Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ponzi Scheme Kills 9/11 Monument

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges Coadum Advisers Inc. raised $30 million by promising investors returns as high as 6 percent per month. The SEC contends that these fraudulent investments financed a towering sculpture in the Maryland mountains depicting three New York City firefighters raising the US flag at Ground Zero. In hopes of repaying the defrauded investors, the 40-foot bronze statue unveiled in November 2007 at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Md., is for sale.


International Conference to Bolster Return of Nazi-looted Art

From today’s Boston Globe, a major conference to strategize the return of Nazi-looted art:

Government officials from around 49 countries, dozens of non-governmental groups and Jewish representatives will meet in Prague this week to review current practices. They are likely to sign a new agreement to step up restitution efforts.

The task of restituting Nazi-looted works is an epic one. The Nazis formed a bureaucracy devoted to looting and they plundered a total of 650,000 art and religious objects from Jews and other victims, the Jewish Claims Conference estimates.


Artist’s Rights Society Threatens Michigan Town

Anyone know Danish law? The Little Mermaid has brought a bit of legal conflict to a little town in Michigan.

According to City Manager George Bosanic, the city was notified by letter from the Artists Rights Society (The ARS represents more than 50,000 artists and their copyrights) in New York City, representing the estate of Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen, saying the statue is illegal and may have to be removed.

According to Michigan’s Daily News, Eriksen created the original “Little Mermaid” statue in 1913 as a tribute to Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Sitting at the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark, the statue draws an estimated 1.5 million visitors a year.

The director for ARS said the managers of the estate of Eriksen want the statue to be removed since no permission was granted to create a replica, and that even if the statue may not be an exact replica of the original the pose and name are the same, showing it was at least attempting to replicate Denmark’s version.

Michigan’s Daily News has more.


Chapman Kelley Files Response and Reply Brief

Below is artist Chapman Kelley’s response and reply brief to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, filed on June 12, 2009, arguing that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois erred in finding that Chapman’s Wildflower Works was not protected by the Visual Artist’s Rights Act of 1990, and that the District Court should have awarded Chapman damages in finding the Chicago Park District liable for breach of contract.

I agree with Donn Zaretsky that this case, along with the Mass MoCA v. Buchel case, are of grave import to contemporary artists. In fact, two strong pro-artist rulings in both cases can simultaneously revive the nearly-gutted VARA statute and counter the Phillps v. Pembroke decision which denied VARA protection to site-specific works.

With a bit of luck Kelley could very well end up with three Seventh Circuit judges whose rationale and intellectual pin-point precision is unmatched: Richard A. Posner, Frank H. Easterbrook, and Diane P. Wood. Let’s cross our fingers!

Kelley is represented pro bono by Kirkland & Ellis LLP.



Picasso Sketchbook Stolen

A notebook full of Pablo Picasso’s sketches worth several million pounds (valued at 7-10 million euros or $9.7 million-$13.9 million) stolen from the Musée national Picasso Paris.


City Settles Lawsuit Against Photographer

The City of Snohomish has settled with a University of Washington fine art professor arrested shortly after she was seen photographing power lines.

Scheier’s suit followed an earlier legal action filed by Bogdan Mohora, who was arrested in 2004 after being seen photographing the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard. The City of Seattle later paid Mohora $8,000 to settle the claim.


Chapman Kelley: My Work Is Original

Seems like a district court judge in Illinois is not up on his critical theory readings, particularly those of Walter Benjamin. Ruling that Kelley’s work lacked originality, the district court judge held that the Visual Artists Rights Act did not protect Kelley’s work because it lacked “originality,” a critical precursor to establishing a copyright violation (VARA is part of U.S. copyright law). This is quite odd given the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the standard for creativity is extremely low: it need not be novel, but rather possess only a “spark” or “minimal degree” of creativity to be protected by copyright. We’ll keep an eye on this one.

More from The Art Newspaper here.


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