Sunday, January 12, 2020

Shed employees move to unionize

Story here. More here: "Over the past year, a wave of employees at museums across America have pushed to unionize. Much of the action has been centered on New York, with workers at the New Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and elsewhere having successfully formed unions, though the movement has also begun reaching other cities. Employees at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle unionized, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles voluntarily recognized its workers’ efforts to form a union."

"Under the rules, they have to register with the government’s tax agency, and dealers and auctioneers must establish the identity of the 'ultimate beneficial owner' — meaning both seller and buyer — before entering into a transaction."

New anti-money laundering regulations in the UK. They went into effect Friday. NYT story here. Kenneth Mullens of Withers here. More here.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

"Marciano Foundation Worker Files Suit Claiming Mass Layoffs Were Illegal"

New York Times story here. Background here.

"Court Orders Art Dealer Asher Edelman’s Company to Pay $1 Million in the Botched Sale of a Keith Haring Painting"

Story here. Decision (on summary judgment) here. After receiving an invoice, Edelman wrote to the seller, "As thirty days from your invoice will pass tomorrow, I need to cancel the transaction because of non-payment to me," but the Court points out in its decision that that's not a thing: "While Edelman's notice of cancelation hints at some legal right to do so … Edelman testified at his deposition that he understood 'there's no specific law' authorizing his cancelation. Rather, it was Edelman's understanding that '[t]radition in the industry' permitted such cancelations."

Inigo Update

Athena Art Finance has joined the fray:  A Prominent Art-Finance Company Says Embattled Dealer Inigo Philbrick Owes It $15 Million for a Loan He Never Paid Back.

Background here. "Philbrick’s whereabouts are currently unknown and his two former gallery spaces, in Miami and London, have been shuttered. His Miami attorney recently filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, writing that the dealer has 'failed to fulfill his obligations.' The UK High Court has granted requests from three separate plaintiffs to freeze Philbrick’s assets."

"UMB Bank has lost Thomas Hart Benton art, mismanaged the artist’s trusts, lawsuit says"

Story here.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Di Rosa Deaccessioning Is Moving Forward

Charles Desmarais has an update here. Background here.

I'm not sure why, but this one has largely escaped the attention of the Deaccession Police. Maybe people are just tired of this whole debate.

"Looking back over the year, there was one salient feature that should be worrying all those who work in the art market. It is the number of lawsuits—some ongoing, others judged or under appeal—where art dealers appear to have acted fraudulently, mainly by selling works that were not theirs or selling the same work more than once."

Georgina Adam: Dodgy dealers beware: anti-fraud lawsuits are on the rise.

The Top 13 Art Law Disputes of 2019

A good list from Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento.

"The decision, if it is upheld, will have an impact on all legal actions filed by Rybolovlev around the world, as the court of appeal now 'forbids anyone to use the acts which have been declared null and void in this proceeding.'"

"The long-running criminal case between the Russian billionaire collector Dmitry Rybolovlev and the Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, which was filed in 2015, has been dismissed by a court of appeal in Monaco."

"I was so drunk when I wrote this paper. It was one o’clock in the morning and I was three sheets to the wind."

Deaccessioning Hall of Fame Scholar-in-Residence Brian Frye has an (intentionally) bananas argument that certificate-based conceptual art is illegal. Brian Boucher talks to him about it here.

Monday, December 09, 2019

"State Street’s lawyers, who are seeking unspecified damages, argued in court that the replicas were a trademark violation and diluted the company’s message."

I missed this right before the holiday, but an update from the New York Times on the "Fearless Girl" litigation. Background here. Pitt's Michael Madison says "it's ugly and stressful for the artist, Kristen Visbal, but it's fabulous for the IP professors. Trademark, copyright, contract, and international law all in one."

Thursday, December 05, 2019

"Despite the artwork’s hefty price tag, Perrotin isn’t worried about someone stealing Comedian. There’s a spare banana on hand in the booth, and more importantly, without the artist’s certificate of authenticity, it reverts to being just a banana." (UPDATED 2X)

The magic of certificates of authenticity, Miami Basel edition.

UPDATE: This has predictably generated a ton of coverage (and banana puns). Robin Pogrebin has a story here. A "grudging" defense by Jason Farago here. One edition has been pledged to an (unnamed) museum.

UPDATE 2: Jonathan Jones: Don't make fun of the $120,000 banana – it's in on the joke.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

"Taking Intellectual Property into Their Own Hands"

Fantastic new law review article by Amy Adler and Jeanne Fromer.

Section I.E is particularly incisive.

The Wealth Tax and The Arts

Some thoughts from Tyler Cowen:  Tax the Wealthy and Their Charities Will Suffer.

And some criticisms from Michael Rushton here.

"The Scandal Engulfing Dealer Inigo Philbrick Widens Amid New Accusations That He Duped the Buyer of a $12 Million Basquiat"

Eileen Kinsella has the latest.  Background here.

"Mr. Cattelan said he did not expect to get the toilet back. But the piece exhibited at Blenheim was just one of three he made, so there were two more available, he said."

The case of the stolen gold toilet remains unsolved. The New York Times reports that "the police are still looking for the missing john — an artwork called 'America' by Maurizio Cattelan — but, so far, they remain empty-handed. A spokesman for the force carrying out the investigation, Thames Valley Police, declined to discuss the case, except to confirm that six people had been arrested in connection with the theft, only to be released later without charge."

"A Prominent Chinese-American Artist Is the Latest to Fall Afoul of China’s Censors"

New York Times story here.

"$300 Million Worth of Work by Anselm Kiefer and Other German Artists Has Mysteriously Gone Missing in China"

"According to several German media reports, the works belong to millionaire Maria Chen-Tu, a German collector of Taiwanese heritage, who loaned part of her large collection to the Chinese businessman Ma Yue. His German-based company, Bell Art, was liquidated earlier this year."

"'It is a triumph of truth and marks the end of a cover-up', said Jean-Jacques Neuer, lawyer for Picasso's son Claude Ruiz-Picasso."

AFP:  French court confirms sentence for Picasso's electrician over hoarded art.

Background here.