Saturday, June 10, 2023

What’s the Top Art Law Case of the Decade?

MM Buchel Bomb-Go-Round.JPG

What’s the top art law case of the decade, or the ’00s as it’s being called?

My vote is not really about a case per se, but more so for a legal issue: the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”). Both the Chapman Kelley v. Chicago Park District and the Mass MoCA v. Büchel cases will be instrumental in establishing whether VARA is gutted of any legal force and therefore useless, or read with a clarity and therefore granting visual artists the moral rights originally intended by congress in 1990: the right of attribution and the right of integrity. The right of attribution generally consists of the right of an artist to be recognized by name as the author of his work or to publish anonymously or pseudonymously, the right to prevent the author’s work from being attributed to someone else, and to prevent the use of the author’s name on works created by others, including distorted editions of the author’s original work. The right of integrity allows the author to prevent any deforming or mutilating changes to his work, even after title in the work has been transferred.

Both cases are on appeal–the 7th and 1st Circuits respectively–and decisions to both are expected any minute now.

What’s your vote for the top art law case of the ’00s, and looking forward, what’s the top legal issue for visual artists? Let me know: I’m taking a poll and entering names into my digital hat. Winner gets lunch on me in NYC at my favorite Mexican food restaurant (and for you out-of-towners, this is good next time you’re in town).


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Comments: 6

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  • J Angers

    You mean the First Circuit, not the Ninth, for the Büchel case.

  • Yes, thanks for the correction. It’s corrected now.

  • It´s important the case in Latin America as:

    1.- México, 2005. Culture Law.
    2.- Argentina, 2009. Legal resources for writters and artist.
    3.- UE, 2007-2009. Pirate Party.
    4.- Brasil, 2008. American Sculpture irrupts the Amazonia.

  • Thanks Sonia. It’s good to get a global perspective. Are there any specific cases you can think of in Mexico, Brasil, or Argentina?


  • I will speak of the Mexican case.

    The corruption and misconduct that has existed in Mexico for 20 years had their origins in theft , the society and organization of gangs that control unethical support institutions for artists and education. The best known case is the F.O.N.C.A. (National Fund for Culture and the Arts) and has become an exclusive institution for judges and support their friends and not for society democratically. The leader and representative of this corruption a group of people who use the Mexican government to steal and gain support corrupt people who do not need the support of wealthy people also give support to get a business contact, destroying the law, ethical purity and twenty-first century art.

    For a new ART .
    Art Lawer
    Sonia Martinez.

  • For 20 years there is a National Endowment for the Arts in Mexico, which does not always proven to be the exemplary instance, neither democratic nor the most ethical. On the contrary, has amassed a small agency of grants that are shared by a small group of artists, provoking a crisis of differences between the guild of artists in Mexico. Foremost among friends and recommended a very small group of aristocrats to the Mexican, a small oligarchy, which are not necessarily artists, but rather lyrical and Mexico-American yuppies who have managed to sabotage the Mexican revolutionary system. As we know Mexico exists thanks to a revolutionary system that helps minorities and society at large to compete primarily for equality and respect, education and law. This system should be respected and nothing should change or be manipulated by groups of bureaucracies or power groups. Thus the case of F.O.N.C.A. few times that has had complaints about injustices, abuses, prejudices, business support to families of the oligarchy and mainly cases of discrimination and racism must be democratic, will have to abandon the so-called Rupture, will have to support ugly or poor Mexicans and must be truly a National Fund for Culture and Arts. And never again the institution of the Mexican aristocrats that in 20 years have shown its evil and social discrimination.


    For a new ART .
    Art Lawer
    Sonia Martinez

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