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Art Law Blast [6.19.2018]

Strawberry Fields Forever

To help you plan your art law calendar, check out the full listing of art law events on our radar.

June 19, 2018 -- Art Authenticity and the Art Market (Rye, NY) 5:30 PM

Join us as attorney Irina Tarsis discusses the Salvador Mundi case(s) and then expands into the sphere of the proposed NYC Bill to protect art authenticators. Her remarks will also include a discussion of the Knoedler Gallery saga, the history of the gallery, its sudden closure, and the ensuing lawsuits. Attendees may qualify for CLE credit. The talk is FREE but pre-registration is requested. Please contact Ron. Co-sponsored by the New Rochelle Bar Association and the Jay Heritage Center.

more information...

June 22, 2018 -- Center for Art Law Mixer: What's Happening? (VLA, NYC) 5PM - 7 PM

The more things change... For the 4th Annual Art Law Evening at the VLA headquarters, join us for a reception and a discussion about art law in the news: immigration, blockchain technology, Reif v. Nagi restitution case, court of arbitration of art and ... succession in our nonprofit executive team.

more information...

June 21-22, 2018 -- Law and Ethics: An Introductory Course for Museum Professionals (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Destination Scotland? This is the first two-day course to be offered by the Institute of Art & Law (IAL) in Scotland. It is intended for museum and gallery professionals and will cover many of the legal issues that are needed in order to better manage collections of art and cultural artifacts. The first day will deal with intellectual property matters for collection managers, including issues relating to copyright, fair dealing, museum-specific exceptions, and moral rights. The second day will focus on museum acquisitions, legal ownership rules and ethical requirements. 

more information...
 

June 22-24, 2018 -- The Amelia Conference: ARCA’s Annual Interdisciplinary Art Crime Conference (Amelia, Italy)

From the organizers: "ARCA’s annual Amelia Conference serves as an arena for intellectual and professional exchange and highlights the Association’s mission to facilitate a critical appraisal of the need for protection of art and heritage worldwide. Over the course of one weekend annually, ARCA’s summer conference serves as a forum to explore the indispensable role of detection, crime prevention, scholarly and criminal justice responses, at both the international and domestic level, in combatting all forms of art crime and the illicit trafficking in cultural property.” Wishing we were there...

more information...

July 10, 2018 -- Special Studio Visit & Discussion with Heide Hatry (NYC) 5PM - 7 PM

Join us for an exclusive in-studio discussion with artist Heide Hatry as
she presents select works from her latest series Icons in Ash. Confronting the
conceptual and practical challenges that exist between the past
and the present, the permissible and the forbidden, Ms. Hatry’s art
created using animal and human remains forces viewers to question the
ways in which we interact with mortality and memory. For our purposes,
Ms. Hatry's techniques and experiences with IP and law enforcement provide a platform for a well rounded art/law discussion. The event is ticketed. 

more information...

* July 28, 2018 -- Institute of Art & Law Study Forum (Oxford, UK) 9:45 AM - 5:30 PM

Topics and speakers for the next IAL study forum will include:

  • Tax Incentive Schemes for Heritage Assets: Acceptance in Lieu
  • Heritage and Planning - Jill Campion, Cambridge University
  • The Law of Treasure
  • Auction and Private Sales
  • Art Sales on a Handshake: the Simon de Pury Case
  • Nazi-looted Art and the US Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act
  • Exclusion Clauses and Art Contracts
 
* Aug. 7, 2018 -- Legal Issues in Photography (NYC) 5PM - 6:30PM

This course will provide an overview of the types of legal issues encountered by photographers including contracts, copyright and fair use, the right of publicity, and corporate entity formation. We will also discuss major considerations that photographers face when hired for a project.

In addition to photographers – visual artists, artistic directors, photo editors, photo agencies, and photo studios could also benefit from attending this course.
 
NOTE:  Be sure to check out our calendar for more events!
 
WHAT'S NEW

We can work it out Is the bipartisan Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, introduced in Congress in 2017, going to become law this year? It was introduced to streamline the "process for small copyright claims to be heard by a three-judge board within the U.S. Copyright Office” and we have a story from 2016 about it. The problem with the current system is that litigation is too expensive for many individuals and small businesses to enforce their copyrights. With the average cost of litigating such claims estimated at around $350,000, many attorneys declining to consider low-value cases, and a process too complex for creators to navigate on their own, copyright “infringements regularly go unchallenged.”  The CASE bill would try to remedy this problem by creating a voluntary process for deciding copyright claims, with judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress and caps on potential damages.

Komm, Bib Mir Deine Hand 
  1. Berlin returns artifacts to Alaska In May 2018, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees the state museums in Berlin, returned nine artifacts to a representative of the Chugach people in Alaska. The artifacts “were taken by Johan Adrian Jacobsen, a Norwegian adventurer and amateur ethnographer acting on behalf of the museum,” in the 1880s. They were never publicly exhibited, but the museum determined that they had been removed from a burial site without permission and therefore decided to return them to the Chugach community. The representative said that once back in Alaska, the artifacts “will be displayed in community centers or local museums”;
  2. Tussle over looted glass goblet A dispute between the Vienna auction house Im Kinsky and the Märkisches Museum in Berlin is at the forefront of the controversies surrounding Nazi-era stolen art. The Märkisches Museum reports to have purchased a glass goblet in 1890 and maintained its possession until the outbreak of World War II when the goblet and many similar pieces went missing. The museum failed to retrieve the goblet in 1990 when it randomly appeared for sale at the Glasgalerie Michael Kovacek. However, the goblet reappeared for sale last April at Im Kinsky. Reportedly, the goblet was returned to the consigner which sparked the museum to take legal action. Ulf Bischof, the attorney for the museum, has argued that “it is unprecedented that an auction house knowingly accepts a stolen museum work on consignment.” Conversely, Ernst Ploil, the attorney for Im Kinsky, has argued that the statute of limitations should prevent this matter from gaining any leverage in courts. The lawsuit will take place in Austrian court, with the ghost of Gurlit in the air; 
  3. Code of Conduct for German museums with colonial-era works Last month, the German Association of Museums and Germany’s culture minister, Monika Grütters, presented a new code of conduct for museums specific to artifacts “acquired in a colonial context.” The code contains guidelines for pertinent issues such as “provenance research and responding to restitution claims.” Confronting the country’s colonial history has been one of Grütters’ priorities, and she “has pledged funding to museums for provenance research of colonial-era acquisitions.” The code does not call for unequivocal restitution, but rather includes advice for alternatives solutions and ways to build relationship with countries of origin. 

You say "Goodbye" The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation announced that it would be donating nearly 400 works to the Whitney Museum of American Art. This gift comes as part of the Foundation’s gradual “winding down process,” and is accompanied by other gifts, including one of nearly half a million historical documents to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. By dispersing its holdings among institutions, the Foundation seeks to realize its goal of promulgating a legacy and distributing an estate rather than existing in perpetuity.

I say "Hello" Polish entrepreneur, investor, and contemporary art collector Grazyna Kulczyk plans to open a museum in the remote town of Susch, nestled in the Swiss Alps, at the beginning of next year. Located on the site of a 12th-century monastery, and at present a renovated 19th-century brewery building, the museum will house photographs and other visual artworks by international artists. The opening exhibit plans to “feature works by more than 30 international artists addressing conventions of representation and body politics, questioning traditional gender roles and art historical canons.” The new museum will also host a residency program “enabling artists, curators, choreographers, writers and researchers to spend time in the Alpine region.” Spot art law issues? 

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Since we could not have said it better ourselves, take notice of the recently-launched podcast series "which hosts discussions about topics at the intersection of art and law with art lawyers Steve Schindler and Katie Wilson-Milne, [of Schindler Cohen & Hochman] and their distinguished guests." Available here.
Is Case Law Corner your favorite section of the our newsletter? Don't wait for the next email to get your fix. Read more case law now! Have some cases to share with us? Even better, please reach out!
 
  • State of New York v. Trump,  No. 451130/2018 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty. filed June 14, 2018). After a nearly two-year investigation, Barbara Underwood, the Attorney General for the State of New York, filed a complaint against Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric F. Trump, and The Donald J. Trump Foundation alleging violations of state and federal laws governing New York State charities. The complaint accuses the charity and the Trump family of "improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law." The Attorney General is seeking dissolution of the Foundation, enjoinder to prevent the board members from future service as director of any future New York not-for-profit organizations, restitution and penalties, as well as cooperation from the Foundation in directing its assets to other charitable organizations. The complaint is available here. HF
     
  • Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P., No.13-CV-05612(FB)(RLM) (E.D. N.Y. June 13, 2018). A decision was reached by Judge Frederic Block that struck down real-estate developer Gerald Wolkoff’s motion to “vacate the judgement or grant a new trial” regarding the February decision that saw him paying $6.75 million to the graffiti artists of 5Pointz. Wolkoff was found guilty of the willfully destroying 45 works of visual art created by the artists of 5Pointz by painting over them in 2013. Accordingly, Wolkoff came into possession of 5Pointz’ complex in Long Island City and whitewashed the works street art before he officially received a permit 10 months later to demolish the building to begin construction of condos. Judge Block has now struck down Wolkoff’s post-trial motion, claiming that: “if not for Wolkoff's insolence, [the maximum statutory] damages would not have been assessed" since "[i]f he did not destroy 5Pointz until he received his permits and demolished it 10 months later, the Court would not have found that he had acted willfully," and "a modest amount of statutory damages would probably have been more in order." The decision by Block will undoubtedly have future repercussions on relations between the real-estate and art worlds. The decision is available here. ETA
     
  • Shane Campbell Gallery, Inc. v. Frieze Events, Inc., 1:18-cv-05134 (N.Y.S.D. June 8, 2018). Nearly a month after the art fair, the Frieze organizers sent an apology to the nearly 200 exhibitors apologizing for the extreme heat in the bespoke tent and offering a 10% refund. A day later, Shane Campbell Gallery, located in Chicago, sued in the Southern District of New York for breach of contract, seeking a full refund and alleging $15 million in damages. The complaint was filed by Lewis Saul of Lewis Saul & Associates, P.C. The gallery hopes to achieve class action status in the lawsuit, stating that “Frieze’s partial refund offer [w]as ‘wholly inadequate,’ adding: ‘We intend to litigate this to the fullest extent possible to give galleries what they deserve.’” Judge Richard J. Sullivan was appointed to preside over the case. The court docket is available hereHF
     
  • Neumann-Donnelly v. Neumann (In re Estate of Neumann), No. 652857/2018 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cnty. filed June 7, 2018). While the Center for Art Law’s May newsletter and the case review in the 7 June blog post have covered Hubert Neumann’s unsuccessful attempt to halt the sale of Basquiat’s “Flesh and Spirit” in Neumann v. Sotheby’s, Inc., No. 652170/18 (N.Y. App. Div. May 16, 2018), the family drama is not yet over. In June, Neumann’s daughter Belinda sued her father, alleging that “he had intentionally depressed the price of a major Basquiat sold at auction last month with a failed and frivolous lawsuit to stop the sale.” Ironically, one of Hubert Neumann’s claims against Sotheby’s was that the auction house had “set far too low an estimate of the value of the work.” Sotheby's sold "Flesh and Spirit" for $30.7M. A copy of the Belinda’s complaint is available here.  SH
     
  • Barnet v. Ministry of Culture & Sports of Greece, No. 18-cv-4963 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 5, 2018). In its first legal action against a country, Sotheby’s is suing Greece in the Southern District of New York for declaratory judgment to determine who has the legal rights to an eighth century BC statuette of a bronze horse. The action comes after the Greek culture ministry sent a letter requesting the piece be removed from an auction, asserting that the statuette did not leave Greece legally. The complaint was filed by Gary Stein of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. The court docket is available here. If you would like a copy of the complaint, please e-mail usHF  
     
  • Morgan Art Found. Ltd. v. McKenzie, 1:18-cv-04438-AT (S.D.N.Y. May 18, 2018). Robert Indiana, the American artist famous for his “LOVE” statues, is at the center of a recent lawsuit brought in mid-May. Morgan Art Foundation, the artist’s agent for the past twenty years, is accusing art publisher American Image Art, its founder Michael McKenzie, and Indiana’s employee Jamie Thomas of copyright infringement, trademark infringement, breach of contract, unfair competition, and other counts for exploiting the artist and selling forged works. Indiana himself is also implicated by the plaintiff in the copyright infringements, because he has “a financial interest in and the ability to supervise the infringing activity”of the other defendants, and had conveyed rights to many of his works to Morgan Art Foundation in two earlier agreements. The original complaint is available here. SH
     
  • Shagalov v. Edelman, 6449N 655576/17 (N.Y. App. Div. May 3, 2018). The New York State Appellate Division affirmed a lower court order granting a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants Asher Edelman et al. from "transporting, transferring, disposing, alienating, pledging, assigning, or otherwise encumbering or moving Keith Haring's 'Untitled (March 5, 1984)' and Frank Stella's 'Guifa E La Berretta Rossa' and 'La Scienza della Fiacca.'" The plaintiffs, represented by Daniel H. Weiner of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, successfully demonstrated that they would be "irreparably harmed absent the requested preliminary injunction" and met their burden of "establishing a reasonable probability of success on the merits of their claim that defendants violated their UCC Article 9 rights." The decision is available here. HF  
     
  • City of New Orleans v. Clark, 2017-1453 (La. 12/05/17); 231 So. 3d 625. The Supreme Court of Louisiana granted cert to hear the case. In March 2016, artist Lawrence Clark was cited for selling art without a license from a table stationed at the boundary of the French Quarter, “a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.” Licenses to sell art outdoors are available for only a few areas within New Orleans’ French Quarter, and these are limited and difficult to obtain. Instead of paying the fine, Clark and his lawyer Laura Bixby, of the Orleans Public Defenders, decided “to challenge the city law,” claiming that it is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. Bixby said that the law, intended to prevent overcrowding in one area, ended up restricting outdoor sales everywhere else, but the Louisiana Deputy Solicitor General argued that this is not unreasonable and that Clark “could have obtained an art permit like everyone else.” The justices did not indicate which way they might be leaning in their decision. The news release granting cert is available here. SH
     
*If interested, please consider purchasing these titles using our links as the Center for Art Law receives a small donation from each sale.*

Evan Albright, The Man Who Owned A Wonder Of The World, The Gringo History of Mexico's Chichén Itzá, Bohlin Carr, (Dec. 2015). In 2007 the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico, was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The honor came with a shocking revelation -- Mexico’s greatest archaeological treasure was private property! How could one family come to own one of the archaeological crown jewels of Mexico? The answer was more incredible: they had bought the ancient city from an American, Edward H. Thompson, who had owned Chichén for half a century. Thompson, an archaeologist, explored Chichén and had made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in North America. All it cost him was his reputation, his fortune, and even his life. In this gripping non-fiction narrative, award-winning writer Evan Albright travels to Yucatan to investigate Thompson's incredible true story and stumbles upon Thompson’s biggest secret--the son he left behind. Available here
 
Edgar Peters Bowron, Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, Penn State University Press & The Frick Collection (Mar. 2017). This collection of ten essays examines the history and popularity of Italian Baroque art in America from the 18th to the 20th century. “A wide-ranging, in-depth look at the collecting of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian paintings in America, this volume sheds new light on the cultural conditions that led collectors to value Baroque art and the significant effects of their efforts on America’s greatest museums and galleries.” Available here

 
 
Noah Charney, The Museum of Lost Art, Phaidon (May 2018)

In his most recent publication, author Noah Charney presents an in-depth analysis of the greatest masterpieces lost to the world. Whether they were stolen, destroyed, or perished in another way, Charney’s volume places these works in dialogue with one another. Among this list, Charney includes Vermeer’s “The Concert,” Paolo Uccello’s “Creation and Fall, 1443-46,” as well as Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr Gachet” (1890), examining these works and the various mishaps to befall them. The Museum of Lost Art offers a new angle to investigate art history. Book available here.




 
Aruna D'Souza, Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts, Badlands Unlimited (May 2018). This new book focuses on three cases where “black artists and writers and their allies” used public protest to respond to paintings and exhibits with problematic works, themes, or representation. The author D’Souza uses these events to discuss “how the art world—no less than the country at large—has persistently struggled with the politics of race, and the ways this struggle has influenced how museums, curators and artists wrestle with notions of free speech and the specter of censorship.” Available here
 
 
Manuel DeLanda: ISM ISMManuel DeLanda: ISM ISM, Edited by Andrew Lampert, John Klacsmann, J&L Books (Apr. 2018). This new book “presents a comprehensive overview” of Manuel DeLanda’s street art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s. Working in the same milieu as artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, DeLanda - better known as a filmmaker - created graffiti signed with the tag “Ism Ism.” This book uses “a colorful frame-by-frame breakdown of a Super-8 short film made in 1979 to document” DeLanda’s work, combined with “an expansive interview and copious contextual materials.” Available here
 

Sophie Lillie, Feindliche Gewalten: Das Ringen um Gustav Klimts Beethovenfreis (Enemy Powers: The Struggle for Gustav Klimt’s Beethovenfrieis), Czernin Verlag (Oct. 2017). Before the centenary of Gustav Klimt’s death, Sophie Lillie, an experienced provenance researcher and historian, explores the provenance of Klimt’s “Beethoven Frieze,” now housed in the basement of the Secession Building. The painting was originally exhibited at the Vienna Secession in 1902, owned by collectors August and Szerena Lederer from 1915 onwards, and then appropriated by Nazis in 1938. The painting was returned to Erich Lederer, August’s son, after the war, but he was never permitted to take it out of Austria, the country he had fled in 1938. In 1972, Erich sold the piece to the Austrian state for a bargain price ($750,000) and subsequent Lederer heirs have been unsuccessful in their restitution attempts, with an Austrian state commission rejecting their petition in 2015. Available here.

 

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