Wednesday, May 24, 2017

“Illegality is essential to [the] American system…”

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76.

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-76.

Colby Chamberlain on artist Luis Camnitzer’s offer to President Trump to build that wall, albeit a different type of wall.

Luis Camnitzer: “Dear President Donald Trump: Please use this golden opportunity to commission US artist Christo with the creation of a new version of his Running Fence to separate the US from Mexico. His first project in Sonoma was completed in 1976 with great success. Though only 24.5 miles long then, in full-length today it would transform a racist project into a public art event, and help improve the image of the US with an increasingly needed cultural veneer.”

And why not, or why wait for Trump’s approval, after all, for Christo, illegality was not only part of the project, it was a necessity: “I completely work within [the] American system by being illegal, like everyone else—if there is no illegal part, the project is less reflective of the system.”

Headline quote by Christo.


In an age where some artists are calling for the destruction of art, others are calling for its preservation.

Story on the vandalism of William Kentridge’s Rome mural.

Via Artforum.


Due Diligence in Pompidou’s Jeff Koons Exhibition

Naked, by Jeff Koons. French court found this sculpture to infringe copyright.

Naked, by Jeff Koons. French court found this sculpture to infringe copyright.

Apparently the Pompidou wanted the Koons exhibition so bad it agreed to all of Jeff Koons LLC’s contractual demands, including the obligation to exhibit a work that turned out to infringe a third-party’s copyright. In-house counsel?


In France, Who Pays Resale Royalty?

French court clarifies who pays the artist’s resale royalty (at least for now). Christie’s auction house will appeal.


In Cheerleading-Copyright Scuffle, US Supreme Court Cites Duchamp

Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, Justice Breyer's Dissent.

Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, Justice Breyer’s Dissent.

In a 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held last week that designs on cheerleading uniforms were protected by U.S. Copyright law.

You can read the opinion and Justice Breyer and Justice Kennedy’s dissent here. Art law nerds might find it interesting to scroll to the last page, where one will notice an image of Marcel Duchamp’s 1915 snow shovel as art object, better known as In Advance of the Broken Arm. Breyer cites Duchamp’s art work as an example of industrial design that, although could be thought of as an work-of-art, should not necessarily obtain copyright protection.

If only they had used Fountain instead of a snow shovel.


Should Organic Artworks Be Excluded From Copyright Protection?


Zahr Said has just posted her 2015 law review article on copyright’s fixation requirement and conceptual art on SSRN.

Via his abstract, Said argues,

This Essay argues that copyright illogically excludes conceptual art from protection on the basis of fixation, given that well-settled case law has interpreted the fixation requirement to reach works that contain certain kinds of change so long as they are sufficiently repetitive to be deemed permanent. While conceptual art may perhaps be better left outside the scope of copyright protection on the basis of its failure to meet copyright’s other requirements, this Essay concludes that fixation should not be the basis on which to exclude conceptual art from protection. There are of course both normative and descriptive questions around the copyright-ability of conceptual art; this Essay addresses itself primarily to the descriptive question of fixation, and whether works of art that contain change, by design, must be excluded.

Worth a read.


Should Writers Be Granted Moral Rights?


Here are eight reasons why they should. Not saying we necessarily agree.

Keep in mind that in the U.S., only visual artists currently get moral rights protection, and only for certain types of art works.


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