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Art Law Blast [11.28.2017]

The Lost Supper

To help you plan your art law calendar, check out the full listing of and upcoming events on our radar.
Nov. 29, 2017 -- Art Law Mixer: Photographer v. Non-Photographer (Danziger Gallery, NYC) 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Patrick Cariou, Arne Svenson, Daniel Morel, Art Rogers, Donald Graham, David Slater and many other photographers have found themselves lawyering up and arguing over freedom of speech and privacy, copyright and fair use. They are the subject of this art law mixer, with special guests -- attorneys for photographers -- Nancy Wolff and Daniel Brooks. Join us for a lively discussion as we focus our art law mixer lens on photographers as protagonists. Selfies welcomed!
* Nov. 29, 2017 - Feb. 2, 2018 -- ROGUES GALLERY: Forty Years Retrospective of Courtroom Art from Son of Sam to El Chapo (Shiva Gallery, NY, NY)

Photography is still not allowed in the courtrooms, may be for privacy purposes. The work of capturing language is performed by stenographers (courtroom reporters). Documentation of faces and players is performed by courtroom artists. There is much more to say about the premise of the exhibition but for now, know that it is hosted by the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, the  fine art gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Dec. 14-15, 2017 -- (Dis)Claiming Pasts: Ownership, Responsibility and Contestation (Ghent University, Belgium)

The aim of this workshop is to explore the different strategies, techniques and arguments used by individuals, groups or entire nations to (dis)claim particular pasts, and the different aims and motivations that underpin them.

Apr. 13, 2018 -- Save the Date for the LCCHP Annual Conference (Georgetown U. Law Center, DC) 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Call for Submissions for LCCHP Annual Conference

Each year, LCCHP strives to present legal, ethical, moral, scientific, technical, policy and practical issues concerning some of the most complex and difficult cultural property issues of the day through its annual conference. Speakers are drawn from federal, state and foreign governments; museums, universities and non-governmental organizations; the art market and private practice. This Call for Submissions is meant to give all interested parties an opportunity to share their expertise and lead a session at our 2018 conference. Click here for details.

The deadline for Submissions is January 13, 2018, 5 pm Eastern Time. 

NOTE:  Be sure to check out our calendar for more events!
What's New:
Proportionality: Salvador Mundi, an old master painting sold this month at Christie's, set the world abuzz, with its record breaking hammer+premium price. Even the Vatican City's annual budget is less than the amount expected to be paid for the "Last Leonardo." For our purposes, this artwork is noteworthy due to its fine art law pedigree.

Artforum #Too: Knight Landesman, the co-publisher of an influential art magazine, resigned after a former employee accused him of smearing her reputation following years of harassment and unwanted sexual advances.

Bold Win/Dispute Resolution: The New York gallery owner, Mary Boone, has reached a seven-figure settlement with Alec Baldwin to resolve the actor’s lawsuit alleging she misled him about the uniqueness of a Ross Bleckner painting he purchased, called “Sea and Mirror.” The complaint filed in 2016, alleged that the work in question was not the original, unique version of the artwork. Baldwin v. Boone, et al., 654807/2016 (NY Sup Ct) is dismissed with prejudice.
WA Confidential: Judge Robert Lasnik disqualified a Seattle attorney and her law firm from representing Michael Moi, plaintiff who alleges that the glass artist Dale Chihuly failed to credit him for artistic contributions. Attorney Anne Bremner was removed from the case this month at the request of Chihuly's lawyers, who argued that Bremner previously represented others who sued Chihuly and as a result obtained confidential information about Chihuly's operations.

Pope May Stay Cross Must Go: At least four French courts (including that of public opinion) have considered the fate of the 2006-Tsereteli statute of Pope Jone Paul II. The final verdict from the France's Supreme Court, citing the 1905 secularization law, the cross must be removed but the statute can stay in situ, in Brittany. The outcome is hardly protective of the Georgian-Russian artist's right of integrity but there is something to b e said about the Solomonic decision. Perhaps when the next debate about confederate equestrian statues erupts in the United States, someone could propose removing the horseman and keeping the horse. 

Virginia is for Public Safety: Governor of Virginia announced an emergency regulation restricting not only the size of the crowd permitted to assemble near the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond (up to 500 people) but also requiring permits to hold events for groups in excess of 10 people and banning guns at all permitted events. 

Hobby Lobby: A new private museum opened in Washington DC this month, with a modest name of the Museum of the Bible, with a price tag slightly higher than the sales price of Salvador Mundi. The Museum began making news earlier in the year, when the US Department of Justice effectuated a forfeiture of hundreds of smuggled artifacts and collected a $3 million non-penalty from Hobby Lobby, a craft store, whose President, Steve Green, is the chairman of the Museum of the Bible.

You are kindly invited:

Art Law Mixer:
Photographer v. Non-Photographer


Nancy E. Wolff, Attorney for Arne Svenson, and 
Daniel J. Brooks, Attorney for Patrick Cariou.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Dangziger Gallery
95 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
Topics will include: 
  • Balancing copyrights of photographers and fair use;
  • Balancing freedom of expression and privacy interests.

Join us for a lively discussion as we focus our art law mixer lense on photographers as protagonists. Selfies welcomed!

Please RSVP. Note that this program has limited capacity.

Is Case Law Corner your favorite section of the Center for Art Law's newsletter?
Don't wait for our next email to get your fix. Read more case law now!


Chowaika & Co. Fine Arts Ltd., Case No. 17-13228 (MKV) [Carpenter Fine Violins and Collectibles, LLC v. Ezra Chowaiki and David E.R. Danger, 65929/2017 (Sup. Ct. NY Cnty. Nov. 15, 2017), RH9 Group, LLC et al v. Chowaiki, 656930/2017, Sup. Ct. NY Cnty. Nov. 15, 2017, Leser v. Chowaiki & Co. Fine Art Ltd. et al, 656870/2017 (Sup. Ct. NY Cnty Nov. 12, 2017)]
Three lawsuits filed agains Chowaiki & Co. Fine Art corporation have precipitated the filing for bankruptcy by the private gallery and art advisory service founded in 2004 by Ezra Chowaiki, now accused of defrauding clients.The cases are stayed pending the US Bankruptcy Court for SDNY decision.

Joshua Liner Gallery v. Kagan, 656849/2017 (Sup. Ct. NY Cnty. Nov. 9, 2017) -- Plaintiff, a New York gallery, alleges fraudulent concealment of sales of paintings directly through Defendant's studio in violation of the artist-gallery agreement, as well as a failure to create and deliver a painting to the Gallery in consideration of certain sail goals, and other grievances. The complaint reveals that the Gallery has been acting as the Artist’s exclusive agent for the sale of artworks produced since 2014, and was entitled to a commission of 50% on any artwork Kagan sold. Kagan’s art is slated for exhibit on at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in 2019. 

Berkshire Museum Lawsuits: Two groups of plaintiffs -- members and heirs of Norman Rockwell -- filed two lawsuits in an attempt to enjoin the deaccessioning of 50 artworks in planned November 13 Sotheby’s auction.  The heirs of Norman Rockwell filed a complaint arguing that the deaccession “violates the museum’s establishing statute, promises made to donors and the fiduciary obligations of its trustees.”  The MA Attorney General, Maura Healey, supported the Rockwell plaintiffs in a filing. The second complaint, brought by members of the Museum, argues that the museum has reneged on its obligations to its supporters by putting the works up for auction.  The theory is that because, under Massachusetts law, members of a nonprofit are treated like shareholders in a corporation, the relationship between the corporation and its governing charters and bylaws must be treated like a contract. A hearing was held on November 1, 2017, and the papers in support can be found here. The Court denied the request for an injunction, allowing the planned November 13 sale to proceed. (JB)

Schmitt v. Artforum International Magazine Inc. et al, 159464-2017 (Sup. Ct. NY Cnty. Oct. 25, 2017) -- Curator and Art Fair Director Amanda Schmitt, along with eight other women, sued Artforum and Knight Landesman over his alleged sexual harassment.  The complaint accuses the publication of allowing Landesman’s sexually abusive behavior toward multiple women to occur without consequence. It also claims that Defendant slandered Schmitt and threatened retaliation against current and former employees who might speak out against the harassment to the authorities or the press. The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages of $500,000 plus attorneys’ fees and punitive damages. (JB)

Mugrabi v. Mana Contemporary, 159407/2017 (Sup. Ct. NY Cnty. Oct 23, 2017) The Mugrabi family sued Mana Contemporary, which stores works for the dealer family, for preventing the removal of art works from its facility due to unpaid fees.  Since the filing of the complaint, the court ordered Mana to release some of the works in exchange for a $1 million payment by the Mugrabis.  (JB)

[Bauer v. Toll, TGI Paris, 7 nov. 2017, n° 17/58735] - High Court in Paris ruled to restitute a Pissarro painting “Picking Peas” to the heirs of a Jewish art collector whose art was looted by the French Vichy government. According to the holding, an American couple, Bruce and Robbi Toll, who lent "Picking Peas" to an exhibition in France at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris did not act in bad faith when they bought the painting from Christie’s auction house; the court also did not award the Toll’s any compensation for their loss.  The painting will continue to be held in escrow in the D’Orsay pending appeal. Insurance values the painting at over a million dollars. (JB)
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