Nova Sco­tia won’t pay for An­nie Lei­bovitz ex­hibit

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - NEWS -

Govern­ment says it isn’t pre­pared to ne­go­ti­ate a mone­tary set­tle­ment to get the works on dis­play at pro­vin­cial art gallery

The Nova Sco­tia govern­ment says it won’t ante up to help the pro­vin­cial art gallery ex­hibit an iconic col­lec­tion of An­nie Lei­bovitz pho­tographs, even as the gallery con­tin­ues ne­go­ti­a­tions with the famed Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher.

Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ties, Cul­ture and Her­itage Leo Glavine had said in May it “wouldn’t be out of the ques­tion” that the prov­ince could con­sider help­ing the Art Gallery of Nova Sco­tia pay the ex­hi­bi­tion fee to show­case the col­lec­tion, though he said no re­quest had been made to the prov­ince. But Mr. Glavine now says the govern­ment isn’t pre­pared to spend pro­vin­cial dol­lars to get the works on dis­play.

“So at this stage no, we are not mak­ing any of­fer of a mone­tary po­si­tion,” Mr. Glavine said.

Toronto’s wealthy Mintz fam­ily do­nated the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar col­lec­tion of Lei­bovitz pho­tographs in June, 2013, but they have been stuck in stor­age at the Hal­i­fax gallery as a tax bat­tle waged with Ot­tawa.

The Cana­dian Cul­tural Prop­erty Ex­port Re­view Board ul­ti­mately turned down a se­ries of re­quests to grant the col­lec­tion of more than 2,000 pho­tos a stamp of cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance, thus with­hold­ing lu­cra­tive tax in­cen­tives to the art donor and the fi­nal pay­ment to Lei­bovitz, which is more than $2-mil­lion.

Mr. Glavine said art gallery CEO and direc­tor Nancy Noble has been try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a res­o­lu­tion for the past year. Noble was not avail­able for com­ment on Fri­day, but in an emailed state­ment, gallery mar­ket­ing direc­tor Colin Stin­son said dis­cus­sions were on­go­ing with “Ms. Lei­bovitz’s team.”

“No de­ci­sions have been made at this point in time – the gallery will pro­vide an up­date to Nova Sco­tians as soon as we have new in­for­ma­tion to share,” he said. “Shar­ing the work of this iconic and cel­e­brated artist re­mains a pri­or­ity for the gallery and for govern­ment.”

Karen Mul­li­gan, Ms. Lei­bovitz’s Stu­dio Man­ager, also de- clined Fri­day to shed light on the sit­u­a­tion.

“Un­for­tu­nately, due to con­fi­den­tial­ity rea­sons, we are not able to pro­vide com­ment,” Ms. Mul­li­gan said in an email.

The in­flu­en­tial works in­clude an in­tro­spec­tive im­age of the Queen and a por­trait of a preg­nant Demi Moore.

Other works in­clude Whoopi Gold­berg bathing in milk, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as the Blues Broth­ers, and a strik­ing photo of a naked John Len­non and Yoko Ono hours be­fore the mu­si­cian was gunned down in front of his New York apart­ment.

The Mintz fam­ily had pur­chased the art for an es­ti­mated $6.19-mil­lion with half held back pend­ing the out­come of the cul­tural panel. But the pho­tos have an ap­praised value closer to $20mil­lion, Toronto art lawyer Aaron Mil­rad has said.

Mr. Glavine said Thurs­day he be­lieves there is a “real de­sire” by the art gallery and Ms. Lei­bovitz’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives to have the works on dis­play.

But he said the Mintz fam­ily should be re­spon­si­ble for the out­stand­ing bill.

“The deal was made with the Mintz fam­ily and not so much with the Govern­ment of Nova Sco­tia,” Mr. Glavine said.

EN­NIO LEANZA/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

An­nie Lei­bovitz speaks at one of her ex­hibits in Switzer­land in 2017. Toronto’s Mintz fam­ily do­nated a col­lec­tion Lei­bovitz pho­tos to the Art Gallery of Nova Sco­tia in 2013.

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