New Pro-Artist Law, But Will It Actually Help?

Last month, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law provisions that strengthen New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, which requires galleries to separate proceeds for consignors from their own operating accounts. Now, if a dealer breaches fiduciary obligations to an artist, he or she can be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor, subject to fines and jail time. However, artists are allowed to waive these rights, which is somewhat of a rainfall on this parade. So, will these new provisions actually help artists?

Perhaps. As Artinfo’s article rightly points out, it won’t really help artists who lack bargaining power. We must keep in mind that the art world, as it currently stands, favors galleries and dealers. Those artists that opt to not waive their rights under the new law may be left out in the cold: without a show, without a gallery, and perhaps without sales.

Then again, those artists that truly believe in their work, and the labor and effort that it takes to produce art, may opt to not waive their rights and wait for the right gallery that best fits their expectations. Only time will tell. The law takes effect on November 6, 2012.

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