Saturday, June 27, 2020

Is there a case for arts optimism during a pandemic?

Economist Tyler Cowen gives it a shot here.

"A Charles White Drawing Went Missing From Howard University. After 40 Years, It Appeared at Auction—and Now Howard Wants It Back"

Sarah Cascone has the details on an interesting ownership dispute here. Sotheby's has withdrawn the work from sale while Howard and the consignors battle it out.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Malcolm Gladwell on Deaccessioning (UPDATE 3X)

Or at least on how museums account for their collections.

He views it as a species of hoarding. I've had the same thought myself. As have others.

Listen here.

UPDATE: Good two sentence summary here: "His takeaways will not please museum traditionalists. First, he contends, it’s shady that museums get to avoid valuing their art collections in financial statements—and it’s even more concerning that institutions would rather let go of staff than objects, especially when most of the items are just squirreled away in storage."

UPDATE 2: Hoarders episode 2 here.

UPDATE 3: Deaccessioning Hall of Fame Scholar-in-Residence Brian Frye responds here.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

"He used his cell phone constantly, took tennis lessons several times a week, frequented a nearby coffee shop, and become involved in animal rescue efforts. He even adopted a dog of his own." (UPDATED)

Great piece by Eileen Kinsella on Inigo Philbrick's time in Vanuatu: "He Didn’t Hide Who He Was."

And some choice words from Kenny Schachter.

Also on the criminal law docket, collector Angela Gulbekian, "who left the U.K. ahead of trial on theft charges was arrested in Portugal."

UPDATE: More on the Gulbenkian story from Sarah Cascone here and Alex Greenberger here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New artist resale rights contract with a charitable twist

Story here. Excerpt:

"Del Pesco then reconnected with an old friend, Lauren van Haaften-Schick, a curator and writer who was researching this very topic for her PhD dissertation at Cornell University. Along with the art lawyer Laurence Eisenstein, she helped draft a document that designates that 15% of resale profits go to a charitable organisation of the artist’s choice. The agreement is available online at, and will soon be promoted by Kadist Art Foundation."

I participated in a really interesting roundtable with van Haaften-Schick on the subject of resale royalties a couple summers ago. Link here.

"However, we do make a distinction when a third-party entity wants to take advantage of Chris Burden’s artwork and make money off of it in a way that is not aligned in the Chris Burden Estate’s interest, and in this case that commercial distinction is what made it very important for us to actively assert our rights."

ARTnews: Chris Burden Estate Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Indonesian Theme Park.

Monday, June 15, 2020

"When his schemes began to unravel, Philbrick allegedly fled the country. Now he is in U.S. custody and facing justice."

Inigo Philbrick has been arrested.

And traveling in the other direction, Mary Boone has been released from prison.

Monday, June 01, 2020

"Inevitably, the AAMD’s response to its member community’s urgent needs will be simultaneously criticized as opening the floodgates to sell off priceless treasures meant to benefit the public ..."

". . . and as doing too little to enable museums to stay afloat during the most significant financial crisis faced by the arts and culture sector—and perhaps the world—during our lifetimes."

Megan Noh on the recent changes to the AAMD's stance on deaccessioning, which she says "are far from a panacea to the museum communities’ current woes: these special dispensations are narrow, subject to pre-conditions and external legal requirements, and must be implemented in keeping with broader ethical and policy considerations."