage, exhibition and tax-free trading.
The French center, on an island in the Seine, would occupy 20,000 square meters, or about 215,000 square feet, of a former Renault car factory demolished in 2004. It “would be at once an art showroom, a storage facility and a free port,” said Daniel Janicot, head of the agency redeveloping the riverfront as part of a government-sponsored cultural and urban renewal project.
“It will be a first in France,” he said. “Customs authorities have agreed to exonerate from duty artworks coming onto the island so long as they leave Europe after sale. Our aim is to make Paris more attractive to international art traders.”
The project will rely on private financing of about €25 million, or $35 million, which Mr. Janicot hopes to raise by 2011, when construction would start.
A New Concept in Handling Art (NY Times/IHT)