Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"One of the most elaborate and difficult acquisitions we have ever made"

In this Sunday's NYT Magazine, Arthur Lubow had an interesting article on artist Tino Sehgal, who makes "ephemeral' "live-action" works, a show of which opens at the Guggenheim later this month. The whole thing is fascinating, but, from an art law perspective, this bit caught my eye:

"Since there can be no written contract, the sale of a Sehgal piece must be conducted orally, with a lawyer or a notary public on hand to witness it. The work is described; the right to install it for an unspecified number of times under the supervision of Sehgal or one of his representatives is stipulated; and the price is stated. The buyer agrees to certain restrictions, perhaps the most important being the ban on future documentation, which extends to any subsequent transfers of ownership. 'If the work gets resold, it has to be done in the same way it was acquired originally,' says Jan Mot, who is Sehgal’s dealer in Brussels. 'If it is not done according to the conditions of the first sale, one could debate whether it was an authentic sale. It’s like making a false Tino Sehgal, if you start making documentation and a certificate.'"