Wednesday 8 June 2011

No sign of thaw in Russia-US art freeze

As reported here, following the decision of the US district court for the DC Circuit in the case of Chabad-Lubavitch v Russia in 2010, Russia imposed a ban on art loans to American institutions, fearing that US authorities would seize Russian art coming into the country and hold it as security in the case.

Despite reassurances from lawyers for the claimants, Chabad-Lubavitch, that they do not intend to enforce the judgment by seizing any Russian art or cultural property loaned by Russia to US museums, the freeze on Russian art into the US continues.

It has now affected numerous US galleries who have been forced to postpone or cancel exhibitions and shows featuring Russian artworks. Further, in response some US galleries, including big players such as the MET, are now considering whether to discontinue their loans of artworks to Russia.

Therefore, almost six months since Russia confirmed that the ban remained in place, there remains little prospect of a resolution. Indeed, the situation will only get worse, especially if the US decide to impose their own freeze.

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