Friday, October 19, 2007

The art world was litigious today

So what happened in the two high-profile art-world lawsuits mentioned earlier today?

In the case of the Barnes, not much. Judge Ott merely set a briefing schedule: the Barnes lawyers have 30 days to submit theirs, with responses from the parties opposing the move due 30 days after that.

But that didn't mean the 10-minute hearing was without interest. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

"A routine court session over the latest attempt to block the Barnes Foundation art collection from leaving Merion for Philadelphia turned to drama today when a lawyer accused the judge of doing too little, too slowly, in the case. 'Let's cut through it,' said Mark Schwartz, representing the Friends of the Barnes Foundation, a group of Merion neighbors and art enthusiasts opposing the relocation. 'You . . . are the master of your own courtroom.' An irritated ... Ott scolded Schwartz for 'grandstanding' for the standing-room-only audience of more than 50 Friends members. When the lawyer persisted, Ott asked sharply: 'Do I look like an idiot to you?'"

Lee Rosenbaum offers some sane advice: "Attorney's rule-of-thumb: Don't antagonize the judge whom you hope will rule in your favor."

In the other major case, a New York State Court Judge ordered Salander-O'Reilly Galleries closed "until further notice" (and the locks changed just in case) and also ordered an inventory of the gallery’s holdings. The New York Times story is here. Bloomberg reports that a lawyer for Salander said "a bankruptcy filing is likely."