Monday, July 28, 2014

Annie Up (update)

The Annie Leibovitz repayment drama that has occupied the minds and hearts of millions of readers has finally been settled.
Leibovitz bought back control to her photographs and real estate by renegotiating the terms of a $24 million loan from Art Capital Group, and in return Art Capital dropped its lawsuit against her.
According to, “[u]nder the agreement, Leibovitz purchased from Art Capital its right to act as an exclusive agent in the sale of the copyright to every image the photographer has ever taken as well as her three brownstones in Manhattan’s West Village and a 228- acre property in Rhinebeck, New York.”
UPDATE: September 16, 2009
Leibovitz reaches settlement with creditors.


NEA Communications Director Keeps Job Amid Political Controversy

The communications director at the National Endowment for the Arts remains an employee there despite reports that he was asked to resign following his participation in a controversial conference call last month, learned Thursday.
Yosi Sergant was one of several officials on an hour-long conference call on Aug. 10 hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement and United We Serve, a nationwide initiative launched by President Obama to increase volunteerism.
Patrick Courrielche, one of roughly 75 artists, musicians, writers, poets and others on the hour-long call, said Sergant was among those who encouraged the artists to create works in their respective fields that would show support for Obama’s domestic agenda in areas such as health care, energy and the environment.
It was reported in the Huffington Post on Thursday that Sergant had been asked to resign, but NEA officials have denied that claim.
More from Fox News. According to the Huffington Post, Sergant remains with the NEA but with a different position.


Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District Oral Arguments Today (update #2)

The Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District oral arguments are being held today, at 9:30 Chicago time. The three 7th Circuit Judges have just been announced, and it looks like we’ll have to keep waiting for a Posner/Easterbrook VARA opinion.
The three sitting judges for this case are Daniel A. Manion, Diane S. Sykes, and John D. Tinder. You may view the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals website here.

As our readers well know, this is an extremely important case that can radically alter how the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act is applied to installation art. We’ll keep updating this post as we hear back from our correspondents in Chicago.
Previous posts on this case can be found here and here.

UPDATE: September 11, 2009
The oral arguments can be heard here. They’re a bit lengthy but promising to Chapman Kelley. Stating that the originality factor is a low threshold, the court seemed unconcerned by the CPD’s attempt at making an unoriginal mountain out of an original molehill. More importanly, it also seems like the court, particularly Judge Sykes, was adamant about binding law. To the stuttering of the CPD’s attorney, Judge Sykes basically stated that the Phillips First Circuit decision was not binding on the Seventh Circuit. Listen to the oral arguments and decide for yourself.

UPDATE: September 18, 2009
Chapman Kelley’s lead attorney, Alex Karan, has some thoughts on the oral arguments:
(We at Clancco wish Alex all the best and a healthy and speedy recovery. Hang in there Alex!)

Some of you may recall one of my pro-bono cases, involving the rights of a famous artist. We had briefed the case months earlier and now it was time for oral argument. My good friend Micah argued the case in front of the Seventh Circuit — it made a lot of sense for him to do this rather than me. And he was fantastic! Plus, what became clear during the argument was that the judges had already made up their minds in our favor. For each argument that the City lawyer raised, the Court responded with one of the arguments that we had briefed and made clear that they thought the City was dead wrong. As difficult as it was to make it to the courthouse, it was a delight watching all of the work on this case reach fruition. And it will really be exciting to get an opinion from the Seventh Circuit that affects the rights of artists across the country.


Spain Can Be Sued In U.S. Over Painting Stolen by Germans

The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that Spain can be sued in a U.S. court even though the work was stolen by Germany. According to the 9th Circuit, a U.S. law that shields foreign countries from lawsuits in the U.S. makes an exception for illegally expropriated property without requiring that the country against which the claim is made is the one that broke the law.
Claude Cassirer–an 88-year-old retired photographer who lives in San Diego, sued Spain and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation four years ago to recover the painting by French impressionist Camille Pissarro. The painting was bought by Cassirer’s great- grandfather in 1898. When his grandmother fled Germany in 1939, she was forced to surrender the painting.
More from


Austrian Family Seeks Return of Painting Sold to Hitler

The heirs of a prominent Austrian family want the government to return a famous 17th-century painting which they say was sold by force to Adolf Hitler in 1940. The culture ministry confirmed Saturday that it had received the request and would transmit it to a committee tasked with issuing opinions on restitutions. The family had already asked for the painting to be returned in the 1960s, but their requests were rejected on the basis that it had been sold voluntarily and at an appropriate price.
More from Google News.


Interpol Launches Art Database

Interpol has unveiled an online database of about 34,000 items known to have gone missing or been stolen.
According to The Guardian, it seems like anyone can subscribe to this database.

Open to interested individuals as well as governments, museums, galleries and auction houses, the database features masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Titian and Degas as well as a host of other, lesser known paintings, sculptures, pieces of furniture and jewellery. Among the items featured are Cézanne’s The Boy in the Red Vest and Rembrandt’s The Storm of the Sea of Galilee, which was taken from a US gallery in a 1990 heist considered the biggest in history.


Little Orphan Annie?


When it rains it pours. Photographer Paolo Pizzetti filed a $300,000 lawsuit alleging Annie Leibovitz infringed his copyrights by reproducing photos he took in Venice and Rome for a calendar commissioned by the Lavazza coffee company.

More from The Guardian.

On an unrelated matter, the Los Angeles Times has a nice summary of the other nightmare facing Leibovitz. Leibovitz faces a Tuesday deadline to repay a $24-million loan from a New York art-finance company, Art Capital Group, which advanced her that sum last year after Leibovitz posted as collateral basically everything she owns — not only her two homes but every photographic image ever taken by Leibovitz, past, present, and future.


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