Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Feud Between Malanga and Chamberlain Heads to Court

Gerard Malanga will finally have his day in court after a longstanding legal feud with the famous 81-year-old sculptor John Chamberlain over a contested silkscreen that may or may not be the work of Andy Warhol.

Previous entry on this story here.

Via Artinfo.


Free Speech and Property Rights: Censorship in the Arts

The essay below, Free Speech and Property Rights: Censorship in the Arts, was written by artist and educator Charles Gaines, in response to the recent events concerning artistic speech at the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Gagosian Gallery in New York City. In this essay, Gaines explains how artists, art media sources, and art institutions should combat the silencing of artistic expression through means other than law. The reader will notice that we have included the short version on the front page of this website, and the longer version below.

Gaines has graciously agreed to publish his essay with Clancco.com, with the hope of using his essay as a petition statement from artists, writers and art viewers to be sent to museums and galleries. In this light, we hope you will sign-on to this petition. You may access the petition form and list here.


Free Speech and Property Rights: Censorship in the Arts (short version)

-Charles Gaines, January 2011

  • Freedom of speech: an idea that government cannot censor or punish you because of your expressed opinion. The problem today is that it is not only government but also institutions such as corporations, museums, and galleries that are involved in censoring speech.
  • When the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian removed David Wojnarowicz’s work from its show Hide and Seek, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles painted out Blu’s anti-war mural, artists and others who have an interest in free speech protested.  But in this protest we find two separate interests: one, art as a humanistic discipline, that when coupled with freedom of speech gives us the capacity to realize our full potential as human beings, and two, our interest in protecting property, which points to questions concerning the ownership of works of art.  We understand that as artists we speak through the objects we produce and we believe we own that speech even if someone else owns the object.
  • Artists and institutions are increasingly using law as a weapon to protect free speech.  But they are beginning to realize that this action is actually contributing to the demise of art.  As in the Mass MoCA v. Buchel case, these aggressive legal maneuvers and lawsuits are affirming more and more that art has to be considered property in matters of free speech, and this moves the idea of art away from philosophical or moral principles into one of property rights.This brings the realization that the law cannot resolve this alone.
  • The alternative solution is to fight these patterns of censorship through political organizing.  We will follow the example of the civil rights movement and come together to make our arguments to museums such as the Smithsonian and MOCA, and galleries such as Gagosian on moral and ethical grounds and not rely only on law. In this way we can fight for principles we deem important even if not protected by law..
  • We understand the deeply troubling problems the recent events around free speech and censorship have raised.  We ask that our institutions of art demonstrate their understanding of this and rethink their relationship to art and artists, and to consider the damage censorship and the silencing of speech does.
  • We understand that the law negotiates the idea of art in terms of property rights, and if we only use the law as a tool to fight censorship or protect property rights, we will only intensify the present trend of art as commodity.  This undermines what is important about art: that it expands our knowledge, deepens our understanding, and enriches our experiences.  Art has a long history of contributing to our social, cultural, and political lives and this history should not be negated by actions that oppress the free exploration of ideas. We will use negotiation as the means to influence institutional practices around censorship in order to preserve these things that make art important to society. We ask our institutions to do the same, to look beyond their legal rights as autonomous agencies and help us protect the idea of art.
  • We ask our institutions to make public declarations and include in their mission statements language that demonstrates their commitment to free speech and anti-censorship policies.  We ask for this to preserve art and its legacy.

-Charles Gaines

You may access the petition form and sign-up list here.

To see a list of those who have signed the list, please click here.

Read the rest of this entry »


Law School for Visual Artists: 5-Week Course

I’ll be teaching this 5-week course, Law School for Visual Artists, at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, starting February 2, 2011. If you’re a visual artist, don’t miss it. Oh, it’s also free!

When: February 2, 9, 16, 23 and March 2, 2011.
Where: VLA, 1 East 53rd Street, NY, NY 10022 (Auditorium)
Registration Fee: Free to visual artists

Legal issues can be overwhelming for many visual artists: relationships with galleries, appropriation practices, damaged artwork, art world employment practices, and collaborations with other artists are just some of the issues visual artists face.

With this in mind, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has initiated a course for contemporary visual artists that will make legalese comprehensible and manageable, while giving visual artists an introduction to legal issues necessary to protect themselves and their art projects. This 5-week lecture series will cover intellectual property (copyright and trademarks); contracts, consignment agreements, and licensing agreements; basic business models (non-profit and for-profit corporations, LLC’s); employment issues with studio and gallery assistants; artist websites; as well as issues in public art and commissioning agreements.

The classes will be taught by VLA’s Associate Director, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento

This class series is open to visual artists only, and includes class materials.

Class series will take place on the following Wednesdays: February 2, 9, 16, 23 and March 2, 2011

All classes will take place from 4pm – 6pm, and will be held at the VLA Auditorium (1 East 53rd Street, 6th floor, NY).

To register for this free lecture series, please e-mail the following information (your name, e-mail address, artistic medium (film, video, sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.), and years of professional practice) to Luis Nieto Dickens at lndickens@vlany.org before January 23, 2011.

Please note: Seating is limited, and thus unfortunately we cannot accommodate every registration. In order to be registered for this lecture series, registrants must attend all 5 classes. You will receive an e-mail confirming your registration on January 24, 2011. Please do not contact us regarding your pending registration.

This program generously sponsored by The AG Fund and The Matisse Foundation.


3 Men Convicted of Stealing Munch Painting

A Swedish court has convicted three men of stealing a valuable painting by Edvard Munch from a museum that didn’t realize it was missing. Via The Seattle Times.


Times Have Changed: On Censorship

I was just reading Marie Darrieussecq‘s Dispatch (sorry, no link) in the recent Art Review Journal–concerning the “censorship” of Larry Clark’s recent exhibition in Paris–and it reminded me of the recent skirmishes in the U.S. with restrictions on the exhibition and experiencing of artworks. There is of course the recent National Portrait Gallery fiasco over their removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video; Jeffrey Deitch’s change of mind and paint-over at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA); and Ingrid Homberg’s violent ousting from the Gagosian Gallery, NY.

Read the rest of this entry »


Court OKs Sale of Schindler’s List

A Manhattan judge has ruled that copyright law doesn’t apply, and granted an upstate memorabilia dealer approval to sell one of Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler’s lists of Jewish workers he saved from being sent to Nazi concentration camps.

Via The NY Post.


Warhol, Lichtenstein Stolen From NY Apartment

New York police are investigating the theft of major artworks, including a Warhol and Lichtenstein, from a posh Manhattan apartment. The art collection is estimated at $750,000.

Via CBC News.


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law, Clancco.com, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to Clancco.com. They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through Clancco.com is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to Clancco.com treated as confidential.

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