Friday, April 29, 2011

"Why is stealing a wallet not appropriation art?"

Joerg Colberg issues a challenge to the art world.

Without taking a position on any particular example of appropriation, let me answer his question with a question:

What if, after I took your wallet, you still had your wallet?

Would it change your view at all?  Would you still call it theft?

Concepcion Sentenced

My friend Jo Laird, who represents one of the victims, emails that dealer Giuseppe Concepcion was sentenced yesterday to 51 months in federal prison for selling fake art:  "Judge McMahon made clear that she intended the sentence to be severe both because she found Concepcion's actions to be 'despicable' and because she wanted to send a signal about this type of crime, which she described as a reprehensible betrayal of trust."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"A Brief History of Art Forgery"

A Noah Charney podcast.

On the Maine Mural Removal

I'm a little late getting to this story, but a federal judge ruled last week that it was not a First Amendment violation for the Governor of Maine to order the removal of a mural from a state Labor Department office:

"Elected state leaders ... have the right to decide what to say and what not to say, and by extension during their term in office, they are authorized to decide what the state of Maine says or does not say about itself. State of Maine Governor Paul LePage’s removal of a mural from the walls of a state office because he disagreed with its contents may strike some as state censorship; instead, it is a constitutionally permissible exercise of gubernatorial authority. Though his action provoked a storm of constitutionally-protected speech with a stark division between those who applauded his decision as rebalancing the state of Maine’s message to the business community and those who condemned his action as muzzling opposing viewpoints, the resolution of this vigorous debate must not rest with judicial authority of a federal court. It must rest instead with the ultimate authority of the people of the state of Maine to choose their leaders....

"It is not the business of the federal court to decide what messages the elected leaders of the state of Maine should send about the policies of the state, to tell a prior administration that its own artwork is too slanted to continue to hang on state office walls, to tell the current administration that it must not remove or replace a prior administration’s artwork, or to tell a future administration which piece of state art, the new or the old, must stay or go. The messages from the state-owned works of art are government speech and Maine’s political leaders, who are ultimately responsible to the electorate, are entitled to select the views they want to express."

Lawprof Eugene Volokh says that "sounds quite right."   News story here.  A question from Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"The News Media’s Misrepresentation of the Art Criminal"

A four-part series, from ARCA alum Katherine Ogden.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

"There is little question that what constitutes fair use is still in the eye of the beholder after this decision."

Nicholas O'Donnell and Mitchell Stein of Sullivan & Worcester on the Richard Prince decision:

"What is clear after Cariou, however, is that artists, museums and galleries involved in any appropriative art are in a more precarious position than ever before.  ... [T]he potential for a chilling effect on such works is clear; the threat of damages of this sort may simply steer artists away from creating, and museums and galleries away from showing, anything close to the edge.  Would a gallery with the chance to exhibit the newly-created still lives and collages of Picasso showing Le Journal, or a museum with the chance to show the contemporary work of Duchamp and its appropriation of the Western canon, have taken the chance if privy to this decision?"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fisk Appeal

The Tennessean's Jennifer Brooks has the latest on the appellate proceedings in the Fisk-O'Keeffe case.  Fisk filed its appellate brief on April 7.  The Tennessee Attorney General -- non-neutral Super Cooper -- has until May 9 to file a response, and then Fisk has until May 23 for its reply. Brooks says the initial brief argues that "the $20 million endowment [ordered by Judge Lyle] would generate $1 million a year, when it costs Fisk [only] $130,000 annually to care for the 110-piece collection."

Nadia Plesner's Day in Court

Her take on it here.

Rehearing En Banc Denied for Chapman Kelley (UPDATED 2X)

See here.  Background here.

UPDATE:  The Art Newspaper's Martha Lufkin has more, including that Kelley plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

UPDATE 2:  The Council for Artists' Rights John Viramontes is not happy.

Space Invader Arrested

Ben Davis has the details.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"It will be a substantial cut, depending on the size of the organization."

The Washington Post:  "A number of Washington arts organizations are reeling because Congress cut the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program by $7 million from $9.5 million in the last agreement for fiscal 2011."

"Mr. Wildenstein ... is enmeshed in at least a half-dozen lawsuits"

On the front page of today's New York Times:  Venerable Art Dealer Is Enmeshed in Lawsuits.

The Art Market Monitor says "the issue is that Wildenstein has acted as more than an art dealer for many clients. They stored art in the Wildenstein vaults and trusted to Guy to administer their affairs."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Piss Christ "attacked with hammers and destroyed"

In France.  ARTINFO has the details.  More here from the Guardian.

Ann Althouse offers 11 thoughts.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Much of the money from that sale has been put toward a new $11.9 million reserve fund, one that the academy can turn to when operating income falls short of covering its $4.6 million budget."

The New York Times has a story on how the National Academy Museum is slowly coming back to life after being sanctioned by the AAMD for selling a couple of works three years ago.

The story explains that the sale "was controversial" because museums "are viewed" as "public trusts" since they "function as sanctuaries" for "cultural and historical artifacts."

No attempt is made, however, to reconcile that "view" with these others, also expressed in the Times, just a few months ago:
  •  Deaccessioning is "a normal act," and to be "encouraged."
  • "Deaccessioning is a healthy part of the management of any museum collection."
  • Deaccessioning is "kind of a Humane Society. ... Maybe some of these works can be loved by someone else."
We'll have to await word from the Times as to whether this "is viewed" as an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"The Village of Greenwood Lake has agreed to repeal a six-month ban on public displays of art that prompted a local artist to sue the village on First Amendment grounds."

"The repeal was a condition of a settlement between the village and ... Warwick resident Melanie Gold, who filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in February."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Only Wrong When Brandeis Does It

The Musée Picasso has earned €16m from loans of work.

I wonder what the hall monitors will say.

Gallery Sued

Courthouse News Service reports that artist Dana Melamed has sued Priska C. Juschka Fine Art.  She claims they owe her more than $68,000 from works sold, they gave discounts without her permission, and are refusing to return works worth $400,000.  She also asks for $1 million in punitive damages.

Paddy Johnson says "certainly, $1 million in punitive damages seems excessive. Then again, so does under-representing the amount a work sold for and still failing to pay the amount owed."

Speaking of Warhol . . .

Stolen Mick Jagger print recovered.  Story here.

Another Warhol Authentication Suit

Josh Baer reports that "Addison Thompson has sued the Andy Warhol Foundation and Authentication Board and Museum alleging, 'fraudulent concealment and violations of the Sherman and Donnelly Acts arising from defendants engaging in a conspiracy to monopolize the market for the authentication, offering and sale of artwork by Andy Warhol.'"  Presumably, it's about this.  Says Josh:  "Having seen the Joe Simon case results this one probably won't go Thompson's way either."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

More on the Gauguin Attack

The Gauguin attacked at the National Gallery last week "sustained no damage."

The attacker also explained why she attacked the painting:  "I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosex­ual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned. I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you."

A conversation with Cariou's lawyer

April 20th at VLA.  Details here.

Monday, April 04, 2011

"Screaming 'This is evil,' a woman tried to pull Gauguin’s 'Two Tahitian Women' from a gallery wall Friday"

A painting is attacked at the National Gallery.

Get Artelligent

One more reminder about this interesting-sounding event:  Understanding Art as an Asset.

The Richard Prince Deposition Book

Or, by its full title:   Canal Zone Richard Prince YES RASTA: Selected Court Documents from Cariou v. Prince et al, including Excerpts from The Videotaped Deposition of Richard Prince, The Affidavit of Richard Prince, Competing Memoranda of Law in Support of Summary Judgment, Exhibits Pertaining to Paintings and Collages of Richard Prince and the Use of Reproductions of Patrick Cariou's YES RASTA Photographs Therein, and The Summary Ass Whooping Dealt to Richard Prince by the Hon. Judge Deborah A. Batts, as compiled by Greg Allen for in March 2011.

You can order your copy here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Important New AAMD Policy on Deaccessioning

The AAMD announced a major change to its deaccessioning policy today.  From now on, sales on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are prohibited; sales on Tuesdays and Thursdays are allowed.

A spokesman for the AAMD said it was important to prevent sales on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because once an object falls under the aegis of a museum, it is held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations.

He added that, if such sales are allowed, somebody will say, Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you're not going to sell this tomorrow?

It's just a very, very, very, very, very, very core principle that museums conserve their works in trust for the community.

When asked why the same considerations don't apply to sales on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the spokesman said, "Those sales are different."

When asked how they are different, the spokesman replied, "Shut up. How would you like to be sanctioned?"

For more on this breaking story, see here.