Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Sculptural Destruction and Distortion in Massachusetts?

The Legal Satyricon reported yesterday of another possible sculptural fiasco in Springfield, MA. This one also involves the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which as many of you know gives a visual artist the right to prevent the ” distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation.”

The current issue revolves around public sculptures in the form of sneakers (you can see them in pictures here). One artist decided to paint a pole-dancer on the bottom of one shoe. However, according to Satyricon, “[O]nce the organizers of the event saw the sole of [the artist's] sneaker, they freaked — and they spray painted it black. They didn’t call him. They didn’t give him a chance to change it. They didn’t even give him a chance to photograph it. So there is no record of what it looked like. His art is gone.”

I agree with Satyricon in that we cannot make a correct assessment of this issue until we know whether or not the artist, Robert Markey, waived his state and federal moral rights via a written agreement. We’ll keep you posted if we here more. The entire Satyricon story can be read here.


Turrell Settles Lawsuit With Former Gallery

According to the NY Times, a long-running battle between the artist James Turrell and his former London gallery, Albion, has ended in a settlement. This legal fight that raised the possibility of an artist being legally compelled to produce art. What does Turrell have to say about this nightmare? “This was a painful chapter for me. I’m happy it is resolved. Needless to say, I want nothing to do with Michael or any Albion incarnation in the future.” Donn Zaretsky has his thoughts on who really won this battle.


Don’t Do Art History

Mary Beard, of the Times Online, explains her frustrations concerning the time and money necessary to obtain copyright permissions to images necessary to produce an academic book or article.

OK — people who write really popular books have picture researchers — battalions of (usually) ladies, who “source” the images and arrange the copyright fees to reproduce. It’s a full time job. Most of the rest of us do it ourselves (though in my case I am lucky enough to have an assistant to share the burden). However the work is organised, next time you pick up an illustrated book, you can reckon it will have taken 8-10 hours to find and get permission for every picture in it.

Her very interesting article, Don’t Do Art History, is not immature and whiny like so much “free culture” diatribe these days, so I do dare say, enjoy it!


Ann Liv Young vs. MoMA P.S.1


This current mess between artist and institution illustrates once again the weakness art faces when confronted by law.

P.S.1 is currently deciding whether or not they will allow one of their exhibiting artists to include an element of her project in her installation. This time, the element is neither material or text, but rather another artist.  Let’s call it a medium then (but not the telepathetic kind).

Artist A.L. Steiner (s0 many abbreviations) intends to invite Ann Liv Young, a P.S.1 persona-non-grata, to be part of Steiner’s installation. Obviously P.S.1 is having a bit of a problem with this given  Young’s previous P.S.1 charade which escalated to near-violent confrontations with other artists. Allegations of censorship have been hurled at P.S.1 curator Klaus Biesenbach, accusing him of castrating young artistic expression.

Aside from the fact that we have seen this before (read: Futurists), what makes this story interesting is not the art or performances themselves, nor the accusations of censorship. No, what makes this story interesting is that it raises the legal concerns an institution such as MoMA P.S.1 had, has, and will have, when confronted with possible legal action from parties related and unrelated to the exhibition.

Young has acknowledged seeking legal advice as to Steiner’s contractual agreement with MoMA P.S.1, which clearly reflects the concerns MoMA P.S.1 has in protecting itself, its employees, staff, agents, attorneys and, well, you get the picture. So perhaps at the end of the day the question is not, will P.S.1 censor or liberate? The true question is, will P.S.1 abide by its contract?

Once again, art as art has shown to bow before law, the mighty monster.

UPDATE: August 31, 2010

The paper of record reports that P.S.1 has agreed to allow Young to perform. Details here.


NYC’s Sues Christie’s for Drawings

New York City officials have sued Christie’s. The $1 million lawsuit concerns a fight over ownership of architect Jacob Wrey Mould’s drawings and designs found in NYC 50 years ago. According to The Guardian:

At some point in the 1950s a craftsman called Buckley was working on a site in lower Manhattan when he came across a stash of papers dumped in a skip. They were a set of architectural drawings in watercolours of plans for city parks including details of fountains, clocks, terraces and other structures. …Recognising their innate value, he took a pile of more than 100 of the drawings home and filed them away for safe keeping.

However, seems like this lawsuit may not go far.

[NYC] has persuaded the New York court to put a preliminary restraining order that prevents Buckley or Christie’s from selling any of the drawings. In return, the city has promised to back off from its legal threats and to attempt to reach a settlement.

The legal action was brought against the late craftsman’s son, Sam Buckley, and Christie’s, who tried to sell the drawings. More here.


First Art & Law Residency Exhibition and Symposium

A little self-promotion, but certainly worth it. VLA’s first Art & Law Residency Exhibition and the accompanying Symposium will take place this August. Don’t miss both events, as this year’s Fellows will exhibit art projects and present papers dealing with the intersection of art and law. All info is below, don’t forget to RSVP to the symposium, and of course, I hope to see you all there!

The Art & Law Residency Exhibition and Symposium


630 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10014

Opening Reception:
Saturday, August 14

Exhibition Dates:
August 16- August 27

Gallery Hours:
Monday-Friday 11 am-6 pm

Eric Doeringer
Alicia Grullón
Charles Gute
Nate Harrison
Bettina Johae
Miguel Luciano
Benjamin Tiven
Angie Waller

Admission is Free.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Maccarone and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Read the rest of this entry »


What to Make of Courtroom Art?

Great little article on courtroom artists.

For courtroom artists, the work is sporadic (a celebrity in trouble with the law helps), and it is most lucrative when a number of different news outlets call on a single artist. Bill Robles, a courtroom artist in Los Angeles who has covered the trials of Jackson, Patty Hearst, Rodney King and Timothy McVeigh, noted that he is paid between $500 and $650 per day (the more network affiliates use the story, the more he receives) per client. He covered the U.S. government’s lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law for eight different news outlets, which he called “a very good day’s work.”

Via the WSJ.


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