Friday, March 27, 2015

The Armory Show Clarifies Alleged Dispute

I asked Giovani Garcia-Fenech, the communications director for The Armory Show, if they would you like to make a more formal comment regarding the alleged “threats” of legal action, if The Armory would take any legal action against any galleries that drop out, and if relationships with those galleries were severed or still on friendly terms.

Mr. Garcia-Fenech was kind enough to provide the following statement.

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Junk Gets No First Amendment or VARA Protection


The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi) has rejected an artist’s claim that a painted junked-car filled with plants is protected by the First Amendment and the Visual Artists Rights Act. Fifith Circuit Chief Judge Jones stated that the city of San Marcos, TX, has the authority and justification for enacting an ordinance to eliminate eyesores, including wrecked and inoperable cars. The regulation itself, stated Jones, is content-neutral and narrowly tailored to protect public health and safety. The artists’ claims fail, Jones added, because the planter is an advertisement that’s not protected by VARA.

Why is the sculpture advertisement and not sculpture? Read the facts at Courthouse News.


NY Armory Threatens Galleries With Legal Action

According to The Art Newspaper, a group of galleries have opted out of the New York’s 12th Annual Armory Show. According to two dealers who declined to be identified, The Armory subsequently threatened  them with legal action if they actually dropped out. The galleries who have dropped out include Tanya Bonakdar, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Mar ianne Boesky, and Cheim & Read—all of whom are showing in the Park Avenue Armory at the concurrent blue-chip ADAA Art Show. Giovanni Garcia-Fenech, the fair spokesman, said they try to operate with a degree of flexibility, but dealers who have contractually agreed to participate are held to those contracts.


Do Artists Always Retain Their Copyrights?

No, they do not.

I posted earlier this week on the Mackie v. Hipple copyright lawsuit going on in Seattle, arguing (among other things) that it would be interesting to find out whether or not there was a written agreement between the artist and commissioning party to assess whether or not the artist, in our case Mackie, had in fact transferred or shared the copyright to his sculpture. Donn Zaretsky disagreed, and today stated that “in [his] experience too the artist always retains the copyright.” [italics mine]

I disagree.

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Swiss Art Collection to Show Two Years After Heist

Zurich’s Kunsthaus museum will offer the first public glimpse on Friday of a Swiss art collection that has been under lock and key since thieves stole its most-prized painting in a $160 million heist two years ago. The collection of German-born arms maker Emil Buehrle hit the headlines in February 2008 when masked robbers made off with major works by Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh in Switzerland’s biggest-ever art theft. Via Reuters.


Artprice: Christie’s Raises Their IP Claim Against Artprice

According to Artprice, Christie’s has upped the ante in their ongoing intellectual property lawsuit by raising their damages claim from 2 million euros to  63 million euros.

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Mathematician Helps Uncover Art Fakes

Art lover and Dartmouth College mathematics department Chairman Daniel Rockmore has developed a technique that is helping to determine the difference between excellent copy and the real McCoy. One thing Rockmore is particularly interested in is art. And a few years ago, his professional skills and personal interest collided. Now if only he could use math to figure out the solution to our current deaccessioning problem! Entire story at NPR.


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