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Artists Take Legal Action Against Artist Pension Trust

More than twenty British members of the Artist Pension Trust (APT), an initiative intended to provide pensions to contemporary artists, are taking legal action to remove themselves from a program they say is being run ineffectively, according to Rupert Jones of The Guardian. Among the artists seeking to withdraw from APT are Turner Prize–winners Jeremy Deller, Douglas Gordon, and Richard Wright, as well as British artists Bob and Roberta Smith and David Shrigley.

APT, which was founded in 2004 to provide financial security to artists as they get older, asks participants to contribute twenty artworks over two decades. The works are put in storage and loaned out to exhibitions, and when they eventually sell, the profits are shared by all of the artists in the trust, with 28 percent of the sale going to APT. The program has accumulated around thirteen thousand works by around two thousand artists, making it one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world. Now, a small group of artists have banded together in an attempt to extricate themselves from the trust and to have their deposited artworks returned to them.

The trust faced backlash last July, when artists voiced their disapproval of a new proposed monthly $6.50 storage fee. In response, APT stopped charging the amount. The effectiveness of the program’s model was also questioned four months earlier, when APT pulled eighteen works out of a Sotheby’s auction in London at the last minute.