Sunday, September 22, 2019

Update: Büchel’s Answer and Counterclaims Against MASS MoCA

On July 2, 2007, Büchel’s attorney answered

MASS MoCA’s claim and counterclaimed with five claims against MASS MoCA. As I previously surmised, the two main legal doctrines under scrutiny are the Copyright Act and the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), particularly as they pertain to reputation, attibution, public display, and derivative works, which interestingly and smartly include the plans and model of the installation.

Keep in mind that the crux of the argument here is MASS MoCA’s exhibiting of Büchel’s work without his consent or participation, along with MASS MoCA’s suit against Büchel in a district court to have the court rule that MASS MoCA can show Büchel’s work without any kind of visual covers.

It makes one wonder what would possess MASS MoCA to carry out such actions. Was this simply Mass MoCA Director, Joseph Thompson’s way of acknowledging the Bush regime by placing himself and MASS MoCA above the law, or was it a simple, hasty, and uninformed act of bravado which willfully sidestepped any counsel from lawyers. It is hard to believe that a million-dollar institution would not have access to legal counsel or the staff necessary to foresee these potential problems, or, better yet, the basic and fundamental premise that any financial and executory agreement of this magnitude be in writing. Why did Thompson not spend a few thousand dollars and hire a decent law firm to write an agreement between MASS MoCA and Büchel, which would, if drafted properly, have saved the museum, taxpayers, its staff and the artist countless hours and money?

Ken Johnson of the Boston Globe seems to agree: “One would hope that a museum thus engaged in artistic collaboration would understand and adapt to what kind of artist it is dealing with in any given project.”

Johnson concludes: “Obviously, Mass MoCA’s faith in the artist and his process was sorely tested. But does that warrant exacting revenge by turning his project into a show that misrepresents, dishonors, vilifies, and even ridicules him? A show that admits no responsibility for the project’s failure on the museum’s part and that affirms popular perceptions of our most innovative contemporary artists as frauds and charlatans? I don’t think so.”

Given a reasonable Federal Court and a strict interpretation of U.S. Copyright law, the verdict is quite clear: If you fail to prepare, prepare to pay. — Sergio Munoz Sarmiento

Read the rest of this entry »


Interview with Ruben Verdu: Updated February 20, 2008


I never met Ruben Verdu. This is not quite true. I met him in 1997 in a large warehouse-turned-loft in the then still desolate Willamsburg, Brooklyn. But I didn’t really meet him, because although he appeared for a minute to grab a bite, he was gone before I had time to converse with him. I saw him again atop a Brooklyn roof bar-b-q about a week later, and we spoke for a few minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »


New York City To Require Permits For Picturetaking In Public

The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting of New York City is hoping to force some tourists, amateur photographers, and filmmakers to obtain a city permit and $1 million liability insurance for any two persons wanting to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour. This same requirement would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment.

The NY Civil Liberties Union is opposing this requirement for fear of selective and discriminatory enforcement by police. The NYCLU believes that this requirement would now apply to anyone wishing to take pictures in Times Square, Rockefeller Center and ground zero.


Paris Court Orders John Galliano to Pay for Copyright Infringement

A French judge has ordered John GAlliano to pay 150,000 euros ($270,000) to photographer Willaim Klein, to compensate for abuse of Klein’s rights as author. Of this amount, 50,000 euros were awarded for making unauthorized and poor quality reproductions of Klein’s images.

The court of first instance in Paris said Klein’s “painted contacts” were a hallmark of his work and Galliano’s use of imagery was clearly illegal in the absence of authorization from the photographer.

Galliano said it would appeal the ruling with the aim of reducing the fine as it rejected the allegation its campaign could be considered “counterfeiting.”

Klein said he was particularly offended because Dior has led a relentless campaign against illegal reproductions of its own creations. Galliano was appointed designer at Givenchy in 1995 before switching to Christian Dior the following year.


Google Can Show Nude Photos of World’s Most Beautiful Women

Perfect 10 magazine, which offers a subscriber-only service that claims to have photos of “the world’s most natural beautiful women,” sued Google in 2004 for providing thumbnail versions of images from the magazine. A district court had found at a preliminary hearing that Google’s images probably constituted direct infringement. But on Wednesday, the federal appellate court disagreed.

Read the rest of this entry »


Structures For A Wall & Floor: Blinky’s Cave, Baldo’s Chapel, Ellsworth’s Profile

Having commissioned Clancco to install an exhibition in its space, Shotgun Space, Los Angeles (now defunct) reconfigured its space and expanded it to five times its original size in order to present previous structures installed by Clancco across the United States. These re-installations–originally installed on public and private property without consent–allowed viewers to experience for the first time in Los Angeles one of the multiple facets of Clancco’s oeuvre and life.




In each of the eight steps of this exhibition, the tour revealed eight sculptures installed by CLANCCO between the years 2000 and 2007. Together with eight drawings, they formed structural remains which denied the thrust of historical force, depriving events of both their form and meaning in such a context.

This exhibition was accompanied by a handout brochure (PDF version available here) expanding on this project as well as highlighting key moments in Clancco’s history.


Structures (2000- ?)

In this ongoing project, Structures, CLANCCO seeks to explore the current restrictions on the exhibition and experiencing of contemporary sculpture. This investigation takes place in private and public property through the use of property laws governing fixtures, trespass, and the acquisition of private property (adverse possession).

Through these artistic structures, CLANCCO also seeks to challenge the historical discourse of property ownership through the more recent and nascent intellectual property law discourses.

Read the rest of this entry »


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