August 2021 (Volume IX Issue 8).
Made in Brooklyn with love.​
Art Law Blast 2.5.
PS All puns are intended.
Passing of the Torch
Celebrating the end of the academic year, bar exams, new jobs, and so much more!
Dear <<First Name>>,

Another August, another passing of the torch! Just three years ago, or three years ago already, I handed the keys to the Center to Louise Carron and what a wonderful journey we have had together. We are much indebted to Louise for the outstanding work she has done with and for the Center, and I hope you will join me in wishing Louise much success in her new role, as an associate with Klaris Law.

Before turning to the upcoming academic year, let's take a moment to review the Annual Report FY2021. It documents and celebrates the impressive work of our outstanding team: volunteers, interns, fellows, directors and advisors as well as many artists and attorneys who have shared their talents, expertise, inquiries, and insights with the Center. 

What's next for the Center? Just like the Olympics, we are forging on: Citius - Altius - Fortius!  I am pleased to introduce our incoming interim Executive Director, Minelli Manoukian (MSU College of Law, JD 2020). Some of you already have had a chance to work with Minelli when she served as our Summer 2021 Post Graduate Fellow, preparing and managing the Visual Artists’ Legal Clinics. The Center's team will also be welcoming the inaugural Judith Bresler Fellow, Atreya Mathur (NYU Law, LLM Candidate 2021) and a flock of Fall interns who will be working on a comparative guide of the AML practices in the art trade, estate planning seminars, legal clinics, and many more exciting partnerships to continue building and sharing art law resources. 

Let us all enjoy a restful and renewing August. We look forward to seeing you back online (and in person!) come September.

Onwards,

Irina Tarsis
Founder and Managing Director

Read the Annual Report (and add your name to the Friends of the Center in FY2022)
On Our Calendar
Fundamentals of Nazi-era art provenance research (Online Intensive Course)
Aug. 2 - Aug. 6, 2021
Online
More information >>>

Sotheby's Institute of Art: Art Law (Online Intensive Course)*
Aug. 23 - Sept. 2, 2021
Online
More information >>>

CENTER FOR ART LAW Art Law Lunch Talk: Valuing and Preserving Legacy of Immigrant Artists
Sept. 10, 2021, 12 PM EST
Online
More information and RSVP >>>
This program is being offered as part of the Artist Legacy and Estate Planning Clinic. If you would like to attend all of the EPC events, consider becoming a Premium Member.

CENTER FOR ART LAW 4-Part Seminar Series with Artist Foundation and Estate Leaders
October 2021, 12 PM EST
Online
Registration page forthcoming
This program will being offered as part of the Artist Legacy and Estate Planning Clinic
See the full calendar
Art Law Digest

In Public Memory. A bronze statue of Princess Diana was unveiled at Kensington Palace. The work by British artist Ian Rank-Broadley, was commissioned on the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in 2017 to commemorate her compassion and work for children across the globe.

Stonehenge No Tunnel The Highways England project to reduce congestion and construct a tunnel under the iconic site has been struck down by High Court, as offensive of the World Heritage Convention and common law. 

Legal Shifts. Italy’s new art export laws are being put to the test as Italian auction houses move to offer art online. Last year, the Italian Ministry of Culture voted to lessen the country’s strict export laws that only permitted the work of living or recently deceased artists to be sold. Following France’s example, Italy’s reforms may open the market to a greater international audience. 

Reunion. Six pieces of artwork worth more than $100,000 were returned to the estate of a Grosse Point, MI collector. Five years ago, a collection of works by artists such as Robert Raschenburg and Jasper Johns was stolen during a home invasion. The return is a bittersweet victory for the family, as no arrests have been made and the original owner has since passed away.

Pension Scandal. Artists who gave their work to the Artist Pension Trust (APT) have spoken out about the company’s lack of communication. Many want their art returned. APT holds artists’ works in a fund, with the goal of selling works in the future when values have increased. Proceeds from sales are then distributed to the group. Several artists state they have not received a payout in years and do not know where their work is currently stored. 

Deal, Plead, Sentenced. Angela Gulbenkian, a German art dealer, was arrested in Lisbon and extradited to the UK in June 2020. She pled guilty to two counts of theft: (1) the fraudulent sale of a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture for 1.1 million pounds, and (2) stealing 50K pounds from a client who entrusted the money with her to invest. Per sentencing on July 28th, Angela received three and a half years in prison.

Legal Lab Report. Serpentine Galleries Legal Lab has released a 40-page report on art, law, and technology that has been in the works since 2019. The report found a lack of industry standards regarding the use of IP that is created as part of a collaborative project. As the art and tech worlds continue to merge, the lack of protections may pose a risk to creators as they navigate ownership and fair-use of collaborative IP. 

Settlement. Two bronze sculptures of horses intended for Hitler’s Reich Chancellery became the property of the German government in a recent agreement. The works had been acquired by Rainer Wolf from Soviet forces in East Germany after the war. In 2015, the government seized his collection of Nazi memorabilia, believed to be stolen. The remaining confiscated works will be returned to Wolf.

WWW.NFT. A NFT of the original source code of the World Wide Web minted by its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, sold at a Sotheby’s auction. After a starting bid of $1,000, the final purchase price reached $5.4 million. Funds from the sale will be donated to charities.  

Disability Futures Initiative. The Ford and Mellon Foundations are expanding their joint Disability Futures program to continue supporting artists with disabilities through 2025. With the success of the first cohort, the foundations will support two more groups of artists, journalists, and filmmakers, with unrestricted $50,000 grants. The program’s core goal is to bring “visibility” to the life and works of disabled artists.

Whose da Vinci is it Anyway? On Wednesday, July 7th, a French court hearing began concerning the possible sale of a drawing believed to be Leonardo da Vinci’s, valued at roughly 8-12 million euros. The dispute is between the owner and France’s culture ministry, who denied the owner an export permit and contends that the drawing is a national treasure, and thus cannot leave France but should instead be acquired and held in the Louvre. On October 27th, the hearing will resume and the court will decide whether the owner should receive an export permit.

Rashford Mural Restored. A Manchester mural depicting English soccer star Marcus Rashford has been restored. Following England’s loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, angry fans targeted Rashford and the community street art mural that bears his image with racist language. Rashford thanked those who helped in the cleaning effort with a statement on Twitter. Money raised to restore the mural will be donated to a local charity.

Restitution Confusion. The heirs of Jewish art historian Curt Glaser are continuing to push for The Met and MFA, Boston to recognize that paintings acquired from Glaser’s collection in 1933 were sold under duress. Although both museums argue there is not enough evidence to substantiate the family’s claims, committees in the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland have all found that the paintings were, in fact, sold under duress. 

US Loot? The Cincinnati Art Museum has opened a new exhibition, Paintings, Politics and the Monuments Men: the Berlin Masterpieces in America (9 July - October 3). The show tells the story of the “Berlin 202,” a group of 202 Old Masters paintings taken by the US army from Germany at the end of WWII, despite the protests of the Monuments Men. The works were then displayed across the US throughout 1945, and eventually returned to Germany four years later.    

Sackler Ban. The Sacklers will not be able to lend their name to institutions until they repay approximately $4.5b in debt over the next 9 years. Purdue Pharma, owned by Sackler family members, pled guilty for contributing to the opioid crisis in November 2020. This new agreement follows pledges by universities and cultural sites (such as NYU, Tate, and Dia Art Foundation) to forgo any future dealings with the family.

Mapping Malware. Art collective Forensic Architecture discussed its ongoing project analyzing NSO Group Technologies this month with Artnet. The work, supported by Amnesty International and the Citizen Lab, maps incidents tied to the NSO’s Pegasus malware that is used to hack devices. Researchers state they are visualizing the more subtle pathways of state violence implemented in the digital era.

Art & Politics. Over 1,000 Polish arts professionals protested culture minister Piotr Glínski’s decision to dismiss Hanna Wróblewska from her position as director of the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, effective next year. Many believe political motivations triggered her dismissal. Glínski is a member of Poland’s Law and Justice (“PiS”) party, the current ruling nationalist conservative party, which has received international criticism for its policies in recent months.

New Artist in Town. The Georges Bergès Gallery representing Hunter Biden has agreed with White House officials to refuse suspicious purchase offers for the lawyer-turned-artist’s work and to not disclose buyers’ identities. The decision attempts to separate Biden’s art sales from ethical concerns surrounding his proximity to the President. His paintings, to be displayed in the New York gallery, are expected to sell for between $75k - $500k. 

Artsy Report. Artsy, the online art marketplace headquartered in New York, has released its Art Collecting Report for 2021. The study stems from a survey of 765 art collectors initiated in May. Key findings include a substantial increase in art purchased online, as well as a noted interest in acquiring works by emerging artists. Just 5% of those surveyed have bought an NFT. 

The Art Market and AML Regulations: Dealer Survey
DEALERS ONLY:
This summer, the Center is conducting an Art Law Anti-Money Laundering Survey for art dealers and galleries (the "Survey"). We are developing a comparative guide to provide insights for members of the art trade and their council on the current state of implementation of the recent AML regulations. Members of the art trade operating in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union are invited to participate! Please take the Survey.
(Approx. completion time = 5 mins)

Status Stripped. The city of Liverpool has been stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. In 2004, Liverpool was awarded the prestigious status for its role as one of the world’s most important ports. The committee cited the construction of new buildings that undermine the city’s authenticity and integrity as the ultimate reason to delist Liverpool.

In The NudePornhub’s new website is facing legal action from the Louvre and Uffizi museums. The new site and its accompanying app reinterpret classic artworks with a pornographic spin. The sexually explicit performances of these pieces of art by pornographic actors have led institutions to bring a lawsuit, arguing rights infringement and seeking the content’s removal.

MOCA Conflict. Artists Colin Chin and Nicholas Liem have requested their work be removed from the Museum of Chinese in America’s collection. The artists cited the museum’s complicity in Chinatown’s gentrification and acceptance of $35m from the New York City Council for a new performing arts space as reasons for their request. The funding was secured in a deal that allows a new jail to be constructed in Chinatown.

UK Arts Uncertainty. UK arts advocates are protesting the government’s major cuts to university level arts and culture subjects. Beginning this fall, the government will slash subsidies for the arts by 50% and redirect the funds to scientific and medical programs. Education Minister Gavin Williamson supports the fund reallocation, arguing that “high-cost” subjects like performing arts and design should not be prioritized amid the pandemic. 

Creative Futures Grant. The Black Artists+Designers Guild has announced a new grant to support Black undergraduates and graduates studying Architecture, Design, or Fine Art. The Guild will provide an award of $5,000 to four recipients. Prospective applicants are asked to submit a proposal connected to the Global African Diaspora. More information on applying is available here

Kapoor Case Continues. Neil Perry Smith, a British art restorer, was arraigned this July, marking the next step in the case against ex-art dealer Subhash Kapoor. The Manhattan DA’s Office first filed charges against Smith, Kapoor, and six co-conspirators in July 2019. Smith knowingly restored looted works supplied by Kapoor, providing a key service within the illegal network and ensuring that the objects would dupe future buyers.

EU AML Update. The European Commission has set in motion a plan to establish an Anti-Money Laundering Authority (“AMLA”). Expected in 2024, the organization will work to monitor cross-border transactions and unify the AML legislation of EU member states. Current estimates report that “suspicious transactions” constitute 1.3% of the EU’s GDP.

Restitutions:

The Brooklyn Museum announced its repatriation of 1,305 Pre-Columbian artifacts to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. The works had been donated to the museum in 1934 by the wife of American businessman Minor Cooper Keith, who had accumulated artworks on his Costa Rican properties. This marks the second restitution from the Keith collection, the first having consisted of 981 objects back in 2011. 

The U.S. plans to return a 10th-century Khmer statue to Cambodia. The culturally important statue, which depicts Hindu deity Skanda riding a peacock, found its way from Khmer Rouge operatives to private collections. Over 20 years after it was illegally plundered and sold, the statue now awaits a final return to its original home.

Attorney Corinne Hershkovitch summoned the Musée du Louvre and Musée d'Orsay, as well as France's culture ministry and four provincial museums, demanding the restitution of 21 works taken from the collection of Armand Isaac Dorville, prominent lawyer and collector who fled Paris in 1940, when Germany invaded France, to take refuge at his residence in the village of Cubjac in the south. The state claims that the objects were not looted, but rather sold in an estate sale after Dorville's death. A hearing is planned for September. 

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Case Law Corner
  • Rockburne v. Costolo, No. 155438/2021 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jun. 4, 2021). 
  • Criss-A-Less Inc. v. ASDN Houston LLC, No. 2021-11255 (Dist. Ct. Harris Cty., Tex. filed Jun. 23, 2021).
  • U.S. v. Pereda, No. 21-mag-6595 (S.D.N.Y. filed Jun. 29, 2021). 
  • Reif et al. v. Nagy et al., No. 161799/2015, (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jul. 7, 2021).
  • Morris v. Urban Outfitters, Inc., No. 21-cv-05602 (C.D. Cal. filed Jul. 9, 2021). 
  • U.S. v. A 10th Century Cambodian Sandstone Sculpture Depicting Skanda on a Peacock, No. 21-cv-06065 (S.D.N.Y. filed Jul. 15, 2021). 
  • In re The Estate of Mike Meyers A/K/A Mike Meyer Disfarmer, Deceased, No. 12PR-59-963 (Cir. Ct. Cleburne Cty. Ark. filed Jul. 17, 2021). 
  • International Systems Group Inc. v. Carmichael et al., No. 21-cv-06301 (S.D.N.Y. filed Jul. 24, 2021). 
  • U.S. v. Chrismas, 21-cr-00127 (C.D. Cal. file Mar. 16, 2021).  
  • Steinhardt v. Hirschl & Adler Galleries, No. 0159990 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jul. 27, 2021).
Read the full Case Law Corner
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On the Blog

A Monumental Effort: An Examination of Cultural Heritage Protection in the MENA Region

Image Credits: © Vyacheslav Argenberg / http://www.vascoplanet.com/, Creative Commons 4.0 License By Alisa Grishin Cultural Heritage: An Introduction Since the advent of human existence, we have been creating. These creations – the art, monuments, cities, and artifacts – of our ancestors have prevailed for generations, constantly linking us to the past and reminding us of cultural […]

The post A Monumental Effort: An Examination of Cultural Heritage Protection in the MENA Region appeared first on Center for Art Law.

 

Dynamic Policies of Deaccessioning and Disposal in American Museums

Image Credits: Credit: The Baltimore Museum of Art (via Baltimore Heritage/Flickr) By: Nicholas Michael Alfred H. Barr Jr, Museum of Modern Art’s first ever director, analogized the modern museum’s collection to a torpedo “moving through time, its nose the ever advancing present, its tail the ever receding past of 50 to 100 years ago.”[1] In his […]

The post Dynamic Policies of Deaccessioning and Disposal in American Museums appeared first on Center for Art Law.

 

Case Review: Cassirer et. al. v. Thyssen Bornemisza Collection Foundation (2022)

by Anissa Patel Overview Since 1993, Rue Saint-Honoré, après-midi, effet de pluie[1], an oil painting by the French impressionist master Camille Pissarro has been hanging at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation’s Museum (the “Museum”) located in Spain.[2] The painting was originally purchased in 1898 by Julius Cassirer, a member of a wealthy Jewish family once living […]

The post Case Review: Cassirer et. al. v. Thyssen Bornemisza Collection Foundation (2022) appeared first on Center for Art Law.

 

Legacy and Lawsuits: An Overview of the Robert Indiana Estate Court Battles

By Atreya Mathur The story of Robert Indiana’s Estate is a fascinating one: full of art, drama, lawsuits, LOVE,[1] and maybe HOPE[2]. One of the best known American Artists, Indiana, who became a leading figure in the Pop art movement in the 1960s and called himself an “American painter of signs,”[3] left behind more than […]

The post Legacy and Lawsuits: An Overview of the Robert Indiana Estate Court Battles appeared first on Center for Art Law.

 
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Louise Carron, Irina Tarsis, Tess Bonoli, Visala Alagappan, Andrea Canzano,
Claire Darrow, Tokunbo Fashanu, and Julianne Schmidt.
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