Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Facing bankruptcy, should the SF Art Institute sell its $50M Diego Rivera?

Curious what my good friend Donn Zaretsky would say. I’m still not sure. My hesitation stems not from the “ethics” of deaccessioning, but rather from my skepticism on the relevance of higher “art education” as we know it. In other words, and presuming the Rivera was in fact sold and raised the $50M estimate, would those $50M be but a band-aid on a bullet hole? Would the SFAI just burn through those $50M and be back facing bankruptcy in a matter of years?

Story here.

Side note: Last October during the Art & Law Program fall term I posed a number of hypotheticals to the fellows. Interestingly, one of the hypos was almost exact to the real-life situation faced now by the San Francisco Art Institute. The only difference was that in my hypo, the art institution had in its collection an artwork by an artist who had close cultural and ethnic connections to the community. Lo and behold, one of the Program fellows, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, sent me an email last night directing me to this Program hypo come to life. Thank you, Carlos!


Singing copyrighted songs during home quarantine…infringement?

This interesting article on how singing copyright-protected songs from the roof could infringe copyrights (in Spanish, but hopefully you can read).


Vehicular Homicide Case Against MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson Still On

A vehicular homicide case against the director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Joe Thompson, will continue, a judge ruled.

Joseph Thompson, 61, was charged in connection with the July 2018 crash that killed motorcyclist Steven Fortier. Fortier and Thompson collided in North Adams while traveling in opposite directions, police said.

Some readers may remember that according to WUPE.com, Thompson may “have tried to leave the scene of a fatal accident last summer.”

Curious why this story hasn’t gotten much attention in the art industry.


Art & Law Program 2020 Spring Dates/Topic Announced

UPDATE: March 16, 2020

Given the evolving and uncertain COVID-19 situation both locally and nationally, the Spring 2020 Art & Law Program term has been postponed until further notice. We are working on rescheduling the Spring dates. Please check The Art & Law Program website for any updates. If you have any questions , please feel free to call or email Sergio Munoz Sarmiento at sms@artlawoffice.com

The Spring 2020 three-day intensive/colloquium will take place on the weekend of April 17, 18 and 19, each day from 10am to 6pm. The three-day intensive will be held at the Cornell Art Architecture Planning headquarters at 26 Broadway in New York City.

In the Spring 2020, the Program will examine the effects of law on visual art, with a particular emphasis on the previous 20-years. We will question whether art is hindered or aided by the direct or indirect impact of law, legal discourse, and legal practice on art. In effect, we will discuss whether, and to what extent, artists should engage with the law.

The rolling-admissions application deadline is March 27, 2020. All application and Program information is available here: artlawprogram.com

Applicants and admitted fellows shall take note that the Program is fully committed to freedom of expression.


He was a rising star in the art world. Who knew? Who was involved? And who did he con?

The NY Times on Inigo Philbrick.


Estate of Former Otis College Director Sues Otis College of Art and Design, Alleging Wrongful Termination

Bruce W. Ferguson estate’s lawyers claims “that Otis acted in defiance of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects workers from discrimination based on their race, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which the legal team says applies to Ferguson because Otis’s board perceived him as having a disability. The lawsuit alleges that Otis engaged in “willful, knowing, and intentional discrimination and retaliation against” Ferguson.”

More here.


California man faces up to 25 years in prison for art fraud

A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday to three federal criminal charges after he admitted to selling fake artwork purported to be by artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat and used the fraudulent work as loan collateral.

More here.


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