Monday, August 20, 2018

Are You Missing A Picasso, Morandi, or Giacometti?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for the public’s help finding the owners of hundreds of pieces of art, some of which were stolen, that were uncovered in a New York City apartment in 2006. In an effort to track down the owners, the FBI and the Public Administrator of New York County posted pictures of the most important pieces on their website. More than 300 works of art, including paintings, sketches, sculptures, and other pieces by such artists as Pablo Picasso, John Singleton Copley, Alberto Giacometti, Giorgio Morandi, and Eugene Boudin, were discovered after the death of the apartment’s occupant, William M.V. Kingsland.

According to the FBI, “Kingsland was well known in New York City’s art circles as an engaging and intelligent connoisseur of art, books, architecture, and genealogy. But when he died, he left no will…and no apparent heirs to claim the floor-to-ceiling stacks of paintings and art works crammed into his one-bedroom apartment.”

More from our friendly FBI agents here.


“Only Women Bleed”

From the CBC:

One of the judges of Australia’s top religious art competition has resigned in vehement objection to a work that has been included in the finalists’ short list. Australian art critic and historian Christopher Allen resigned from the panel of judges after Adam Cullen’s triptych Corpus Christi made the short list for the $20,000 Blake Prize for Religious Art. Corpus Christi depicts Jesus on the cross with the inscription, “Only women bleed,” a line from a song by rocker Alice Cooper.

No offense, but the statement at issue seems more pro-woman than anti. Simply put, in Nietzschean terms, this would make women “human, all too human.” Why not go with Cooper’s “The One That Got Away,” “Your Feminine Side,” or better yet, “Killed By Love”?


Damien Hirst Buys Fake Sex…Pistols!

According to The Independent, it seems that Damien Hirst is a bit pissed off that he has bought what seems to be fake Sex Pistols paraphernalia.

It all started when Hirst, also a collector of contemporary art, bought bagfuls of punk clothing from [Simon] Easton’s Punk Pistol website for around £80,000. Hirst believed the clothes, said to include the famous God Save the Queen T-shirt, were originals from the 1975-79 period when [Malcolm] McLaren, [ex-Sex Pistols manager] and his then partner, Vivienne Westwood, handmade them for sale in their King’s Road shop, Sex, which later became Seditionaries. McLaren is said to have taken one look at Hirst’s collection and condemned them as forgeries.

It gets better. McLaren has written an introduction to Easton’s book, called Sex and Seditionaries, of images based on Sex and Seditionaries clothing, which McLaren claims contains the items sold to Hirst, and which is already published as a limited edition in the UK and is for sale on Amazon for £300.

Now McLaren is attempting to stop a Rizzoli publishing firm from printing Easton’s book. In a letter to Rizzoli, McLaren threatened legal action: “If you go ahead, I insist first of all that you withdraw my name and my essay from the book. Mr Easton does not have the right to use this essay beyond the self-published limited edition. If I do not hear back from close of Tuesday next I shall have no alternative but to gain legal advice.”


Google: “There’s No Such Thing As Privacy”

After getting sued by a Pennsylvania couple for invasion of privacy, Google replied that in today’s day and age, there can be no expectation of privacy (even though the couple’s house is located on a private road “clearly marked as private property”). “Today’s satellite image technology means that even in today’s desert, complete privacy does not exist,” says Google.

Perhaps in light of this remarkably stupid remark, NewScientistTech reports that “Google has begun obscuring the faces of people in its Street View service, which lets users of Google Maps zoom in to view street level images. But the images look decidedly odd, with whole streets peopled by blurred faces.” Columbia University’s CAVE Project has developed “software [that] randomly selects 33,000 photos of faces from picture-sharing sites like, then picks the most suitable faces for each person in shot. Only the eyes, nose and mouth are used, resulting in a composite image of the two people. ‘It matches subject pose, lighting conditions and image resolution,’ says Neeraj Kumar [of the CAVE Project]. ‘The selected faces are aligned to common 3D coordinates, corrected for colour and lighting, and blended into the target image.’

Other uses: “Aside from Street View, the system could be used to obscure the faces of military personnel or eyewitnesses to crime.” Check out a couple of fucked-up examples here (including a better version of Denzel Washington).


The Taking of Caravaggio

El País reports today that Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ (or the Kiss of Judas if you prefer, circa late 16th Century), was stolen from the Ukraine’s Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art. According to this report, the thieves entered the museum after breaking a second-floor window, and then helping themselves to this gem. The museum is currently closed while police use K-9′s to sniff out clues. More here (in español of course).


Barbie Beats Up On The Bratz! (UPDATED)

If there was ever a need for a clear work-for-hire agreement, it was here. Barbie has just won a major lawsuit against the Bratz. We covered this story not too long ago, but here’s the result, from the WSJ and the BBC.

WSJ: Mattel Inc. and its iconic Barbie doll won a fierce legal battle Thursday when a federal jury in Riverside, Calif., found that rival MGA Entertainment Inc.’s popular Bratz dolls, which have undercut Barbie sales in recent years, were conceived while their designer was employed by Mattel.

BBC: It means that Mattel could be awarded millions of dollars when the jury comes to consider damages. MGA Entertainment could even be stopped from selling the popular large-headed, multi-ethnic, urban fashion dolls. Mattel had claimed that the name and design of Bratz dolls were based on drawings done by Carter Bryant while he was under a contract that entitled the world’s biggest toymaker to his designs.

We’re kicking ourselves for not having bought Mattel stock!

UPDATE: July 28, 2008:

Thanks to some racially insensitive comments, a juror from this case was removed last week. The Bratz have now asked for a mistrial claiming these insensitive comments sparked and spearheaded the decision against the Bratz. Specifically, the juror made slurs about the ethnicity of Isaac Larian, the Jewish, Iranian-born CEO of MGA, maker of Bratz.

From today’s WSJ:

A few more details emerged over the weekend: According to the LA Times, a court order said the juror remarks characterized Iranians as “stubborn, rude” and as “thieves” who have “stolen other person’s ideas.” The remarks were made during deliberations in the first phase of the trial that found Larian had aided a Mattel Barbie designer, Carter Bryant, who created the Bratz concept in violation of his Mattel contract.

MGA (the loser and “owner” of the Bratz) asked that the court declare a mistrial, wiping out Mattel’s victory. The motion will be heard when court reconvenes Aug. 4. More here.


San Francisco to Criminalize the Harming of Animals

A committee in San Francisco’s city government has introduced a bill that would allow misdemeanour or felony criminal charges to be brought against any artist or financial backer who causes “the death, abuse or suffering of an animal” when making a work of art. [...] The bill, which is still in the process of being drafted, must go before the city legislature before it can become law.

We propose making an artwork where dogs harm an artist and present it as animal art. We could start with a pack of pitbulls taking turns on that bozo from Latin America who allegedly chained a dog and starved it to death. Now there’s cutting edge work!

This story brought to our attention by Heather Loring (who we should probably hire) via The Art Newspaper.


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law,, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.

Switch to our mobile site