July 2020.
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.0.
PS All puns are intended.
Zoom In On Art Law
Dear Louise, 

Can you believe we are already halfway through 2020? We sure can't.

The Center's summer team has been making lemonade between research and writing articles and attending Zoom calls. So far we have enjoyed our first worldwide virtual alumni reunion and 'visits' with art and law professionals including Sarah Conley-Odenkirk (Art Converge), Véronique Chagnon-Burke (Christie's Education NY), and Fanny Lakoubay, Elena Zevelev, and Andrea Steuers (CADAF). 

We are also using this time to educate ourselves and our community on racial issues that permeate the field of art law and to think about how the Center can be a better advocate for social justice. True to our educational mission, here's an ongoing resource list that we hope sheds light on longstanding and pervasive issues of racial inequality and art's valuable role in raising awareness and opening up a dialogue for meaningful change.  

We are grateful for your continued readership throughout these complicated times. To receive a 50% discount for unlimited access to our articles, use code ArtLawSummer2020 through the end of July.

Stay safe and strong,
Louise Carron
Executive Director

PS Thank you for staying current, please remember to update your contact information!
Go to the Archives
On Our Agenda
NEW Moral Rights & The Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA)
July 20, 2020
Online (hosted by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts)
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talks
July 23-31, 2020
Online (hosted by the Center for Art Law)
More information >>>

NEW Creative Property Law Workshop for Artists and Entrepreneurs
July 29, 2020
Charlotte, NC
More information >>>

NEW Copyright 101 for Artists
August 26, 2020
Online (hosted by City of Ryde)
More information >>>
Full Calendar
Art Law Digest

What Do You Figure? Despite Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu (Princeton University) arguing that Christie’s should not sell a pair of Igbo sculptures taken by a French collector during the Nigerian Civil War, the figurines sold for under the estimate at the Christie’s sale in late June.

No Silence Aloud. Hong Kong-based artists living in Europe are launching a platform called Silence is Compliance, featuring live-streamed performances and an online gallery, in response to China’s new national security law. Artists worry the law will restrict artistic freedom and expression. The program is spearheaded by the Young Blood Initiative, whose founder Candy Choi publicly questions if she and other artists will ever be able to return to Hong Kong after the show. 

Vive les Artistes. The Paris Bar Association created the Barreau des Arts, a pro-bono initiative dedicated to helping French artists, inspired by the model of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (US) and the Arts Law Center (Australia). 

Innovation in Iraq. The Cultural Protection Fund of the British Council released a report outlining their recent project to help protect artifacts in two museums in Iraq. The project placed SmartWater forensic traceable liquid on to 273,000 non-organic artifacts and trained dozens of local museum officials to continue applying the innovative trackers.

Galleries Getting On. Galleries in London’s West End reopened on June 15th after months of coronavirus-related closures as non-essential businesses. Galleries collectively decided to open by appointment only, and require all patrons to wear masks and follow proper social distancing requirements. 

Letter for Liberty. A group of artists in the Philippines have banned together to protest a new anti-terror bill that will allow the government to infringe on their civil liberties. They launched an #ArtistsFightBack campaign and wrote a letter condemning the new legislation that has been signed by more than 1,500 people.

Spotlight on Museums: 

  • On June 12th, a group of demonstrators stormed into the Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac in Paris to attempt to seize an African artifact. They wanted to “bring to Africa what was taken”. The five protesters were arrested and are due to appear in a Paris court on September 30th for charges of attempted theft.
  • On June 10th, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art pledged not to engage in future contracts with the Chicago Police Department until they see “meaningful changes that respect black communities."
  • The Cleveland Museum apologized for missteps in March relating to canceling an exhibit by artist Shaun Leonardo about police brutality against African American and Latino men. The museum had canceled the show based on the assumption people “were not prepared to engage with the lived experiences of pain and trauma that the work evokes.” 
  • The Toledo Museum of Art’s director Adam Levine released an apathetic statement condemning the protests following the killing of George Floyd, before claiming the museum is nonpartisan and apolitical. Artists organized a protest at the steps of the museum, demanding the museum do better to use its platform to end police brutality and racial injustice. The museum has since released two new statements outlining plans to increase representation in its collection.

Must Come Down. Over 200 monuments have been toppled or removed across America. Most notably:

  • San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has removed a bust of the institution’s founding patron, Avery Brundage, a twentieth-century sports administrator with an eight-thousand-work collection who developed a reputation as a Nazi sympathizer and white supremacist. 
  • The Museum of Natural History has decided to remove the bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, from the entrance of the museum. 
  • While the announced removal of the Robert E. Lee statue has been stalled by two lawsuits, the city of Richmond, VA removed the confederate statues of Gen. Stonewall Jackson and officer Fontaine Maury.
  • Russian art collector Andrei Filatov offered to purchase the statues of Roosevelt in NYC and Alexander Baranov in Alaska, in an effort to preserve the memory of their efforts to advance Russian interests.
  • On the other side of the pond: The Oxford University council is debating the future of the Cecil Rhodes statue due to demands for its removal. Rhodes was a 19th-century imperialist, and the funder of the Rhodes Scholarship. Meanwhile, in Bristol, the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was thrown into the harbor. The mayor intends to display the toppled statue in a museum alongside Black Lives Matter placards, to educate visitors on the need for racial equality. 

Botched. Conservation experts in Spain call for stricter laws concerning restoration work after a copy of a famous painting by the baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo became the latest in a long line of artworks to suffer a damaging and disfiguring repair. The painting was “restored” by a furniture restorer, and comparisons have been made to the botched restoration of a 16th-century polychrome statue of Saint George eight years ago.

Lost and Found. An obscure piece of US history was discovered from a cove off the coast of Manhattan. A crane salvaged what is believed to be the wreckage of the PT-59, a Navy patrol boat commanded by former president John F. Kennedy during his time in the military. The remnants of the World War II boat could wind up at a museum.

Detained But Not Deterred. The artist Jasa Mrevlje Pollak who represented Slovenia at the Venice Biennale in 2015, was among seven civilians who were briefly detained in Ljubljana for taking part in the ongoing anti-government protests against Prime Minister Janez Jansa’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Many more artists begin to join him in the anti-government protests.

Facing the (Arti)Facts.  Facebook explicitly banned the sale of historical artifacts in its marketplaces. This announcement came in response to calls from watchdog groups including the ATHAR Project to regulate the online exchange platform. Read the Center's spotlight.

Time's Up. Staff at the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced in late May they are launching a union drive, following recent criticism of the museum’s deficient harassment policies in a New York Times report, which named former museum manager Joshua Helmer as a repeat offender.

New Twist On Resale Royalties. The foundation Kadist, based in San Francisco and Paris, developed a new sales agreement that artists can use to make sure profits derived from their works go to a charitable cause, which the Foundation hopes will be an extra incentive for buyers.

What's Been Missing? In 1897, British troops ransacked the Royal Palace of Benin dispersing at least 3,000 objects internationally and only a few have since been restituted. Over 120 years later a group of Europe-based ethnology experts just announced they will be creating a digital database of the art looted from the kingdom. 
Case Law Corner
  • United States v. Philbrick, No. 1:20-MJ-04507 (S.D.N.Y. filed Apr. 30, 2020). 
  • The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC v. Sotheby's, Inc. et al., No. 1:20-CV-01841 (S.D.N.Y. May 29, 2020).
  • Crowe v. Akron Art Museum, No. CV-2020-05-1605 (Ohio Ct. Com. Pl. filed May 29, 2020).
  • McGucken v. Newsweek, LLC et al., No. 1:19-cv-09617 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 1, 2020).
  • Alverson v. Akron Art Museum, No. CV-2020-06-1676 (Ohio Ct. Com. Pl. filed June 8, 2020). 
  • Gregory v. Governor of Virginia, No. CL20002441-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed June 8, 2020).
  • Barnet et al. v. Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, No. 19-2171 (2d Cir. 2020). 
  • Restellini v. The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-04388 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 9, 2020).
  • United States v. Winbourn, No. 1:2019cr00510 (D. Col. June 12, 2020).
  • Athena Art Finance Corp. v. that Certain Artwork By Jean-Michel Basquiat Entitled Humidity, 1982, In Rem, No. 1:20-CV-04669 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 18, 2020).
  • Taylor v. Governor of Virginia, No. CL20002624-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed June 17, 2020). 
  • V&A Collection, LLC v. Guzzini Properties Ltd., No. 1:20-CV-01797 (S.D.N.Y. filed Feb. 28, 2020).
  • Howard University v. Borders et al., No. 1:20-CV-04716 (S.D.N.Y. filed June 19, 2020). 
  • McGriff et al. v. City of Miami Beach et al., No. 1:20-cv-22583 (S.D. Fla. filed June 23, 2020).
  • Lipsky v. Spanierman Gallery, LLC et al., No. _______ (N.Y. Sup. Ct. filed on June 29, 2020). 
  • Federal Republic of Germany, et al. v. Philipp, et al., No. 17-7064 (D.C. Cir. 2018), cert. granted, No. 19-351 (U.S. July 2, 2020).
Read the full Case Law Corner
Interesting Finds
New Podcast: Warfare of Art & Law
Artist and attorney Stephanie Drawdy's Warfare of Art and Law Podcast sparks conversation about the intriguing – and sometimes infuriating – stories that arise in the worlds of art and law.

Podcast Episode: Art Scoping on Museum Decolonization
Dr. Victoria S. Reed discusses museum decolonization and how it relates to recent calls to remove statues representing hate and racism. She contextualizes this topical issue with references to museums collections containing colonial plunder from abroad, Nazi loot, and objects caught up in the illicit trade. 

Call for Papers: Imperial Artifacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Property
Leiden University is receiving paper proposals for its January 2021 conference on "Imperial Artifacts: History, Law, and the Looting of Cultural Property". Deadline for submissions: Aug. 31, 2020.
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.

K. Battista (ed.) and B. Faller (ed.), Creative Legacies: Critical Issues for Artists' Estates, Ashgate Publishing (July 2020) ISBN: 9781848223523. This book is a guide to practical, legal, and financial considerations and best-practice for artists’ estates. For all artists and their estates, art-market professionals and students of the art market, this book offers vital answers to these fascinating and often complex questions of artistic legacy. Available here.

A. Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It, Cassel (March 2020) ISBN: 1788401557. How to deal with the colonial history of art in museums and monuments in the public realm is a thorny issue that we are only just beginning to address. Alice Procter, creator of the Uncomfortable Art Tours, provides a manual for deconstructing everything you thought you knew about art history and tells the stories that have been left out of the canon. Available here.

M. Sargent et al., Tracking and Disrupting the Illicit Antiquities Trade with Open Source Data, RAND Corporation (June 2020) ISBN: 1977401481. The illicit antiquities market is fueled by a well-documented rise in looting at archaeological sites and a fear that the proceeds of such looting may be financing terrorism or rogue states. In this report, the authors compile evidence from numerous open sources to outline the major policy-relevant characteristics of that market. Available here.

J. Saltz, How to Be an Artist, Riverhead Books (March 2020) ISBN: 178157782X. How to Be An Artist is an indispensable book of practical inspiration for creative people of all kinds. Brimming with dozens of brand new rules, prompts, exercises, and tips designed to break through creative blocks, ignite motivation, and conquer bad habits, this book is designed to help artists of all kinds - painters, photographers, writers, performers - realize their dreams. Available here.

J. Resnik, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms, Yale University Press (January 2011) ISBN: 9780300110968. By mapping the remarkable run of the icon of Justice, a woman with scales and sword, and by tracing the development of public spaces dedicated to justice—courthouses—the authors explore the evolution of adjudication into its modern form as well as the intimate relationship between the courts and democracy. Available here.

N. Moses, Fakes, Forgeries, and Frauds, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (February 2020) ISBN: 1442274433. This book delivers nine fascinating true stories that introduce the fakers, forgers, art authenticators, and others that populate this dark world. What happens when spiritual truth conflicts with historic fact? Can an object retain its essence when most of it was replaced? Why do we find fakes so eternally fascinating, and forgers such appealing con artists? Available here.

R. Iskin, Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon: Perspectives in a Global World, Routledge (December 2016) ISBN: 1138192694. In discussions of the canon of art history, the notion of ‘inclusiveness’, both at the level of rhetoric and as a desired practice is on the rise and gradually replacing talk of ‘exclusion’, which dominated critiques of the canon up until two decades ago. Thirteen essays present case studies of consecration in the contemporary art field, and three discussions present diverse positions on issues of the canon and consecration processes today. Available here.

More Art Law Books
On the Blog

Homage or Faux Pas: Cultural Appropriation in Fashion Apparel
By Amber Lee. The history of fashion brands appropriating the culture of minorities resurfaces at each Fashion Week. Just to name a few: in 2011, American retail company Urban Outfitters came under fire after it launched its Navajo-themed clothing and accessories line, which some members of the indigenous community found to be “culturally offensive.”[1] Three […] 

Museums and COVID-19: from Deaccessioning to Reopening
By Olivia Baker. Since March of 2020, it is an understatement to say that the world has been completely altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the past few months, artists and art institutions faced the ramifications of the pandemic, between canceled exhibitions, dealing with extraordinary financial losses, and numerous layoffs and furloughs. It was […] 

Updates from the Video Game World: The Copyright Issues of Realistic Gameplay
By Christopher Zheng. From living room couches to massive conventions, video games dominate our entertainment culture. Today, the incredible market value and ubiquitous presence of video games are undeniable. In 2018, total video game sales topped $43.4 billion, and 164 million people, or 65% of adults in the United States, reported playing video games. [1] […] 

Social Media: A Smuggler’s Tool For Looted Antiquities
By Lucy Siegel. Social media allows us to connect in a matter of seconds with people all over the world, ranging from fan pages discussing niche interests to hashtags used to organize political protests. However, illegal activity through social media is made easier by the anonymous nature of virtual interactions. The black market has made […] 

Case Review: Is There HOPE for the Estate of Robert Indiana?
By Taylor Barje. Lawsuit I: Morgan Art Foundation Ltd. v. McKenzie et al., No. 1:18-cv-04438 (S.D.N.Y. filed on May 18, 2018). Lawsuit II: Morgan Art Foundation Ltd. et al. v. James W. Brannan, No. 1:18-cv-08231 (S.D.N.Y. filed on Sept. 10, 2018). Robert Indiana was one of the most famous pop artists of the late XXth […] 
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Newsletter created and edited by:
Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Marla Katz, Lucy Siegel, and Olivia Baker.
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