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.