June 2020.
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Turn And Face The Strange
... Turn and face the strange
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers

~ David Bowie, Changes (1971)
Dear Louise, 
Protests, curfews, quarantine, and a pandemic. What a strange time to be alive. As always, we strive to advance the rule of law: working pan-US and internationally, we continue to serve the community and would like to share some good news. 

Five new interns joined us remotely, working as far as New England, Florida, and Nevada, we are pleased to introduce: Olivia Baker (Virginia Polytechnic Institute, BA 2021), Marla Katz (University of Connecticut School of Law, J.D. 2022), Amber Lee (University of Florida School of Law, J.D. 2021), Lucy Siegel (Bowdoin College, BA 2022) and Christopher Zheng (Harvard Law School, J.D. 2022).

Last month, we held a well-attended Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable together with AFI and Mana Contemporary––read the summary of the roundtable and the results from our Artist Impact Survey in the report available here. Stay tuned for our Art & Law Days coming up this summer.

To our community, you are the reason we are still operating and we are grateful for your ongoing support. If you are able to, please consider making a donation to nonprofits, including the Center, who support the arts and advocate for social justice.
Louise Carron
Executive Director

PS Thank you for staying current, please remember to update your contact information!
The results from the Artist COVID-19 Impact Survey
and the Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable have been released!
Read the Report
In Memoriam

This Spring, the art law world lost two important figures: Judith Bresler, attorney, professor, and author of the leading treatise on Art Law, and David Toren, Holocaust survivor who fought to recover his family's looted collection.

They have been inspirations to us and our sincere thoughts go to their families, colleagues, and friends. 
On Our Agenda
NEW Art + Fintech 2.0 Webinars
June 1-29, 2020
More information >>>

NEW Know Your Rights: Copyright Laws For Photographers
June 9, 2020
Online (hosted by American Society of Media Photographers)
More information >>> 

NEW Digital worlds: the future of art online
June 18, 2020
Online (hosted by the London Art Salon)
More information >>> 

ONLINE COURSE International Cultural Heritage Law
June 22 to July 3, 2020
Online (hosted by Art-Law Centre and the UNESCO Chair in the International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the University of Geneva)
More information >>> 
Full Calendar
Art Law Digest
Sketching the Invisible. Courtroom artists are struggling to readjust to the new circumstances surrounding hearings and trials. Now that our justice system is conducted over the phone, courtroom artists no longer have facial expressions and body language to rely on, as expressed by Supreme Court courtroom artist Art Lien.

Taking the Funding Out of Philly. Philadelphia's mayor announced devastating budget cuts in early May, including reducing the city’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy budget from $4.4 million to zero. This strips cultural institutions all over the city of any city funding, including the African American Museum in Philadelphia, which was founded and is still funded by the city.

No HEROES for the Arts. The most recent US stimulus bill passed by the House, known as the HEROES Act, does little for the arts sector. While the bill allocates a total of $25 million in loans for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the National Endowment of the Humanities,  no other cultural institution is slated to receive any of the $3 trillion dollars. The bill is not expected to pass in the Senate, and President Trump has already vowed to veto it. 

Penniless. High percentages of British artists are not qualifying for the UK’s recently released self-employment income support scheme. The scheme stipulates that at least 50% of an individual's income must come from self-employment and their profits must be £50,000 or less. Artists affiliated with a limited company are disqualified, leaving artists working with a university or other exhibition space without support.

That's A Big Deal. 103 countries collaborated to recover over 19,000 artifacts in early May. Over 100 suspects were arrested and 300 individual investigations opened as a result fo the recovery mission. Law enforcement focused on online illicit trade platforms and trading stemming from conflict zones.

Icy Roads. The first discovered ice site in Northern Europe, the Lomseggen ridge has been melting rapidly since 2011. As a result, a trove of about 800 Viking artifacts emerged from this icy mountain range, indicating that the mountain pass served as a trade network. 

Protect the Picassos. Two Picasso murals located on the exterior concrete slab of an empty government building in Oslo are at risk of destruction. The Norwegian government approved the demolition of the building, promising to protect the murals but giving no indication as to how. The Museum of Modern Art in New York reached out to the prime minister and minister for the environment, encouraging them to reconsider their plans for demolition.

Portraits on Pause. While it is customary for U.S. presidents to reveal their predecessor’s portrait during a ceremony where the current and former administrations mingle in the White House, President Trump announced that he will not unveil Barack and Michelle Obama’s portraits, which may not be on display until after he leaves office.

Hold Your Breath. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (1910) is deteriorating due to excess humidity, likely resulting from viewers breathing on the painting. In addition, the artist used a non-pure tube of yellow paint, making the painting vulnerable to excess flaking. Curators and conversationists at the Munch Museum in Oslo are working to preserve and protect the painting.

Sharing Is Caring. Several galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and London are finding ways to contribute percentages of their incomes to charities supporting artists, access to healthcare, food pantries, and more.

Can't Boost the Banksy. Hospital security guards apprehended a burglar who was trying to steal a Banksy work. The piece was donated in early May by the artist and is scheduled to be auctioned off (once quarantine measures are lifted) to raise money for the UK National Health Service. The burglar entered the hospital with a cordless drill and walked past the artwork several times before guards noticed confronted him, leaving the artwork untouched. 

No Alterations. Ukranian lawmakers passed a law ratifying the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1999. This allows Ukraine to lobby UNESCO for assistance in protecting cultural heritage locations. The protocol has deemed it illegal to alter any culturally significant location or destroy its historical value. This is relevant in Crimea, part of Russian-occupied Ukraine, where Russian officials have begun renovations of a cultural landmark.

No Stepping Up. After four months on the job, Austria’s culture minister, Ulrike Lunacek, resigned from her position. Lunacek was appointed just before the beginning of the pandemic, and allegedly had very little experience in the world of culture before assuming her position. Her decision to step down came after considerable criticism of how the government responded to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector. 

Not this Year. The 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, formerly scheduled for 2021, has been postponed to the following year. The international art show’s next iteration will now run for seven months, from April 23 to November 27, 2022, exemplifying the setbacks the art world will increasingly have to face due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cute (and Risky). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Missouri gave a guided tour to penguins from the Kansas City Zoo. The penguins even showed preferences for certain artworks and were particularly drawn to Baroque paintings. While an interesting exercise, this event does raise concerns regarding the liability the museum and its board would have faced if artworks had been damaged by the penguins.

Heavy Losses. The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) released a report indicating that art galleries across the U.S. expect to lose 73% of revenue during the second fiscal quarter this year. The ADAA projects that over a third of galleries worldwide will not reopen after the pandemic is over. Concurrently, new research by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) revealed that the pandemic forced nearly 90% of all museums worldwide to close and that 13% of museums worldwide may never reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Deaccessioning Loosened. The ADAA decided not to penalize museums that take restricted income from endowment funds or donations and use it instead for general operating expenses for the next two years. Additionally, ADAA member museums may use deaccessioning funds to help maintain their current collections. 

Preparing To Reopen. ICOM also published a list of recommended measures, concluding with the suggestion that any museum unable to follow all public health measures should extend their temporary closing. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, one of the first museums to close its doors in mid-March, will not open until at least mid-August, projecting a loss of $150 million for the current and next fiscal year. 

ATHENA II/ PANDORA IV. Last month, in a massive international consorted effort to curb illicit traffic in cultural objects 101 people were arrested, 103 countries recovered looted cultural property, 300 new investigations were opened and over 19,000 artifacts seized. But who's counting?! Good job  INTERPOL and all!

Case Law Corner

This month's Case Law Corner is paywall-free: click here to go to the webpage
and read our summaries of US and international art law cases. 

  • Silvain v. Christie’s Inc., No. 5:20-cv-01608 (N.D. Cal. filed on Mar. 4, 2020). 
  • Robert Blumenthal Gallery, L.L.C. v. Fordjour, No. 650795/2020 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed Feb. 4, 2020).
  • Meyer v. Seidel, No. 2:19-cv-09786 (C.D. Cal. May 5, 2020). 
  • Bich v. Bich, No. 2020-0359 (Del. Ch. filed May 12, 2020). 
  • United States v. One Cuneiform Tablet Known as the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet”, No. 1:20-cv-02222 (E.D.N.Y. filed May 18, 2020). 
  • Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Christie's Inc., No. 1:20-cv-02239 (E.D.N.Y. filed May 18, 2020). 
  • Venus Over Manhattan Art, L.L.C. v. 980 Madison Owner, L.L.C., No. 1:20-cv-03838 (S.D.N.Y. filed May 18, 2020). 
  • Steadfast Insurance Co. v. T.F. Nugent Inc., No. 1:20-cv-03959 (S.D.N.Y. filed May 21, 2020).
  • Noland v. Janssen, No. 1:17-cv-05452 (S.D.N.Y. June 1, 2020).
Read Art Law Cases
Call for Papers
Imperial Artefacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Property
Conference to be held on January 28-29, 2021 at Leiden University (Netherlands)
Deadline for papers: August 31, 2020
More information >>>

Brazilian Journal of International Law
Special Issue on Art Law and Cultural Heritage Law to be published in December 2020
Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2020
More information >>>

N. Bahrmann, Kunstfund Gurlitt: Wege Der Forschung, De Gruyter (May 5, 2020) ISBN: 3110658135. A task force was founded in 2013 to clarify the origin of the works in "Schwabinger Kunstfund," which were suspected of being "robbery art" connected to the Nazi era. Provenance research was conducted in order to find the origin of individual works, but no basic research investigating the dealer, Gurlitt, was ever considered. This publication outlines additional research and additional provenance findings. Written in German. Available here.

E. Pierrat, L'auteur, ses droits et ses devoirs, Gallimard, (May 28, 2020) ISBN: 9782072819094. Censorship, ownership of the original manuscripts, distinction of fiction versus real characters, and a number of other obstacles stand in the way of those who hope to write and be published. This publication discusses the legal issues of the different phases of publishing a work such as the conclusion of the contract, the remuneration of the writer, the risks of defamation, and the adaptations of novels to films.  Written in French. Available here. 

P. Williams, The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy, Hachette (September 11, 2018) ISBN: 0316382531. In 2012, a New York auction catalog boasted an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton." In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was over $1 million. This publication explores humans' relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. Available here.

More Art Law Books
On the Blog

An Excursion into the Antiquities’ Law of India
By Atreya Mathur. India’s rich cultural legacy is embodied in artworks throughout the country. Whether it is a bronze statue of a goddess, an engraved sculpture at a temple, a Tanjore[1] painting at an old gallery or gold and silver Zardozi embroidery,[2] Indian works of art represent a significant part of the country’s past. To […] 

Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable: Frequently Asked Questions
This is a summary of the Art & Law COVID-19 Roundtable hosted by the Artistic Freedom Initiative, the Center for Art Law, and Mana Contemporary on May 8, 2020, where four attorneys addressed recurring pandemic-related legal questions as they pertained to the creative field, ranging from employment, immigration, housing, copyright and contract issues. Tana Forrester Kessler Matura P.C. Employment […] 

Case Review: Allen v. Cooper (2020)
By Alexa Sussmane. Joseph Nicholls, “Capt. Teach alias Black-Beard” (1736), print engraved by J. Basire and reproduced in D. Defoe, A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers, &c. To which is added, a genuine account of the voyages and plunders of the most notorious pyrates (1736), p. […] 
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Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Marla Katz, Lucy Seigel, and Olivia Baker.
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