07 Mrz Duty Free Art
Duty Free Art composes 15 essays of the media critic Hito Steyerl, recently named the most influential person in the art world by the international art magazine ArtReview.
She begins her reflections with a truly absurd institution of the art market: Freeports. The depots for luxury goods at the airports of Geneva, Singapore and Luxembourg, store works of art free of custom duties and at the same time withdrawn from the public. Rumor has it that the Freeport in Geneva is home to thousands of Picassos but due to intransparent documentation the actual number is unknown. However, there is no doubt that the inventory can compete with any large museum. Therefore this luxurious no-man’s-land is assumably one of the most important art locations right now. Technically, the goods are in transit, but in fact this legal vacuum is increasingly becoming a permanent residence for accumulated wealth. The freeport is thus a permanent transit zone and in some way a secret museum.
But Hito Steyerl does not stop there. She sees our time as a global hell of indefinite civil wars – through social media delusional populations, capitalism floating on seas of debt, algorithmically guided missiles killing thousands of civilians. And somewhere in all of this is the art world: broken, corrupt, complicit, idiotic, with perhaps just a hint of value to rescue itself out of the wreckage. Maybe.