Saturday, April 29, 2017

Another new VARA case

This one in Los Angeles, involving a painted-over Charles Bukowski-inspired mural.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Do we need more regulation of the art market?

Georgina Adam in the FT.

Reading this post is optional for NYC residents

The New York Times reports that the Met is considering charging (rather than recommending suggesting) admission fees to visitors from outside New York City.

Michael Rushton points out that, first of all, "it’s a bit over the top to refer to charging those visitors who reside outside the local tax base that supports the museum, but not residents, as 'xenophobia'; many cities do this, and to my knowledge state higher education systems charging differential tuition fees to out-of-state students are not subject to the charge of xenophobia."  He also adds that the choice not to charge for admission comes "with an opportunity cost. Is it the best use of [the museum's] resources? Maybe it is, but consider the alternatives. I’m not sure the Met giving me free admission, when I’m perfectly willing to pay, is optimal."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Warhol Foundation Files Pre-emptive Lawsuit in 'Prince' Series Dispute"

I missed this last week, but:

"According to the complaint filed on April 7, the foundation says that the works are transformative and that the defendant’s 'meritless' claims should be dismissed since she is well outside of the three-year statue of limitations on copyright claims. In response, [the photographer, Lynn] Goldsmith said that she was not aware of the similarities between the two works until she saw them on Instagram in the months after Prince’s death last year."

"A rare moral rights vindication in Detroit"

Derek Fincham has the details. John Jay College's Erin Thompson ("America’s only full-time professor of art crime") tweets, first, that the developer in the case "asked me to expert witness this case - told them to settle b/c artist had full #VARA rights - and they did!" and, second, "attn artists: [the case is] an example of how having a contract can prevent your work from being destroyed."  More from Crain's Detroit Business, which reports that "[a]ccording to the lawsuit, a contract was signed, with [the developer] agreeing the mural would 'remain on the building for no less than a 10 years time period.'"

"Six Street Artists Threaten McDonald’s with Copyright Infringement Lawsuit"

Story here.  More outlaws asserting their property rights.

"Peggy Guggenheim's great-grandchildren say New York exhibition violates her legacy"

I've never understood why the Donor Intent Police haven't taken up their case.

As I've said before, they seem a little selective about the issues they get worked up about.

"Returning the market value deduction to artists, writers and composers would encourage them to donate culturally and historically significant works to American museums."

"This would not only relieve those institutions and the taxpayers who support them of the cost of purchasing such works, but also free those institutions to spend money on programs devoted to education and building."

In a New York Times op-ed, Michael Rips argues for a fair market value deduction for artists. People have been pushing for that for a long time, without much success.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bull Podcast

At Artsy, featuring Yayoi Shionoiri and Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento.  Listen here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Judge Stein was skeptical throughout the two-hour hearing about whether it was possible to toss the case without discovery, pointing out that Prince’s earlier copyright victory had come at the summary judgment stage."

There was a hearing yesterday on the motion to dismiss in one of the Richard Prince Instagram series lawsuits.  (This one.)  Of course, Prince's "earlier copyright victory" was only a partial victory.

File Under "Transaction Costs" (UPDATED)

Colin Gleadell:  The Artist Pension Trust withdraws 18 lots from Sotheby's.

"[W]hy was the ... sale aborted? 'We had conversations with some of the artists, and the closer the auction got, the more the artists and their galleries said that auction was not in their best interests,' says Al Brenner, CEO of the new MutualArt Group [which now runs the APT]. Every artist fears that their work might be undersold, or unsold, at auction, affecting confidence and making sales from the gallery much more difficult."

The Art Market Monitor says the move "highlight[s] one of the issues with the whole art-as-an-asset model is the way the value of the work fluctuates and the basic illiquidity of the art market."

Background on APT here.

UPDATE:  Tim Schneider says "this isn't necessarily as damning a test case as some are making it out to be."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Today's Bull (UPDATED)

David Post says no copyright violation:  "[The Fearless Girl artist] didn’t touch or alter or reproduce or displace the design of Di Modica’s sculpture, or incorporate any parts of his design into her design. She may well have used the meaning, or the message, of his work in her work; but he doesn’t have any ownership rights in the meaning or the message of his work. He has rights only in its design. So even if Visbal intentionally (and successfully) changed that meaning or message, Di Modica, as an artist, may feel that this is deeply objectionable, but there’s nothing in copyright law that allows him to stop her from doing that."

As for VARA, he says "the statute protects only against 'any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work' (and only if the distortion, mutilation or modification 'would be prejudicial to [the artist’s] honor or reputation'), and it would seem impossible to argue that Visbal distorted or mutilated or modified the work in any way."

UPDATE:  In an update to his post, Post posts the following:  "Several commenters suggested that Visbal did indeed incorporate parts of his design into hers, insofar as her Fearless Girl was (by assumption) conceived to be facing down the charging bull.  As one reader put it: 'Her design ... clearly and intentionally includes the bull. As Visbal explains, the point of her design is that the girl is blocking the bull, so the bull is, by definition, part of the design.' I could have been clearer: she didn’t incorporate any of Di Modica’s copyright-protected design into hers.  A charging bull may be part of Visbal’s conception of the work – but Di Modica doesn’t have copyright protection in a charging bull, he only has copyright protection in his particular design of a charging bull ....  The mere idea of a bull charging isn’t part of his protected design – so even if she had 'charging bull' as part of her design, she didn’t incorporate Di Modica’s 'Charging Bull' into her work."