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Mexico allows visual artists to pay their taxes with artworks:

That’s the deal Mexico has offered to artists since 1957, quietly amassing a modern art collection that would make most museum curators swoon. As the 2009 tax deadline approaches, tax collectors are getting ready to receive a whole new crop of masterworks.

“It’s really an amazing concept,” says José San Cristóbal Larrea, director of the program. “We’re helping out artists while building a cultural inheritance for the country.”

There’s a sliding scale: If you sell five artworks in a year, you must give the government one. Sell 21 pieces, the government gets six. A 10-member jury of artists ensures that no one tries to unload junk.

As you might expect, some artists use the policy as a way to thumb their nose at the Mexican equivalent of the IRS:

Rafael Coronel’s 1980 tax payment is a portrait called He Who Doesn’t Pay Taxes. A painting that Fabian Ugalde contributed in 2002 declares in huge letters, “The authorities have still not determined whether it was an act of aggression or just another piece of art.”

A 10-foot-high drawing by Demián Flores shows a man sexually assaulted by a rattlesnake, an apparent reference to the Mexican government because the rattlesnake appears on the Mexican flag.

(Via: Marginal Revolution )

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