Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fractional Gift Letters (UPDATED)

Bloomberg reports that the Whitney and other arts institutions have written letters urging Congress to reconsider the recent changes to the laws governing fractional gifts to museums.

Senator Charles Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee (until January, when he will be replaced by Democrat Max Baucus of Montana), said in a statement today that he will consider "legitimate technical points raised by the museums. But I'm not interested in unwinding the reasonable, modest reforms on fractional art donations. ... Even with the new reforms, taxpayers will still be able to make fractional art donations and claim a tax break for them. They'll just have to turn over the painting to a museum within a reasonable amount of time.''

My most recent post on the new law is here.

UPDATE: Eric Gibson, editor of the Wall Street Journal's "Leisure & Arts" page, has a piece on the new law today. He also talks about museum deaccessioning, which, he says, "used to be the tool of last resort for acquiring new art" but lately has "become the tool of first resort, with museums strip-mining their collections just to build a war chest." Lee Rosenbaum comments here.