Dan Flavin Work Classified By EU as Light fittings

Works by the late American sculptor Dan Flavin have had VAT applied as EU says works are ‘light fittings’ The sculptures shown at the Haunch Of Venison Gallery in London have been classified as light fixtures rather than art and £36,000 in VAT has been applied. This has remained outstanding while the dispute continues. As sculptures, the pieces would be subject to only 5 per cent VAT.In its ruling, the European Court said Flavin’s work has “the characteristics of lighting fittings … and is therefore to be classified … as wall lighting fittings”. This could have serious implications to exhibitions and Art Fairs in the future. If galleries face substantial tax bills for works by Artists such as Tracey Emin, Ryan Gander and Flavin. European Commission officials claim pieces by the American artist – who is renowned for installations using fluorescent strip lights – are liable for full VAT because they are no more than “lighting fittings”. It means that any museum or gallery bringing his works into the country from outside the EU will have to pay a full VAT levy, which is due to rise to 20 per cent on Jan 1. It is likely to reignite age-old the debate over what does and does not constitute art.




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