Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"As a professor specializing in art crime, I’ve studied the cases of dozens of forgers whose careers span thousands of years, and I can conclude that Re is the first to have used his ill-gotten gains to buy a submarine."

Noah Charney in The AtlanticWhy So Many Art Forgers Want to Get Caught.  Re Re (the submarine buyer), see here.

"It marks the second time in two weeks that the American artist has been called out for copyright infringement for a work related to the Pompidou exhibition."

Koons again.  Mike Madison wondered if Koons is "using the copyright system itself as a canvas," though it's worth noting that the works at issue in these latest cases are nearly 30 years old.

"What the AAMD did, it does affect our students. ... Why they want to hurt our students is unclear to me."

The Lynchburg News & Advance:  Ten months after 'Men of the Docks' sale, Randolph College says benefits outweigh costs.

The AAMD's answer to the question why they had to hurt Randolph's students is that the sale "erode[d]" the "trust" the public puts in museums.

Why this sale eroded that trust when (to pick one of dozens of examples I've cited here at the blog over the last few years) a sale by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum of a classic O'Keeffe flower painting for $44 million does not, is one of life's great mysteries.

"Cuba’s Art Scene Awaits a Travel Boom"

From today's New York Times.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Bums had been sleeping inside the sculpture, and it reeked of feces. Tempest had been transformed into a shit storm."

More on the disgraceful treatment of Brian Tolle's public artwork in Miami Beach.  Background here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Koons copyright dispute

New York Times story here.  Hyperallergic here.

How will the policy shift on Cuba affect the arts? (UPDATED)

Nicholas O'Donnell takes a look.

UPDATE:  Much more on this subject.  Kelly Crow in the WSJ:  Art Collectors Predict "Stampede" to Cuba.  David Ebony:  Is Cuba the Next Art-World Hot Spot?  New York Times:  For Cuban Artists, Bigger World Awaits After Restoration of Ties.

Because they said so?

My friend Peter Dean emails:

“I am sure you have seen this story by Mark Stryker on the $100M sale of a Cezanne by the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House by now.

“I await someone’s lucid explanation of why this is OK, but Randolph College’s sale of Men of the Docks in order to raise funds for the college’s endowment puts us in Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell.  Could we have a full explanation of the hierarchy of permissible and impermissible deaccessions?  I think we should be told.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update on the California Resale Royalty Lawsuit

The en banc hearing in the California resale royalty case took place yesterday.  Story here.  You can watch the argument here.  With the usual caveat that it's dangerous to read too much into these things, I came away with the strong impression that the commerce clause aspect of the decision (i.e., that California can't regulate sales that take place in New York) would be affirmed, but the severability aspect would not (i.e., that, unlike the lower court, the Court would leave the statute in place as it pertains to sales within California).  That would remain a big win for the auction houses.  (I'm not even sure why they're bothering to fight so hard on severability.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Interestingly, a significantly more expensive Picasso ceramic valued at $365,000 was hung below the stolen Picasso silver plate and was not touched."

A theft at Art Miami.

More Monkey Business

Interesting exchange of emails regarding the famous "monkey selfie."

If this is a viable claim, a lot of contemporary artists are in big trouble

The New York Post has a report on a lawsuit filed against artist Peter Max that includes the following:

"[The plaintiffs] also helped sell Max's famous 'Statue of Liberty' painting to a collector for $500,000 -- but when she learned the artist had not 'painted in year's she was infuriated . . . . [One of the plaintiffs] learn[ed] from [Max's representative] that Max has a team of 'ghost-painters' who work near his W. 65th Street studio, the suit says.  Max merely signs 'his name on the artwork when it's completed,' the court papers allege."

It's a scandal!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Why the City would allow this to happen to a work of art is beyond comprehension …”

The Art Newspaper had a story last week on the mistreatment of my client Brian Tolle (best known in New York for his Irish Hunger Memorial downtown) by the Miami Beach public art authorities.  Long story short, first they were unable to maintain the work, letting it be used as an outdoor toilet (see photo here), and then they decided the best way to deal with the problem was to just remove the work and stick it in storage, where it remains today.

The Art Market Monitor sums it up:  Miami Removes $400k Work Without Consulting Artist.

And Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento has lots more here, including the following excellent series of questions:

“Did the City not seek out recommendations for the care and maintenance of Tolle’s art work? Did City officials really think that removing (and possibly damaging or destroying) Tolle’s art work without Tolle’s consent would be cheaper than cleaning and maintaining the art work? In essence what we’re asking is, did the City just think that it could do as it pleased with a legally protected work of art, and with complete disregard to the artist’s wishes?”

And, in the comments to his post:  “Hopefully the City of Miami will find a … way to not only respect Brian Tolle’s work, but to reinstall it the way that the taxpayers have paid for it.”

Let’s hope.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Perelman’s Lawsuit Against Gagosian Dismissed

New York Times story here.  First Department decision here.  The case had been on life support for some time (although not everyone noticed):  everything but the fraud claim had been thrown out earlier this year, and this decision got rid of that claim too, on the grounds that (a) Perelman, a "sophisticated" plaintiff, could not demonstrate reasonable reliance on the alleged fraud, because he "conducted no due diligence" of his own, and (b) statements about the value of art (which is what the fraud claim was about in this case) "constitute non-actionable opinion."  Felix Salmon nailed this one from the start.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

"For better or worse, fine art is now firmly planted alongside equities, bonds, commodities and real estate as an asset class."

James Stewart in the NYT on the state of the art market.

Felix Salmon can't even.

Related:  Is anyone really creating art loan CDOs?

There ought to be a law

Michael Rushton notices something missing in Lee Rosenbaum's latest call for "legislation or government regulations" to enforce the AAMD position on deaccessioning.