January 2021 (Volume IX Issue 1)
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.

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Dear <<First Name>>,

Happy New Year!

Before scrolling down to see digests and highlights of the art law news collected in the course of this past month, let us thank you for being part of our community and for giving us your time and your attention. We are immeasurably grateful to all who participated in our 2020 Year-End Fundraising efforts, which added nearly $14,000 (just 1K short of our goal) to our operating budget. Thank you all, individual and corporate donors! Thank you for all your gifts made in memory and in honor!

Until classes resume later in the month, we are operating with a skeleton staff and we are cooking up a storm: articles, lectures, auction, clinics. Just you wait until you meet our 2021 Spring Intern Class! Until then, enjoy the latest publications and revisit our archives, and don't forget to RSVP for our next Art Law Lunch Talk (Jan. 20, 2021) on how teaching art law is evolving and adapting one class at a time. 
For some of you, holidays are behind and for others they are still continuing in full swing.
Where ever you are, in space and in your professional journey, we wish you a healthy and productive 2021!

Center for Art Law Team

PS Did you know that you can find us on social media? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for art law news, announcements, and event invitations.
Read the blog
On Our Calendar
CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Teaching Art Law (and now online)
Jan. 20, 2021
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art & Law Workshop with Mana Contemporary: Business Basics for Artists
Jan. 21, 2021
More information >>>

NEW Responsible Art Market Annual Conference
Jan. 29, 2021
More information >>>

NEW What prospects for "orphan works" ? Reflections on cultural goods without provenance
Feb. 4-5, 2021
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Lessons Not Learned, Fraudsters in the Art Market
March 10, 2021
More information >>>
See the full calendar
A conversation with Herbert Lazarow (University of San Diego),
Judith Prowda (Sotheby's Institute of Art) and Irina Tarsis (Center for Art Law ).
Art Law Digest

Banksneeze. Owners of a home in Bristol contemplated whether or not to sell the house after a Banksy mural appeared on the wall of the home overnight. The image shows a woman sneezing and is likely a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners ultimately decided to sell the house, but sought a covenant in the deed of sale to ensure the mural remains intact in the house, or is moved to Bristol City Council or a museum. 

Disclosing Epstein’s Dealings. In early December, prosecutors in the US Virgin Islands issued subpoenas to Sotheby’s and Christie’s demanding the auction houses turn over documents relating to purchases by Jeffrey Epstein, hoping to uncover evidence of illegal tax evasion. MoMA board chair Leon Black is also under investigation in connection to Epstein’s art purchases; he was subpoenaed in August 2020.

Looted-Art Panel Shifts The Balance. A Dutch panel is urging reforms to create humane and transparent policies towards Nazi-looted art. The government-appointed committee determined that it was inappropriate to balance the interests of owners and heirs against the interests of claimants; rather, the decision should be focused on rectifying the injustice suffered by the claimant.

State Laws on Native Art. James Ramos, the first member of a California Native American tribe to serve in the state legislature, has authored new laws, including one that will make it easier for the tribes to reclaim sacred artifacts and the remains of their ancestors held in museums and other institutions in California. 

Mural in Bad Ta(s)te. Tate Britain will likely close its restaurant after the restaurant mural, by Rex Whistler, was criticized for racism. The mural titled "The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats," depicts bound Black children who are likely enslaved, as well as caricatured Chinese people. While the figures in the huge mural are small, complaints from visitors and a museum committee have advocated for the removal of the mural.

CASE Act Passed; case closed. After a decade of negotiations, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act was passed by Congress on December 21 as part of the COVID-19 relief package. The bill sets up a new approach to streamlining copyright cases by establishing a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office that will adjudicate small claims infringement cases. The tribunal is an expert panel of three judges, with damages capped at $15,000.

Cornered Coin Collector. Following a joint Belgian and French operation, authorities seized 27,400 Roman coins and artifacts allegedly looted and trafficked throughout eastern France, worth close to €773,000. The seizure is the result of a year-long investigation, and the trafficker, known only as Patrice T., faces possible imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of Euros in customs fines, according to France’s economy minister. 

Slow RISE: Better Late than Never. The Australian government announced a $250 million support program for arts and cultural organizations in June, but arts organizations are still waiting for the financial relief promised by the government. The support program, called the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (“RISE”), allocates $34 million in grant funding to non-profits, yet many of the approved grant recipients have been told they will need to wait until 2021 to receive any funds. Few nations have been a bit faster in giving aid to their creative sector.

Wanted For Antiquities Trafficking. The Rewards for Justice Program of the US State Department is offering up to $5 million for information leading to the significant disruption of the sale and trade of antiquities connected to terrorist funding, specifically targeting antiquities connected to ISIS. Antique coins, jewelry, carved gems, plaques, sculptures and cuneiform tablets are among the types of Syrian and Iraqi cultural objects that ISIS is exploiting. The State Department hopes offering this award will undermine ISIS funding activities.

(Two) Years Later. France will return 27 colonial-era artifacts currently in its museums to Benin and Senegal within one year, following the 2018 Sarr-Savoy Report and a unanimous vote by the National Assembly on December 17, 2020 following weeks of deliberations and overriding last minute opposition from the Senate. The bill mandates the transfer of ownership of 26 artifacts, all from the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac (dedicated to indigenous art and culture), to the Republic of Benin, and a sword from the Army Museum to Senegal.

New York Publicity Rights Revived. In late November, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation establishing a new Civil Rights Law Section of New York State law. The bill grants a 40-year post-mortem right of publicity for deceased “performers” and “personalities” to protect against unauthorized exploitation of elements of their persona. This law will become effective in May 2021 and applies to all living and deceased individuals who die on or after that date in New York. 

Down With the Old. The statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee was removed from the US Capitol Building's National Statuary Hall on December 21 and is sought to be replaced with a sculpture of Barbara Rose Johns, a civil rights activist from Virginia and a key figure in the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The Virginia General Assembly, which begins its next session on January 13, must approve the proposal before an artist is selected and commissioned to create the statue.

Case Law Corner
  • Huntley et al. v. Buzzfeed, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-08844 (S.D.N.Y. filed Oct. 22, 2020). 
  • Boesen v. United Sports Publications LTD., No. 2:20-cv-01552 (E.D.N.Y Nov. 2, 2020). 
  • People v. Sotheby’s, No. 452192/2020 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed Nov. 6, 2020). 
  • Cohen et al. v. G&M Realty, L.P. et al., No. 13-cv-5612 and Castillo et al. v. G&M Realty, L.P. et al., No. 15-cv-3220 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 25, 2020). 
  • Oliver v. Meow Wolf Inc., No. 1:20-cv-00237 (D.N.M. filed Mar. 16, 2020). 
  • Lew v. The City of Los Angeles et al., No. 2:20-cv-10948 (C.D. Cal. filed Dec. 2, 2020).
  • Kerson v. Vermont Law School, Inc., No. 2:20-cv-00202 (D. Vt. filed Dec. 2, 2020). 
  • Abbott Laboratories v. Feinberg, No. 1:18-cv-08468 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 9, 2020). 
  • Levin v. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Turkey, No. 1:18-cv-01586 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 10, 2020). 
  • 10012 Holdings, Inc. v. Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd., No. 1:20-cv-4471 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2020).
  • JN Contemporary Art LLC v. Phillips Auctioneers LLC, No. 1:20-cv-04370 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2020). 
  • Meaders v. Helwaser, No. 20-730 (2d Cir. Dec. 23, 2020). 
Read the full Case Law Corner
As a member of the Amazon Associate Program, the Center for Art Law may earn from qualifying purchases. Please consider using the links below to give back to the Center with each book.
Jonathan Petropoulos, Göring's Man in Paris, Yale University Press (Jan. 26, 2021). Petropoulos, a historina, a writer, sometimes an expert witness and a professor at Claremont McKenna College, finally presents a biography of a controversial if not to say infamous art dealer Bruno Lohse. Lohse's story is worse telling; he was appointed by Hermann Göring to aid with art looting and having been denazified in the 1950s continued to trade in art. Following Lose's death many paintings with unclear provenance surfaced from his Zurich bank vault.
Available here: Hardcover and Kindle.
Mary Rozell, The Art Collector’s Handbook, Lund Humphries, 2nd ed. (Oct. 1, 2020). Mary Rozell draws on her long experience as an art collection professional and an art lawyer to illuminate some of the myriad issues that arise when owning an art collection. Fully revised since its first publication in 2014 to reflect the many changes which have taken place in the art market, in art law, and in the practice of collecting, it now includes a completely new chapter on private museums.
Available here: Paperback and Kindle.
Vanessa Rüegger, Kunstfreiheit, Helbing Lichtenhahn Verlag (2020). This book examines the emergence of artistic freedom since the Enlightenment and anchors the fundamental right in its philosophical, aesthetic, and art theoretical references. This is the first comprehensive work on artistic freedom under the completely revised Federal Constitution, and provides practical guidance for the application of the fundamental right. The investigation takes into account international, law as well as German and US constitutional law. Available in German here.
More Art Law Books
On the Blog

Art Law in The Supreme Court
By Talia Berniker and Sabrina Soffer. Few art law cases have made their way to the United States Supreme Court. Those that did get accepted for review by the highest court of the land hold significance as they determine how historic artifacts are managed, how art is created and funded, and to what extent art […] 

Museum Administration and Employment Law in 2020
By Sabrina Soffer. The Brookings Institute national survey estimates losses of 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion in sales of goods and services for creative industries nationwide, representing nearly a third of all jobs in those industries and 9% of annual sales.[1] In addition to suffering from prolonged closures and lost revenue, during these […] 
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Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, and Lucy Siegel.
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