Following a year-long investigation, police experts deemed thirteen of artist Lee Ufan’s works forgeries, yet Ufan disagrees with this assessment. Despite confession from art dealer Hyeon, Ufan maintains, after analyzing the works himself, the pieces are authentic stating “I concluded that there is not anything strange with a single piece… the use of breath, rhythm and color were all my techniques… an artist can recognize his own piece at a glance.” The National Forensic Service and Seoul Metropolitan Police analyzed the works, deemed them counterfeit copies and indicted Hyeon. Hyeon took part in selling the works, one of which sold for close to a half million dollars.
It is not unusual for an artist to never touch their own works, to employ factories and apprentices for the physical labor of art-making, offering only conceptual instruction. The Ufan controversy begs the question: can an artist authenticate a work they had no part in any aspect of the creative process?
The owner of a painting attributed to Peter Doig is suing Doig for claiming he did not create the work. The owner claims he knew Doig over 40 years ago, forcing Doig to recount his whereabouts at that time. Doig says he does not recognize the work and that it is certainly not his, while a Sotheby’s specialist said it was “rare to see such a complete and highly resolved early painting by Doig.” Similar works by Doig have sold for more than $25 million, making the attribution of this particular work incredibly important to the market price.
While issues of attribution, fraud, and forgery are nothing new to the art world, the shocking fact about this situation is that a federal judge has arranged the trial for next month in the United States District Court for Northern Illinois. Essentially, this means Doig has to prove in court that the work is not his. A decision against Doig could have shocking consequences for artists.
July 6th, 2016 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in Art Law
Victor Jara was a major protagonist in the latest show, Future remnants of a missing word, at Meyohas Gallery. His voice singing, “Yo no canto por cantar,” (I don’t sing to sing) echoed in various sound and video pieces. On Monday, a former Chilean military officer was found liable for his torture and murder. This comes 43 years after Jara’s death.
Here’s a video piece by Constanza Alarcón Tennen that was part of the exhibition, and here are Constanza’s thoughts on the indictment:
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Community members in Peekskill, New York, guided by artist Aviva Rahmani, wandered through their forestland coating trees with blue paint. Their tactic is to cover the woods, where construction is in process on a fracked-gas pipeline, with artworks and then rally to preserve said art. Necessarily, they suppose, saving the works would in turn stop the construction.
The community plans to save the artwork using the Visual Artist’s Rights Act. The Visual Artists Rights Act, although extremely limited, offers moral rights to artists. One of such is the right of an artist to prevent the distortion of their work. Although a clever tactic, it is certainly a Hail Mary pass. in United States law, property owners are generally favored before artists when contemplating whose rights are more protected.
Without question, social media has transformed how many artists interact with the public, how they brand themselves, and the very nature of how they disperse their work. But where social media opens avenues for reaching new, arguably larger audiences, in turn it forces stricter boundaries on them.
Not only are works confined to the rectangle of a phone screen, they are more abstractly restrained to “Community Guidelines” or “Terms of Service” within the social media platforms. Instagram’s “Community Guidelines” for example bans nudity, and states “always follow the law.” When social media platform subscriptions overpower museum visitation and become the main source for artists to show their work, this censorship is of a dangerous sort. It is not solely censoring artists within the social media platform, but necessarily, it is censoring artists work entirely. Further, social media platforms censor posts by museums, often the censored posts are ancient sculptures or famous and historical works.
Social media platforms will often eliminate artist’s accounts entirely, as punishment for their continued dismissal of the “community guidelines.” This leads to artists, to prevent being locked out of their account, self-censoring their work. Social media does not affect all artists negatively. Artists like Richard Prince have capitalized on exploiting the platforms, creating entire bodies of work in reaction to Instagram on Instagram (and in print). As exemplified by Prince and many other artists, social media has given artists an opportunity to brand themselves and gain attention interacting with other social media users on such a public platform. Arguably, Instagram and the like have opened a new performance space for contemporary artists, assuming they fit their work into the “Community Guidelines,” that is.
Metal Bulletin, an English corporation, sued Scepter, Inc., a company subscribing to its services that, contrary to subscription terms and conditions, purchased an individual Metal Bulletin subscription for use by their employees. Metal Bulletin brought two claims against Scepter including copyright infringement under United States law. Scepter successfully moved to dismiss the claim for copyright infringement on the ground that the subscription’s choice-of-law term requires application of English law.
The choice-of-law terms within the subscription provides:
“Where you visit, register and/or subscribe to a [Metal Bulletin] Site . . . these Terms (and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these terms, including non-contractual disputes or claims), to the maximum extent permissible under the law of the territory that you are located in, will be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.”
The S.D.N.Y. Court reasoned Metal Bulletin’s copyright claims fell within the subscription choice-of-law terms because the copyright infringement in question occurred as a result of excess use of the license, specifically, “any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these terms, including non-contractual disputes or claims.”
Jean Claude and Christo’s latest massive public art installation, The Floating Piers, transforms lake Iseo in Italy with 100,000 square meters of yellow fabric over 220,000 polyethylene cubes that ripple with the water underneath, and create a three-kilometer bridge for tourists to walk across.
As noted by Christo, the bridge is, like all of their projects, “absolutely free and accessible 24 hours a day, weather permitting, there are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone.” Only one week after the June 18th opening, the Italian consumer group Codacons, announced it will be filing a complaint in regards to unreasonable waste of public money. The complaint sparked from uncontrollable crowds resulting in local authorities blocking visitors from crossing, leaving 3,000 people stranded at the Brescia train station. Codacons claims costs of evacuating tourists, and the post-mayhem clean up make the installation too costly to the taxpayers.