Saturday, December 2, 2023

Did Austin’s Arthouse Violate Artists’ Moral Rights?

Yesterday, artists from around Texas organized a protest and an artist quit Austin’s Arthouse board of directors after Arthouse at the Jones Center eliminated its only curatorial position. The artists also allege that Arthouse mishandled some artists’ work.

According to,

Arthouse allowed Warner Music Group to rent its galleries and to modify Hudson’s exhibit “Rehearsal at the Astoria” for a corporate promotional event during the South by Southwest Music Festival. The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 grants artists the right to prevent modification to their artwork.  In Feburary, Handelman’s video exhibit, “Dorian, a Cinematic Perfume,” was shut down abruptly during hours when Arthouse’s teen programs were in session. Handelman was not notified of the action until afterward.

Hmmm. This is interesting. Would the artists, Graham Hudson and Michelle Handelman, actually pursue a VARA – moral rights claim against Arthouse? Or, is this a negotiation ploy to bring back a full-time curator?


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  • Jason

    I’m a former resident of Austin and an artist living in LA. This article doesn’t seem to be very well researched.

    Graham Hudson and Michelle Handelman have already expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the handling of their work by Arthouse. The writer seems to suggest that others are taking up the mantle in a “ploy to get the curator back”. -?

    Elizabeth Dunbar (the Associate Director and Curator of Arthouse for ten years) brought the possible violations of censorship and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 to the Director’s (Sue Graze) attention. The following Monday, it was announced that Dunbar’s position was eliminated, effective immediately.

    Jen Gardner, a longtime staff member resigned in protest of Dunbar’s firing.

    Dario Robleto resigned his position on the Arthouse board, without comment.

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