The Latest State Department Cultural Objects Determinations

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Given the discussion about the law known as Immunity from Seizure Under Judicial Process of Cultural Objects Imported for Temporary Exhibition or Display and the current bill on Capitol Hill to clarify that law, it is worth noting the kinds of items from abroad that receive immunity consideration from the U.S. Department of State.

The Federal Register published the latest cultural objects determinations yesterday.  The notice issued covers items destined for New York's Museum of Modern Arts's forthcoming exhibit titled "Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist's Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets."  MoMa's web site explains that "[f]or over 30 years, they have been in the avant-garde of stop-motion puppet animation and live-action movie-making in the Eastern European tradition ... and have championed a design aesthetic influenced by the graphic surrealism of Polish poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s."

The determinations made by the State Department under the federal immunity law are that the imported objects are of (1) of cultural significance, (2) intended for temporary, nonprofit exhibition, and (3) in the national interest.

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