Thursday, December 8, 2016

Via Postcards, El Paso Distances Itself From Bloody Juarez

We love postcards. Who doesn’t?

A gallery in my hometown of El Paso, Texas is installing an art exhibition consisting of paintings and postcards to proclaim that El Paso is not bloody Juarez, Mexico. According to The Houston Chronicle, “The 49 works of art in El Paso Postcards, which opens with a reception at 6 p.m. today at the Hal Marcus Studio and Gallery, 800 N. Mesa, are designed to counter some of the negative publicity the area has received since a drug war in Juarez began claiming lives.”

Postcard images include familiar and famous El Paso images and hangouts, such as the Star on the Mountain, the Plaza Theatre marquee, poppies, missions, Chico’s Tacos and the University of Texas at El Paso. The postcards are for sale: 50 cents each or $19.95 for a pack of 49. I’ve already ordered mine!

What: “El Paso Postcards.”

When: Today through Feb. 11. Reception: 6-9 p.m. today (patrons are encouraged to “dress like a tourist”).

Where: Hal Marcus Studio and Gallery, 800 N. Mesa.

How much: Free.


Joseph Beuys Estate Flexes Copyright Muscle

The Joseph Beuys Estate has just won a legal battle keeping the Stiftung Museum Schloss Moyland from exhibiting photographs of a Joseph Beuys performance. Problems between the two parties began last year when the Moyland castle museum showed photographer Manfred Tischer’s photographs of Beuys’s 1964 performance Das Schweigen von Marcel Duchamp wird überbewertete (The Silence Of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated). Beuys’ widow, Eva Beuys, successfully contested the exhibition, suing under German copyright law in front of a German Court, on the grounds that the documentary images did not respect the original performance.

This recent–and very important–case of artist vs. museum concerning an artist’s property rights against the museum’s freedom of expression rights highlights once again the importance of having art museums and institutions communicate not only with artists, but with legal counsel as well, regarding the present and future intentions of both parties in regard to artistic and institutional intentions. But perhaps what is of major importance is the need to not only have artists articulate their own interests and fears in relation to their art, but also the legal and ethical parameters that must be adhered to by art institutions vis-a-vis an artist’s wishes and desires. What’s disturbing is the persistent belief (by some) that an artist’s intentions should be overridden for the sake of the “public good.” Not unlike a donor’s intent, an artist’s well-intentioned and circumscribed intent should be adhered to, regardless of aesthetic or cultural loss.

The other pertinent problem raised by this case is twofold: the issues raised–under U.S. Copyright Law–with the fixation requirement and, on an international scale, how the German Court’s decision will impact the exhibition of Beuys’ work outside of Germany.

Artforum has a bit on this case here, and The Art Newspaper has an interesting–albeit a bit convoluted–article on it here.


NYU Art Professor Tests Students’ Privacy

NYU photo professor Wafaa Bilal is testing the limits of his students’ privacy rights, but also of NYU’s patience.

Bilal is implanting a camera in the back of his head, to take still images on one-minute intervals, with the still images being fed to monitors located in a new museum in Qatar. The problem? Bilal teaches 2-3 courses at NYU’s Tisch School, making his future students a bit uneasy about their own lack of privacy in the company of Bilal.

More via the WSJ here.


Socialite Duped Into Buying Stolen Warhol

Socialite and former Andy Warhol protégée “Baby Jane” Holzer testified in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday that she was duped into paying $220,000 for a stolen Warhol sculpture, Heinz 57. Holzer testified against James Biear, who is charged with stealing the Warhol sculpture from an ailing millionaire.

Via The NY Post.


Police Impound “The Last Pedophile”

A New Mexico artist’s work, The Last Pedophile, a 1-inch, 1,100-pound sculpture piece, was impounded by Albuquerque police due to complaints of the sculpture’s title. “It’s a vertical chalk outline of somebody who’s been, a dead person on the ground,” the artist told KOAT in Albuquerque. Dozens of bullet holes cover the front of the sculpture. According to KOAT, the artist said he was not trying to incite action, he was trying to provoke thought, and he used the title to do it. The sculpture’s title was so controversial that its title was covered over at the previous exhibition site.

More here.


Christo, “Hate it or like it is irrelevant”

David Frey has the latest on Christo’s controversial project over Colorado’s Arkansas River.

At the MCA Denver, the sketches and photos of a secret life-size model erected near the Utah elicited audible wows. It’s far from a sure thing, though. Because almost all of the project would be on public land, Over the River is subject to an intense environmental review by the Bureau of Land Management. A draft environmental impact statement released in July resulted in more than 4,500 public comments, many voicing concerns over the project’s possible impact on wildlife and the environment, and on the region’s fishing guides, a mainstay of the economy.

Background on this Christo project here.


Law School at The Drawing Center

Law School for Visual Artists: Copyright, Agreements, and Employment Issues

Thursday December 16, 6:30-8 PM

I’ll be at the Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street, NY, 10013) to discuss legal issues relevant to contemporary artists. Using a hypothetical, I will cover the main legal issues concerning visual artists today: copyright and fair use, websites, trademarks, consignment agreements, and independent contractor/employee status. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session.

To register, please call 212.219.2166 x119 to make a reservation. More info here.

Hope to see you there.


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