Friday, March 22, 2013

Ulrich Boser on the Gardner News (UPDATED)

Here.  What else do you need to know?  He wrote the book.

UPDATE:  Anderson Cooper will be covering the story on his show tonight.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"What are the museums to do, they ask, if the artist retained the copy­right, if the artist cannot be found, or if a group of heirs is arguing about who owns which copyright?"

That's a quote from today's Supreme Court decision in the Kirtsaeng case, holding that the first-sale doctrine applies to works made abroad.  Which (among other things) means museums can continue to display foreign-made works in their collections.  Adam Liptak's New York Times story is here.  Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento comments here.  Yale's Margot Kaminski has a good post here.

"Charitable Deduction Under Fire"

Via the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog (who's keeping count).

Monday, March 18, 2013

"In a stunning twist in a case that had frustrated investigators for decades ..." (UPDATED 2X)

"... federal law enforcement officials said today that they had identified the people who stole $500 million worth of masterworks in a daring heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990."

UPDATE:  Ann Althouse:  "I'm glad to hear this art may be returned, but I can't help noting that name: Carmen Ortiz. Here's someone who may be desperate for good publicity after getting trashed earlier this year."

UPDATE 2:  Nicholas O'Donnell is skeptical:  "This time may be different, but the FBI has been 'appealing to the public' for 23 years.  Whatever it now believes happened 15 years ago may be true, but the crime frankly appears no closer to being solved than it was yesterday.  In that respect today’s development may be less 'stunning' than it is somewhat predictable."

"Legal rules are premised on the assumption that art is a stable category, but what happens to law as that assumption becomes unsound?"

A terrific interview at BOMBlog with my friend and law school classmate (and co-teacher) Amy Adler.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tell me again about the public trust (fine rugs from the William Clark collection edition)

The Corcoran is selling 25 fine rugs and carpets at Sotheby’s, including "one of the most iconic and important carpets ever to appear at auction."  Iconic, important, and held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations ... just as long as those future generations make it to the museum by June 5th.

"Mr. Gagosian said that he, like most dealers, frequently represented both the seller and buyer in a deal without disclosing that fact to either party."

The New York Times has a report on the settlement of the Cowles-Gagosian lawsuit.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"It became apparent that there was something wrong here."

Bucking the trend of artist foundations not sticking their noses into authentication-related disputes, the Keith Haring Foundation went after the organizers of a Haring show in Miami, forcing the removal of 165 of the 175 works originally included in the show.

"More importantly, he has articulated a much-needed vision for the Corcoran that would bring it into the 21st century while still staying true to the 19th-century charge of its founder."

The Washington Post editorial board is impressed with Wayne Reynolds's proposal for the Corcoran.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Cowles-Gagosian Settlement

Kelly Crow breaks the news on Twitter.  Background here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Wayne Reynolds's plan to save the Corcoran

Via the Washington Post:  "Most controversially, he proposes selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art that rarely, if ever, gets displayed and is not central to founder William Corcoran’s original charge in 1869 for the institution to encourage 'American genius.'"


A word on Tacoma

The Tacoma Art Museum deaccessioning spat seems to have been resolved.  But before moving on, it's worth a minute to note the usual hypocrisy that surrounds these things.  Judith Dobrzynski was a lone voice critical of the move, calling it a "big mistake," but her fellow bloggers in the ArtsJournal stable have (unless I missed it) been silent.  No one from the AAMD or AAM has shown up to lecture us about how works are held by museums in a sacred public trust, to be accessible to future generations.  There have been no calls for crippling sanctions.

But imagine if the same museum were selling the same works not to raise money for future acquisitions (as is the case here) but to keep from going out of business (or even from having to lay off more than 20 employees).  Now that would be inexcusable.  Now the fainting couches would come out.  How dare they think they can just get rid of work held in the public trust to be accessible to future generations.  We'd never hear the end of it.

I keep hoping that, at some point, they'll be too embarrassed to keep carrying on this way.  But I'm not holding my breath.