Art Imitating Strife...

In recent years, the boundaries between art and design have become more and more blurred. Today, it is not the object itself, but rather its economic functionality that determines its categorization. Astonishingly, it is often customs officials who subjectively decide what constitutes art and design based on their personal views and erratic local tax laws.

This is the premise that drives the work of Berlin's conceptual product design practice Beta Bank, a firm intent on exploring the  interdependence of art, the sciences, design and economy driven factors on the value of and difference between art and functional designed goods.

This June at Design Miami, publishing house Gestalten Berlin will launch the book Taxing Art, a look at Beta Banks studies in challenging the:

effect of traditional, bureaucratic procedures on innovative work.

Illustrated here are their pieces: Galila Gelb Chair and the Pyramid Table.  With the swipe of a hand, we can subvert the use of each object, and in an instant revise its pupose from design object into sculpture.  Under German tax law, items deemed to be works of art attract a 7% VAT while functional objects are considered worthy of 19% VAT.  Beta Bank's B-Side Table, unveiled at the Dilmos Gallery at the recent Milan Fair was a commissioned piece that deliberately set about to contradict the VAT classification by posing legitimately as both a "non-functional' art and a practical side table all at once.

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