April 2020.
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Art Law In The Time Of Coronavirus
Gustav Klimt, "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" (1903-07), Neue Galerie New York. Photo credits: Louise Carron.
Dear Louise, 

Usually, the month of March is filled with conferences, art fairs, and gallery walks. The beginning of this leap year has been challenging for us all, to say the least. For better or worse, the reality of an increasingly connected art world has sprung into a new meaning: galleries now offer virtual tours of their space, museums are making their collections available online, and educational institutions host online seminars. Similarly, the Center pivoted programming to digital form:
  • On April 23, 2020, the Center will be hosting an online Visual Artists' Immigration Clinic in partnership with the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and The Immigrant Artist Biennial
  • We also created a resource page "Art Law in the Time of Coronavirus" where we monitor the effects of COVID-19 on the art world
  • Lastly, to encourage our readers to stay up to date on art law cases, we have decided to open the Case Law Corner to non-members to access all of our case summaries for free
The reality is that, like many in the field, educational and fundraising events that we rely upon for income have been canceled or postponed indefinitely. In times like these, fundraising may sound tone-deaf but now more than ever, the Center needs your support by donating the amount that you would usually pay to attend one of our events. With your help, we can continue to offer relevant art law resources for the benefit of the entire arts and law community. 
Stay safe, stay healthy!

Louise Carron

Executive Director
Board Development
Daphne Chen Matthews
We are pleased to welcome Daphne
who joined our Board of Directors in April 2020.
On Our Agenda
NEW Live Web Assistance for Economic Relief 
April 8, 2020
Online (Artists Rights Society)
More information >>>

NEW Webinar: Emergency Grants for Individual Artists -- Urgent Aid Answers with Yayoi Shionoiri and Ginji Wang
April 9, 2020
Online (Mana Contemporary)
More information >>>

NEW Art Law for Artists: Copyright, Contracts, & Business Entity Formation
April 9, 16, and 23, 2020
Online (Creative Commons)
More information >>>

NEW Financial Strategies for Artists and Freelancers Impacted by COVID-19
April 14, 2020
Online (Art World Conference)
More information >>>

NEW Taxes for Artists, Freelancers & Creative Businesses
April 21, 2020
Online (Art World Conference)
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Visual Artists' Immigration Clinic
April 23, 2020
More information >>>

NEW Cracking The Code: Legal Issues for Artists in The Digital Age (CLE)
May 6, 2020
Online (Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts)
More information >>>
Full Calendar
Art Law Digest
COVID-19 and the Arts: 

Labor Law. Many in the arts industry are facing layoffs and furloughs, including employees at Sotheby's, Mass MoCA, the MFA, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Opera. Workers at the Met Museum of Art negotiated being paid through May 2, 2020.

Nonprofit Law. While arts-related employers, employees, and freelancers are learning to navigate the reality of employment law and union negotiation, many art funds and charitable at heart are stepping up their support of the arts, including J. Paul Getty Trust
Contract Law. Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E) published a set of guidelines for the postponement or cancelation of work to help artists and nonprofit institutions navigate the effects of COVID-19 on artists' contracts and work agreements.

#MuseumChallenge. While museums are closed, institutions such as the Getty and the Met challenged their social media followers to let their creativity speak by restaging famous paintings from their collections. 

Under Fire. The organizers of TEFAF Maastricht, which had 300 exhibitors and 28,500 visitors, are now facing sharp criticism for allowing the event to continue as the virus spread across Europe. The fair was shut down four days early on March 11th after one exhibitor, an Italian Modern art dealer, tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to Italy. Since then, between 23 and 35 exhibitors have been identified as likely having contracted the virus at the event. Some exhibitors at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair that took place in March also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

Happy Birthday. On Vincent Van Gogh's birthday, one of his paintings titled "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884" (1884) was stolen from the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands, which has been closed to the public due to the coronavirus outbreak. Unsurprisingly, the museum Director is "unbelievably pissed off."

New Restitution Guidelines. Arts Council England (ACE) has asked The Institute of Art and Law to develop new guidelines for UK museums on restitution. These new recommendations are planned for publication in Fall 2020 and will replace the outdated guidelines that were published in 2000.

Forged Dead Sea Scrolls. All 16 of the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls which are currently part of the Museum of the Bible’s collection have been confirmed as forgeries. The Dead Sea Scrolls include the oldest known surviving copies of the Old Testament and these fragments were one of the most valuable elements of the Washington DC museum’s collection. A team of researchers found that while the fragments were made of ancient leather, they were inked in modern times. These forgeries draw attention to the museum’s questionable and often unethical collection practices during its formation.

Fake Australian Art. Australian First Nations people have been dealing with an influx of counterfeit art with up to 80% of pieces of supposedly aboriginal origin in tourist shops being either fake or not traceable to a First Nations artist. Arts Law Australia has attempted to provide First Nations artists with assistance in protecting their work but have run into difficulty as Australian copyright law protects individual pieces but cannot be used to prevent non-First Nations people from creating works in the style of First Nations art.

Stone-Cold Thieves. Since the devastating fire last April, Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral has been undergoing restoration. However, intensifying COVID-19 quarantine measures in France has halted the restoration efforts indefinitely. Two men were apprehended by guards after allegedly breaking into the construction site and attempting to sack several fallen stones from inside the cathedral. Despite the construction pause, the Notre Dame Cathedral remains guarded 24-hours per day. 

Wake Up, Digital Art Galleries! Due to increases in fraud and theft on the digital marketplace, Nederob is asking digital art galleries to unify their efforts to establish a foundation, create a legal framework capable of identifying fraud and theft, and build a protocol to prosecute criminals where needed.

Turning a Blind Eye. German researcher Sibylle Ehringhaus has resigned from the Georg Schäfer Museum in Bavaria after identifying several artworks with tainted provenance, which, to this date, the museum does not plan to return. Her research shows that at least 20 artworks belonged to Jewish owners, but the museum claims that “the art was bought legally and in good faith” and that compensating the victims of the Nazi occupation is a state function. Ms. Ehringhaus has claimed that the museum denied her access to historical documents vital to her research and has forbidden her from contacting other museums with research inquiries.

Dream Jobs

Associate Attorney 
Coopersmith Law Firm (CA)
More info...

General Counsel & Chief of Staff
Brooklyn Museum (NY)
More info...

Corporate Attorney (incl. art)
Boutique Law Firm (NY)
More info...

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. 
  • Tarducci v. Coates, No. 1:2020-cv-00069 (D. R.I. Feb. 11, 2020). 
  • The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC v. Sotheby’s, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-01841 (S.D.N.Y. filed on Mar. 2, 2020). 
  • Zuckerman v. Metro. Museum of Art, 928 F.3d 186 (2nd Cir. 2019), petition for cert. denied (Mar. 3, 2020) (18-634). 
  • United States v. Righter, No. 2:220-cr-00131 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 10, 2020) and No. 1:2019-cr-20370 (S.D. FL. Mar. 16, 2020). 
  • In re PH8, Inc., No. 20-10809-smb (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2020). 
  • Oliver v. Meow Wolf, Inc et al., No. 1:20-cv-00237-KK-SCY (D.N.M. Mar. 16, 2020). 
  • Robert Blumenthal Gallery, LLC v. Derek Fordjour, No. 650795/2020 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed on Mar. 19, 2020).
  • Allen v. Cooper, No. 18-877, 2020 U.S. LEXIS 1909 (Mar. 23, 2020). 
Read Art Law Cases
The Center wishes to acknowledge our wonderful Spring Interns for continuing their work remotely this semester. Thank you, Sara Osinski and Alexa Sussmane for making this newsletter possible! 

Michael H. Kater, Culture in Nazi Germany (Yale University Press, May 2019), ISBN: 9780300211412. Michael H. Kater’s engaging and deeply researched account of artistic culture within Nazi Germany considers how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed when the Nazis came to power. With a broad purview that ranges widely across music, literature, film, theater, the press, and visual arts, Kater details the struggle between creative autonomy and political control as he looks at what became of German artists and their work both during and subsequent to Nazi rule. Available here.

More Art Law Books
On the Blog

Klimt in the Wall: An Account of Return
By Alexa Sussmane. Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery, a gallery in a small city of Passerini, Italy, made international news in December 2019 after the unexpected return of a Gustav Klimt painting which had been stolen from the same gallery twenty-three years earlier. Gardeners discovered Klimt’s “Portrait of a Lady” (1916-17) (the “Portrait” or the […] 

It’s A Risky Business: Why Insurance Matters In The Art Industry
By Vivian Costandy Michael, Esq. “Art and insurance” may not roll off the tongue like “art and design” or “art and wine,” but those in the art business should know they are an equally natural pairing. Insurance is a way of managing risk, and no industry, including the art world, is immune from risk. In […] 
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Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Sara Osinski, and Alexa Sussmane.
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