Sunday, June 30, 2019

"Those in favor of covering the murals have said some of the images are offensive to various groups."

The New York Times reports that "the San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously this week to cover a series of murals at George Washington High School that includes images of a dead Native American and slaves at work."

Somehow it will cost between $600,000 and $845,000 to cover them up.

Times columnist Bari Weiss is not amused:

"The implications of this logic are chilling. What happens when a student suggests that looking at photographs of the My Lai massacre in history class is too traumatic? Should newspapers avoid printing upsetting images that illuminate the crisis at the border, like the unforgettable one of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, facedown, drowned in the Rio Grande?  All are fair game for censorship in a worldview that insists that words and images are to be judged based on how 'safe' they make people feel."

Michael Kimmelman concurs:  "This is so appalling, a school board so shockingly reactionary, repressive and idiotic in the name of 'protecting' students that you wonder if its next move will be to burn books."

As does Charles Desmarais:  "I dread the day when another, and then another group or individual sets out to question a work of art in the public realm, not in the spirit of criticism and learning but to permanently deny us all the opportunity to judge for ourselves. I fear a time when nothing but the commercially sponsored and the innocuously peripheral make up our visual environment. Then we all will live in a poorer city, and the censors will know they were the cause."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

"US judge tosses lawsuit against glass artist Dale Chihuly"

It was a co-authorship claim brought by a former studio assistant who, as many studio assistants do, helped in the creation of certain works.  The court held, on summary judgment, that, because (1) "Chihuly superintended the production of the works and had unilateral control over the finished products" and (2) "no reasonable fact finder could conclude that plaintiff harbored even a subjective intent to be a co-author, much less that the parties objectively manifested such an intent" ("plaintiff never identified himself as the author of the works, he raised no objections when defendant failed to identify him as co-author, and he made no claim of authorship prior to the 2017 demand letter that preceded this action"), there was no co-authorship.  Story here.

More on the Sotheby's News

Who Is New Sotheby’s Owner Patrick Drahi?

What the Sotheby’s Sale Means for the Future of the Art Industry.

Bloomberg analysis.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Sotheby's has been bought by French-Israeli telecommunications entrepreneur Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion and will be taken private.

Lots of commentary out there:

New York Times.

Wall Street Journal.

Georgina Adam.

Felix Salmon.  (Bottom line:  "Buying Sotheby's gives Drahi much more clout among the global ultra-wealthy than he would get from buying $3.7 billion of art. It will also increase his name recognition in the U.S., where he has long harbored ambitions to build a major cable empire.")

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Second time as farce

The Barnes Unit of the Deaccession Police, having failed to stop the entire move of the museum to Philadelphia, is now protesting the recent sale, at the famed Pook & Pook auction house in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, of "156 lots of around 430 objects that had belonged to [Albert] Barnes and his wife Laura," including "furniture, clocks, textiles and porcelain objects," for a total hammer price of $98,000.  One attendee described it as "minor material—the cleaning out of an office," an office whose contents, they will have you know, were surely held in the public trust.

Another Mamacha Lawsuit

This one, for not paying an artist.  Last time it was for trademark infringement.

Frida Kahlo name/likeness lawsuit

Story here.

Gallery Employee Trade Secrets Lawsuit Settled

Story here.  Background here.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

"According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Silver and the Gagosian Gallery mutually agreed to drop the case for good."

Here's a report that "movie producer Joel Silver dropped his massive lawsuit against [Gagosian] over a Jeff Koons sculpture not long after the gallery called him out because his case had been secretly funded by billionaire Ronald Perelman, who previously had his own legal beef with the gallery."

Background here and here.