Sunday, April 30, 2017

McMullen Museum of Art Claims Fair Use of Pollock Images

Donn Zaretsky and Steven Levitt reported yesterday that The Pollock Krasner Foundation in New York, whose mission is to safeguard the legacy of Jackson Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, refused six months ago to allow the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College to reproduce authentic Pollocks alongside the newly discovered works.

But the exhibition’s catalog — released only last Saturday afternoon — reproduced a handful of authentic Pollocks against the foundation’s wishes. “We were shocked to find that the museum had published copyrighted images in their catalog,” Ronald Spencer, attorney for the foundation, said Thursday.

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“I think it’s still art and still belongs to Buchel” —MASS MoCA Curator

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Sagging Jeans and Prison Time

Today’s New York Times Fashion & Style section contains an interesting story concerning baggy and sagging jeans and how they can land the person wearing them, i.e. the trendsetter, in jail.

Citing indecency laws, the state of Louisiana has passed ordinances where “the style” carries a fine of as much as $500 or up to a six-month sentence. The NY Times adds that in the West Ward of Trenton, Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is drafting an ordinance to fine or enforce community service in response to what she sees as the problem of exposing private parts in public.

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UPDATE: Judge Denies MASS MoCA’s Request To Keep Artists From Making Art

On Friday, August 17, 2007, a Massachusetts Magistrate Judge denied MASS MoCA’s request to keep litigation documents confidential and from public view. Aside from very limited set of documents, the Magistrate Judge ruled that nothing is to be kept confidential. Büchel submitted his opposition to MASS MoCA’s request for an emergency motion for protective order on Thursday, arguing that MASS MoCA’s request would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by not allowing either party or the public to disclose and discuss tesimony given or documents produced during litigation.


MASS MoCA: Training Ground for Confidentiality

On Tuesday, August 14, 2007, MASS MoCA’s counsel, Skadden Arps, filed an Read the rest of this entry »


Understanding MASS MoCA’s Actions

Recent emails and comments on art blogs seem to indicate a general misunderstanding regarding the MASS MoCA v. Büchel lawsuit. A short clarification is in order.

The main misdiagnosis that must be addressed is the continued misunderstanding which looks at this debate in terms of who was at fault or the claim that the museum “owns what it buys.” These flawed arguments miss the point not by inches, but by miles. Artists, art critics, and art bloggers must understand that the social and professional discourses which dictate and mitigate artistic production and artworld interactions do not necessarily apply within the larger judicial and legal frameworks. In this case omnipresent legal protections for an artist–which are automatically available and triggered–trump affective and social interrelations.

In order to address the blind argument relying on “fault,” the first fact that must be understood is that there was no written agreement between the museum and Büchel, which clearly indicates the availability of a legal structure in which this fiasco could have been avoided. Simply put, what MASS MoCA and Mr. Thompson should have done to protect their monetary investment is what any first year law student learns during the first week of law school. That is, draft an agreement. This is especially true when one of the parties (in this case the museum) is in a higher position of power and in a position to know better. The fact that they didn’t do so, and knew, or should have known, will most likely favor Büchel. (Incidentally, other options available to MASS MoCA are those also known to any first year law student under contract law, such as the doctrines of implied in-fact or implied in-law contract, unjust enrichment, and unconscionability.)

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CLANCCO Obtains Email Correspondence Between MASS MoCA and Büchel

CLANCCO has just obtained the official court documents containing MASS MoCA’s affirmative defenses as well as email correspondence between the Museum’s director, Joseph Thompson, and the artist Christoph Büchel.

Due to the size of the digital files, CLANCCO is unable to post the 132-page PDF document here, but would be more than happy to provide them to any person and/or institution wishing to read them.

The affirmative defenses can be read beginning on page 14, and the 20 Exhibits containing the email correspondence, financial breakdowns, and other documents begin on page 21.

If you would like to receive this 132-page document via PDF form, please click here.

Note: The ongoing and pressing lawsuit by MASS MoCA against artist Christoph Buchel has made national news in Switzerland, getting coveraga on the television channel Schweizer Fernsehen’s Kultureplatz. In this coverage, in Swiss/German, the downfall of a once potentially lucrative joint-venture is covered, examining the negative implications this lawsuit would have on visual artists on a national and international scale.


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