Nova Sco­tia won’t pay to ex­hibit Lei­bovitz pho­tos


HAL­I­FAX — The Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment says it won’t ante up to help the provin­cial art gallery ex­hibit pic­tures by famed Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher An­nie Lei­bovitz.

Cul­ture Min­is­ter Leo Glavine had said in May it “wouldn’t be out of the ques­tion” 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 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,” Glavine said.

Toronto’s wealthy Mintz fam­ily do­nated the mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar 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.

Glavine said art gallery CEO Nancy Noble has been try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a res­o­lu­tion for the last year. Noble was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment on Fri­day, nor was any other of­fi­cial at the gallery. Glavine told re­porters on Thurs­day that there was noth­ing to re­port in terms of how soon a po­ten­tial agree­ment can be reached.

“We don’t know if it’s a month away or fur­ther away, we’ve left it to Nancy Noble,” Glavine said. “I haven’t had an up­date for a few months now in terms of the con­ver­sa­tions that are go­ing on.”

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 $4.75 mil­lion US, with half held back pend­ing the out­come of the cul­tural panel. But the pho­tos have an ap­praised value closer to $20-mil­lion, Toronto art lawyer Aaron Mil­rad has said.


In­flu­en­tial works by An­nie Lei­bovitz in­clude pic­tures of the Queen, Demi Moore and the Blues Broth­ers.

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