Wednesday 28 December 2011

Albrecht Dürer, entrepreneur -- and litigant

Dürer liked to stamp his identity
on his works -- but his identifier
ended up on a stamp ...
The Christmas edition of The Economist (17 December) carries a fascinating feature, "Portrait of the artist as an entrepreneur", which you can read in full on The Economist website here. This article chronicles the manner in which Albrecht Dürer commercialised his art works and explains the cost-effectiveness of generating printed engravings and woodcuts in preference to painting in oils: the effort was comparable, but the profitability of selling copies made the non-painting options far more attractive and the publicity and exposure helped expand his reputation far more than one-off paintings which were often viewed only by the commissioning party and his immediate associates.

How did Dürer deal with counterfeits and infringers, in an era in which copyright had yet to be invented? The article explains:
"Dürer twice went to court to defend his sole use of his trade mark, in Nuremberg and in Venice, and twice won the case. The guilty parties were made to remove his monogram from their prints. Merely copying “AD”, however, was not adjudged a crime. The crime was to sell the fake print as an original. From then on, therefore, false monogrammed prints “after Dürer” kept appearing, confusing collectors to this day.

A trade mark was not the only identifier Dürer put on his pictures. He left lines of commentary on the sketches, and gave the finished engravings elaborate marble tablets explaining his subject and his purpose. He wanted to tell the world that he, Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg, had done this: that it was made, gemacht, with his genius and effort ...".
Curiously, while Dürer was particular to make sure that his initials appeared on his work so that it could be easily identified, the author of this article is apparently anonymous.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Discovering the lost Leonardo?

Peter Paul Rubens' copy of the "Battle of Anghiari""The Battle of Anghiari"s project of National Geographic (1603)
Louvre, Paris
The hunt for discovering a lost Leonardo Da Vinci is reaching its climax in Florence, while facing an hard protest by more than 150 prominent art historians, who criticize the destructive but speculative work possibly leading to a masterpiece's discovery.

The search for Leonardo's "Battle of Anghiari" conducted in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, in the famous Hall of 500, is a project led and sponsored by National Geographic and the University of California.

"The battle of Anghiari" was painted by Leonardo in 1505 to commemorate the 1440 battle on the plain of Anghiari between Milan and the Italian League led by the Republic of Florence, which emerged as the most important power in central Italy. In 1503, the Gonfaloniere Piero Soderini commissioned  Leonardo to decorate the wall in the Hall of 500 in Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of government in Florence. 

Da Vinci used this commission to experiment a new mural oil techinique which failed miserably, dripping before dried and leading him to abandon his work. Nonetheless, this masterpiece was later called " the school of the world" and was widely copied e.g. by Rubens, whose painting of one scene hangs in the Louvre in Paris.

After the 1555 the Hall was renovated and enlarged, Giorgio Vasari painted six new murals over the east and the west walls and Da Vinci half-finished painting was assumed to have been destroyed in the process. 

According to the director of this scientific research, Maurizio Seracini, the 16th century Giorgio Vasari's famous fresco "The battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana" painted in 1563 would hide the lost Leonardo's masterpiece. Probably Vasari, who was loath to destroy Leonardo's work, preferred to brick it up behind a new wall adding his fresco on this, rather than destroying it.

This thesis was strengthened when Seracini discovered that Vasari painted a soldier holding a flag on which is written "Cerca Trova", i.e. "Seek and Ye shall find", which can be a clue for the future generations. 

Seracini, one of the world's leading expert in the field of the art diagnostics, used non-invasive technique, such as high-frequency, surface-penatrating radar and  thermographic cameras, which confirmed there is an air gap behind the Vasari's fresco. The researcher inserted tiny cameras through seven drilled holes in the visible wall and found a 2cm cavity. On the back wall beyond the cavity,  traces of an organic pigment were found.  

Work started on November 27, 2011 and full results are expected at the beginning of the 2012. The city's mayor Matteo Renzi claimed " We are finally there - after five centuries we are finally able to solve one of the biggest mystery in the art history".

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Responses published: Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation

Last week, the government published the responses to its consultation on 'Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation' (written about in Art and Artifice here). The consultation, published in June 2011, outlined a new scheme aimed at encouraging lifetime gifts of cultural objects to the nation by rewarding the donors with tax breaks based on a percentage of the donated work's value.

Over 50 museums, archives, law firms and other bodies responded to the consultation. Their main concerns centred on a few key issues, including whether donors would be able to specify where their donated objects were displayed, the amount of the scheme's budget, and the amount of tax relief given to donors.

Under the scheme as originally proposed, donors could express a preference as to where their gift went, but their wishes would not be binding - the gift might end up elsewhere. Respondents pointed out that this could undermine links between potential donors and museums or galleries, since donors often want to give items to specific institutions with which they have built up a relationship. Despite these concerns the government has retained this aspect of the scheme and donors will only be able to suggest who should receive their cultural objects. However if in practice donors' wishes tend to be followed, this may not cause as many difficulties as is feared.

Many respondents also felt that the suggested tax relief of 25% of the donated item's value was too low and would inhibit take up of the scheme. Some pointed out that the rate compared unfavourably with similar schemes in other countries, and also that donors might find it more tax advantageous to sell art works and donate the proceeds using the Gift Aid scheme. In response, relief is now set to be increased to 30% for individual donors (and 20% for company donors).

Respondents were also concerned that the new scheme was to share the £20m budget of the existing Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme. No new funds were to be allocated. Just a few high-value gifts might therefore wipe out the whole budget. It is now intended that, although the two schemes are still to share budgets, their joint allocation will increase to £30m.

And one other welcome change has sneaked in - the scheme's unwieldy title appears to have been mercifully shortened to the 'Cultural Gifts Scheme' or CGS.

Read the full consultation response summary from HM Treasury here, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's guidance to the new scheme here.

Friday 9 December 2011

Illustration NOW!

Illustration is a vast and often unappreciated discipline but its undisputed king, in the UK at least, must be Quentin Blake. Roald Dahl created the BFG, the Twits and Matilda and Quentin Blake brought them to life.

It was thus a pleasure to spend Wednesday night in the company of Mr Blake who was speaking at yet another fantastic event organised by Collyer Bristow’s gallery. Quentin (we have been in the same room and are therefore definitely on first name terms) was raising both awareness and, more importantly, money to help fund the House of Illustration, which will become the first dedicated illustration centre when it is finally built in the King’s Cross development zone, London. The artistic and legal communities combined last night to help realise this aim with a selection of prints on sale all in response to the question “what are you like?”.

You can help support this great cause and purchase a limited edition print here.

If you’re worried you missed out last night, fear not. The art and legal communities are combining again in the New Year for an Illustration Cupboard organised exhibition of Tony Healey’s illustrations to the John Mortimer classic series – Rumpole of the Bailey.  The exhibition runs from 20 February to 3 March 2012 at the Illustration Cupboard, in London. The full details are not yet available online but this blog will be updated as soon as they become available.

Rumpole considers how best to present his case in this Tony Healey classic illustration

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Artist's Resale Right Update

After all the debating (examples here and here), consulting (here) and petitioning (reported here), it looks like the extension of the Artist's Resale Right to the works of deceased artists will take effect from 1 January 2012.

The Artist’s Resale Right (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2873) were laid before the UK Parliament on 2 December 2011. These amend the Artist’s Resale Right Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/346) and bring the UK in line with the European legislation (Directive 2001/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the resale right for the benefit of the author of an original work of art).

New Regulation 10 will read as follows:

"Resale right may only be exercised in respect of the sale of a work where its
author is—

(a)living at the date of the sale and is at that date a national of—
(i)an EEA state; or
(ii)a state the legislation of which permits resale right protection for authors from EEA states and their successors in title; or
(b)deceased at the date of the sale and, at the date of the author’s death, the author was a national of a state falling within paragraph (a)i) or (ii).”

There is a Final Impact Assessment which accompanies the new Regulations, which apparently provides a full evaluation of the effect that the amended regulation will have on UK businesses and users. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to access these via the website. There will be another update once these are available.


Ah ha - some helpful guidance from the UKIPO!

So, I have been told that the new 2011 Regulations do not extend Resale Right to deceased artists. In fact, the existing UK Regulations (2006) will automatically extend the Right to deceased artists from the beginning of next year.

The Regulations laid on 2 December address the issue of the nationality of those people entitled to resale royalties. The IPO advises that the original UK implementation did not match the original Directive, so some corrections were needed.

I hope to have a closer look at the law this weekend. Another update once I have had a chance to digest it.

With thanks to the IPO.

The new Regulations are
The impact assessment should be accessible here.
The Directive is here.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Illegal illegal art

An interesting report concerning a German documentary about graffiti artists in Berlin has surfaced this week.

The producers of the documentary, entitled Unlike U – Trainwriting in Berlin about [you probably guessed it] graffiti on the Berlin subways, have made a full version of their film available online following a legal claim by the Berlin transport company, BVG, seeking to prevent the film from being distributed.

The basis for BVG's claim is reportedly that the filmmakers and their distributor did not obtain filming permits for to shoot footage at train stations and on other premises owned by BVG. In response, the filmmakers have said that they did not actually shoot any of the clips - said to demonstrate the dangerous lengths to which the graffiti artists go to paint Berlin 's trains, including sneaking through underground tunnels and climbing over high-voltage electric third rails to get onto the platforms [see picture]. Instead, they say, all of the footage was submitted to them by the trainwriting crews responsible for the graffiti shown in the film.

Rather than wait for the verdict of the German court, however, the producers decided to make the whole film available since they "spent a lot of time and put in a lot of lifeblood on working on that movie [and so] would like to give everybody the opportunity to see the outcome."

This situation therefore raises a number of interesting issues:
- is the art illegal?
- is it illegal to film someone carrying out an illegal activity?
- is it illegal to distribute a film made without filming permits?

Clearly, in this case the answers depend on the German law. If anyone has any more information in relation to the claim, or general opinions on the legal issues I would be very interested to receive it.

For more information on the film see
To help the filmmakers defend their claim go
To watch the movie go

Source: GigaOm, 5 December 2011

Monday 5 December 2011

Show me the money ...

Radiator Building - Night, New York
Fisk University, Tennessee has in recent years found itself in a position that will be familiar to many art-owning institutions. It's strapped for cash and wants to use its art collection to make money - but the law has been putting spanners in the works.

The story began in 1949, when painter Georgia O'Keeffe gave Fisk a 101-piece collection of artworks, most belonging to her late husband Alfred Stieglitz and including her own iconic 1927 painting, Radiator Building - Night, New York. She stipulated that the collection was not to be sold, and should remain intact.

Fifty years later the Nashville-based university was facing something of a financial crisis. In response, its president Hazel O'Leary hatched a plan to sell both Radiator Building and a second work, Painting No. 3 by Marsden Hartley (two of the most valuable paintings in the collection) to bolster the university's funds. But the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, which represents the artist's estate, sued to prevent the sale since it was in breach of the terms of the gift.

Then in autumn 2007 Fisk began negotiations with Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas. The deal they drew up would see Crystal Bridges take a 50% stake in the collection, and Fisk receive US$30m in return.

But this idea was initially blocked in the courts too. It was even argued that Fisk should forfeit the whole collection to the O'Keeffe Museum for having violated the terms of the gift by removing some items from display and attempted to sell others. It was held in early 2008 that although the terms had indeed been violated, Fisk would nonetheless be able to retain the collection. 

Later the Crystal Bridges deal was accepted by the court, but with the proviso that US$20m of the sale proceeds must be retained as an endowment for the upkeep of the collection. Finally, last week a Tennessee appeals court ruled that no such endowment was necessary (although it may still attach other conditions to the deal).

Deaccessioning artworks in order to pay the bills has been equally controversial in the UK in recent years. In 1993 for example Royal Holloway sold a Turner in its collection for £11m and received a barrage of abuse. In 2007 Bury Council raised £1.4m by selling off a Lowry to a private collector, and lost its status as an accredited museum with the Museums Association.

However impoverished an institution, selling its artworks is rarely deemed an acceptable solution by the art world and the press, even if it is legally possible to do so. But for Fisk, the Crystal Bridges deal would be a lifeline, according to president O'Leary. The university runs at an annual deficit of US$2m and has already mortgaged all its buildings. And the upkeep of O'Keeffe's collection costs US$131,000 a year. When asked if Fisk was viable without extra financing, O'Leary replied, 'No, not at all.'

An art collection should not exist to be dipped into whenever funds run low. Such an attitude can be a disincentive to donors both of funds and of art, encourage a lack of initiative in fundraising, and undermine collections' existence as cultural and scholarly resources. But is it always the wrong thing to do? Fisk seems a good example to the contrary. The highly regarded institution, through no lack of effort, has not been able to fund itself effectively. O'Keeffe's magnificent gift has become a liability and Fisk has been unable to show it or look after it effectively. It does not intend to send the collection into private hands, nor to anyone who cannot take adequate care of it (Crystal Bridges is certainly not short of money with Wal-Mart behind it). In such circumstance, it is surely the the right choice to sell part ownership, rather than that Fisk should retain a collection it can't look after and cripple itself in doing so.

Read more at The Tennessean, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post.

Friday 2 December 2011

UNESCO announces 19 additions to its list of intangible cultural heritage

In UNESCO's stable of conventions for the protection of world heritage lives the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003 - the heritage equivalent of performance art.

Over the past week, an annual committee meeting has been discussing new additions to the group of traditions which UNESCO lists as intangible cultural heritage. As the committee envoys were making their way home from sunny Bali, UNESCO announced that the list now includes 19 more 'practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance'.
Intangible, but festive: Croatian gingerbread

The list includes a wide array of traditions including Cypriot poetic duelling, Peruvian Eshuva sung prayer, and Iranian Naqqa-Li, a form of dramatic storytelling. Weaving, dance, boatbuilding, and foods are all in there. Some more unexpected traditions have made their way to the list too - a nine-hundred-year old hopping procession in Luxembourg, oil wrestling, gingerbread making, the tango and even the 'Mediterranean diet' (which actually appears to be doing quite well on its own). There is also a second list, which notes those traditions which are in urgent need of safeguarding.

Safeguarding such practices by means of international legislation seems a strange and difficult task - how do you ensure continuity in the supply of traditional gingerbread? But the Convention defines 'safeguarding' as 'ensuring the viability of intangible cultural heritage'. It asks that states make inventories of traditions within their territory, 'ensure recognition of and respect for the intangible cultural heritage in society, in particular through developing educational, awareness-raising and information programmes', and supporting non-formal means of transmitting knowledge which enables the practices to continue.

The Convention also acknowledges that traditions which have lost relevance to their communities should not necessarily be kept alive on legal life support. Intangible cultural heritage, like 'any living body ... follows a life cycle and therefore some elements are to disappear, after having given birth to new forms of expressions', says UNESCO's website. It goes on to say that the 'value of intangible cultural heritage is defined by the communities themselves – they are the ones who recognise these manifestations as part of their heritage and who find it valuable'.

This is an interesting point. If a tradition is in need of safeguarding, and particularly urgent safeguarding, does this not often mean that it is already losing relevance to its community? To take a homegrown example (not on UNESCO's list), the art of dry-stone walling in Yorkshire is no longer one which young locals want to pursue. The region has fewer farms, fewer livestock, and needs fewer dry-stone walls. Sad as it is to see such arts falling out of use, their place in community life may have gone. But on the other hand it could be argued that if such traditions are worth safeguarding at all, they should be preserved regardless of whether or not they are relevant to the communities they came from. Physical culture after all is preserved whether it is relevant to current generations or not (or rather, as the manifestation of our past, it is deemed always relevant to our future); a ruined tomb in a Turkish village from a long-gone civilisation is no longer connected with that village, but that doesn't mean it's not worth looking after.

Thursday 1 December 2011

What we talk about when we talk about appropriation

Back in March Art & Artifice posted this piece on Cariou v Prince, in which a photographer, who had published a selection of his works in a book called Yes, Rasta, objected to what an appropriation artist considered to be fair transformative use of those photographs. This case and the legal issues it brought to light are the subject of a discussion, "What we talk about when we talk about appropriation: Contemporary Art After Cariou v. Prince". This is billed as "a frank discussion of fair use and artistic practice". Taking place in the Great Hall of the New York City Bar Association (that's on West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues)  on Tuesday 13 December, 2:00 - 4:00 pm, the programme examines this question:
Art and legal experts use similar terminology when talking about how artists use existing images, but are they speaking the same language?
The Panelists are Dan Cameron (Curator), Anthony Falzone (Stanford Fair Use Project), Claudia Ray (Kirkland & Ellis LLP), Walter Robinson (Artnet), Virginia Rutledge (PIPE Arts Group) and Hank Willis Thomas (Artist), with Amy J. Goldrich exercising a moderating influence.

Entrance is free and there is are registration formalities. If anyone attending the discussion would like to send Art & Artifice a little summary, we'd be delighted to see it!

More background on Cariou v Prince here and here

Monday 28 November 2011

Scam Alert!

The Guardian reports that art dealers have become the victims of the latest online scam. The article explains:

"Thousands of art and antiques dealers, fair organisers and auction houses have been targeted in a global extortion scam that involves victims being subjected to months – and even years – of threatening demands for money.

Unsuspecting British and foreign traders have been conned by what appear to be bona fide forms – either sent by email or posted – merely purporting to check whether their business details in a "free" international trade listing guide are correct. Only after sending off the form do victims discover that the small print commits them to paying thousands of pounds for placing an "advertising order" in the guide.
Those who are caught out are pursued relentlessly, enduring intimidating threats by letters or phone calls to pay up or face prosecution and debt collectors…

The fraudsters trade under different company names in different countries and, if the authorities catch up with them, they pop up again somewhere else. Many victims do not realise there is no legal basis for paying or are reluctant to incur legal advice, and are embarrassed into silence. Most recently, the art trade has been targeted by companies apparently based in Spain and Mexico."

Those who have been caught out included Ivan Macquisten, editor of industry newspaper the Antiques Trade Gazette, who said: "It has affected, personally, thousands of lives. It is a huge problem, but one that lots of people have never heard of…. They are banking on enough people being scared into paying."

Another victim, Ian Butchoff, an antique furniture dealer said he received one of the official-looking forms, followed by a letter "confirming" his annual €700(£600) payment, which he ignored. He then continued to receive menacing solicitors' letters from Switzerland. Butchoff's wife, who has a framing business, was also targeted, and ended up paying the sum demanded because, says Butchoff, they were threatening her.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has come across this problem – either an art dealer who has received demands, or a legal adviser who has been asked for advice in respect of such a demand – and how they dealt with it.

Clearly we need to get the word out to watch out for this scam. Perhaps the best advice to avoid the situation is the old adage "Always read the fine print!"

Source: The Guardian, 27 November 2011

Tuesday 22 November 2011

What's the opposite of stolen art?

Free to a good home? The Burghers of Calais
The Art Newspaper reports that Rodin's monumental Burghers of Calais, standing near the Houses of Parliament, does not have a legal owner - or at least not one who'll admit to it.

While most people would probably be quite keen to own a sculpture valued in the millions, the candidates for owning for this one are denying everything.

The statues tell a story from the Hundred Years War, when Edward III besieged Calais. Edward declared that if six citizens of Calais would come out to give him their keys and their lives, he would spare the rest of the city. Rodin's six Burghers are represented on their way to meet the king, expecting to be beheaded.

Bought in 1911 by the National Art Collections Fund and donated to the nation, the statues now stand in Victoria Tower Gardens. The gardens are run by Royal Parks, and they are responsible for looking after the Rodin, but they say it's not actually theirs - even though when the Burghers were lent to exhibitions in years past, Royal Parks were credited as the lender. The Parliamentary Art Committee likewise disclaims ownership. The Art Fund notes the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as owner, but the DCMS thinks otherwise.

The story was the same with another sculpture nearby - Henry Moore's Knife Edge Two Piece. It was also donated to the nation, this time by the artist himself in 1967. The Telegraph reports that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the DCMS, English Heritage, the Government Art Collection, Westminster Council and the Greater London Authority have all confirmed it isn't theirs.

The Henry Moore Foundation recently announced that Knife Edge, in urgent need of restoration, was to be adopted by the House of Commons. Conservation is due to begin in early 2012.

As for the Burghers, anyone with house space for six life size Rodins may want to put their hand up now.

Read more in the Art Newspaper here and here.
Read more in the Telegraph.

Monday 21 November 2011

Street Artists Fight Back

A Los Angeles based arts organistion, L.A. Art Machine, and three California artists, Mear One, Chor Boogie, and Shark Toof, are reported to have brought a claim in the US federal court against Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live, owned by AEG, for destroying $100,000 of their artwork.

In a press release from Zohar Law Firm, P.C., representing the claimants, it is said that the artwork had been loaned to AEG and the Ritz-Carlton Residences for a high-end promotional event held by AEG at the luxury condos located at L.A. Live in conjunction with the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show, but instead of being returned to the artists, the work was dismantled and discarded.

The release continues:

"Part of the event was curated by Bryson Strauss, an internationally-recognized gallery and museum curator and director of the L.A. Art Machine, a community-based arts organization. Mr. Strauss was to supply fine artwork for the real estate marketing event on January 19, 2011, designed to attract potential buyers to the Ritz-Carlton Residences’ multi-million dollar penthouse suite, which remained unsold at the time. Mr. Strauss brought in several famed artists who provided their works for display at the event, including Shepard Fairey, creator of the Barack Obama "Hope" poster, and three critically-acclaimed street artists: Mear One, Chor Boogie and Shark Toof. Other featured artworks at the event were by legendary photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, David LaChapelle, and Garret Suhrie. Following the successful party and the sale of Mr. Fairey's works (which were then removed), AEG asked that Mear One, Chor Boogie and Shark Toof continue displaying their artwork because the penthouse would be shown to more potential buyers in the future. The artists agreed, but on condition that their multiple pieces of artwork eventually had to be returned, and had to be professionally de-installed under the supervision of L.A. Art Machine.

However, several months later, after Mr. Strauss and the artists had already made arrangements with AEG to retrieve the artwork, they were told that the artwork had been ordered removed by AEG and then disposed of as part of a routine cleanup."
Daniel Y. Zohar from Zohar Law says:

"What AEG did was in violation not only of my clients’ economic rights, but a violation of their moral rights as defined by federal and state law…

These renowned artists had agreed to show their artwork at the Ritz-Carlton Residences to help AEG attract affluent potential clientele to their vacant, multi-million dollar condos. Yet in return, their valuable art was coldly destroyed…

My clients were shocked by this admission and expected an apology, as well as payment for their artwork. AEG offered neither…

Apparently they thought my clients lacked the resources and courage to take on such an influential and powerful business. They were wrong."

It will be interesting to get hold of the Complaint and see what the defendants' response will be. If the facts are indeed as stated, it seems outrageous that artworks from these well-known artists were so thoughtlessly destroyed.

Source: Enhanced Online News, 14 November 2011

Friday 18 November 2011

Online art: a new business model?

You can access s[edition]'s
website and make your
purchases here
An article on the BBC this morning, "Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst design artwork for mobiles", reports that limited edition contemporary art for mobile phones, designed by contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, is being made available for purchase for online use. The article explains:
"... The original authenticated artwork can be downloaded for display on phones, tablets, computers and TVs. Works will be created in limited runs of between 2,000 and 10,000 and will cost between £5 and £500.

"I like the idea of original pieces of art going to people directly for a low price," Emin said. "When you are an artist and you get to a certain level, it means that you have forced yourself out of the market for a lot of people, and this makes pure art available" [This rather suggests that the artist has no control over the pricing of his or her works, though one imagines that there is some control over the price at which the work is first sold ...]

The website, called s[edition], launched on Thursday. By Friday morning, 18 people had already purchased the most expensive item - Damien Hirst's For Heaven's Sake.

The piece, priced at £500, is a high definition video displaying one of the artist's famous diamond-encrusted skulls.

Purchasers store their copy of the artwork, which is numbered and authenticated, in an online "vault" which is accessible from connected devices such as iPads and internet-enabled televisions.

The site's terms and conditions [which you can read here] suggest that, in the future, collectors will be able to trade their collections with other members of the website via an internal marketplace ...".
The site's software is already geared for record-keeping for the purposes of the artist's resale right.

Of note are the site's Intellectual Property provisions:
"Intellectual Property

By posting, contributing, distributing, communicating or transmitting any Member Content, a Member expressly grants to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable licence (including the right to grant sub-licences through multiple tiers) to use, reproduce, adapt and distribute that material worldwide through s[edition] and any other interactive services through which we make s[edition] (or a service based on s[edition]) available. For the avoidance of doubt, the licence under this Clause 8 will survive any termination of these Conditions or any cancellation, suspension or lapse of the relevant Account. Note that we may modify any material associated with a Member or an Account in order to conform it to s[edition] (such as by cropping images).

Artists should note that the above paragraph does not apply to the artworks that they license to s[edition], which are governed by the terms of the separate Artist Agreement that they enter into with s[edition].

You acknowledge that all copyright, trade marks, and other intellectual property rights in and relating to s[edition] (including, without limitation, Member Content associated Members other than you) are owned by, or licensed to, us. You may use and access s[edition] and that Member Content only to the extent required for the use of the Services in accordance with these Conditions, and for the purpose that we make them available.

No-one may copy, distribute, show in public or create any derivative work from s[edition], or any of the material which is found on s[edition] unless properly licensed to do so by us.

Members agree not to use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access s[edition] for any purpose without our prior express written permission".
Interesting ...

Tuesday 8 November 2011

The Church and the Getty fight over the Armenian Zey'tun Gospels

The Getty is in hot water again.

In 1994 it paid US$950,000 for eight illuminated pages which once formed part of the Zeyt'un Gospels, an Armenian manuscript dating to 1256. Since June 2010, the Armenian Orthodox Church has been suing for their return.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Getty's application to have the Church's claim dismissed was denied last week by the Los Angeles Superior Court. The museum had argued that the six year limitation period allowed under California law for the church to bring its claim had long since expired but that, said the judge, was unclear.

The beginning of the Gospel of St Mark
It's no surprise that the Getty has come in for criticism that it should not be relying on legal arguments that it holds good title to the Gospel pages, but instead should consider the matter ethically and academically.

According to the church's suit the pages were separated from the rest of the volume and vanished in mysterious circumstances in 1916, during the Armenian genocide in the then Ottoman Empire. 78 years later an American Armenian family in Massachusetts sold them to the Getty. The church contends that the pages were stolen in 1916 and that the Getty had not adequately investigated their provenance before purchasing them in 1994.

Now the Church wants the pages reunited with the rest of the volume in the city of Yerevan, capital of Armenia, so the Gospels will be whole again and can be studied by scholars in its original state. It also points out that the Gospels were revered in Armenia and were believed to grant physical protection; as significant cultural patrimony for the twenty-year-old republic, the Church believes Armenia is where the Gospel pages should be.

But not all Armenians agree. 'I personally think that these 8 pages do much greater good to Armenians if they remain at the Getty,' one Armenian blogger commented last week. 'So many people can be exposed to them at the Getty who would never otherwise see an Armenian manuscript. This includes many Armenians in LA.' Los Angeles has the second largest community of Armenians outside the Republic of Armenia.

A four-month mediation period has been ordered, with the case to resume on 2 March 2012 if the matter is still unresolved.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Don't be a mug: Yet another reason to avoid arrest

Lenora's eyebrow always gave the game away under interrogation

This blogger is the first to admit that she is a bit behind in her blogging efforts. However, behind the scenes she has been gathering a variety of art law updates from the summer months for your edification. The favourite of these untold stories comes from an August edition of the New York Times.

Larken Design, A US based company has discovered a surprisingly lucrative trade in selling reproductions of 1955 California police mug shots.

But have the owners of Larken design got permission to use these images? Do they even need it? According to the New York Times, the origins of the prints are as follows:

“Ms. Finke [one of the founders of Larken Design] found the original photos nearly two years ago at an antiques store in … Nevada. They were thrown out more than a decade earlier by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department in California, when it went to an automated jail-information system. The Nevada store owner had bought about 200 of them, for $50, from an unknown local flea-market seller.”

The Larken Design website says “This poster was created from the original Police Department negative we own. Awesome, right?”

The images are indeed pretty awesome but the copyright presumably belongs to the US Government (with moral rights attaching to the police photographer). This presumption was put to the test by Casey Nice, assistant sheriff for Alameda County (the County from which the mugshots originated), who told the New York Times that “since arrest records in California are public information, dissemination does not appear to be a crime. Nor did they have copyright protection.” This blogger does not pretend to understand the nuances of US copyright law but is surprised by the above verdict. Readers who have a greater understanding of such nuances – please comment below.

The photos have also been touched up to highlight physical features and, in some instances, they have been tinted. There may have been sufficient creative input by Larken Design to create a new copyright protected work in the retouched images.

Jeff liked the Larken tinting - better than Just for Men gel

In addition to the cloud of uncertainty which surrounds the copyright in these images there is the possibility of a claim for breach of privacy. Although the individuals are not named and 55 years on they have no doubt changed in appearance they are nevertheless potentially identifiable. As the company’s success increases, the potential for an individual or class action for breach of privacy must be something the owners have considered. The New York Times looked into this issue in particular detail and obtained the opinion of Peter Swire, a law and judicial administration professor at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. He believed that Larken Design would have a strong defence on the basis that “they’re not telling the names of anybody, so they’re not harming any individual, and that under the First Amendment they’re allowed to publish truthful old photos… The fact they’re making money doesn’t change the analysis.”

If you have an alternative opinion please get in touch.

Larken Design is by no means the only company to use police mugshots for commercial gain. The Smoking Gun divides its mugshots collection into civilians and celebrities. Bad and Busted is an online magazine of “ALL AVAILABLE arrest records, sex offenders, and most wanted mugshots weekly!! Now for sale in Baldwin, Greene, Morgan, Putnam & Walton counties, [Georgia, USA]”. Both sites use the mugshots for entertainment/vigilantism rather than art.

Significantly, the images on these websites are all fairly contemporary. Unlike the anonymous and gentle artistic approach of Larken Design, these images are designed to maximise the embarrassment factor for the individuals concerned.

Feeling a mug? Buy your own mug book here.

[Update: Clearly Simone and I have similar interests...! For an alternative take on the issues in these photos, please see Simone's earlier post here. Apologies to readers for the duplicated material].

Friday 4 November 2011

UK bars export of Francesco Guardi's View of the Rialto Bridge

The UK's rules on exporting works of art (also discussed in Art and Artifice last year) stormed into action recently when Francesco Guardi's magnificent eighteenth century painting Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon went on sale at Sotheby's in London.

Going nowhere: View of the Rialto Bridge
The huge work, originally purchased in 1768 by an English Grand Tourist and sold into the Guinness family in 1891, has now been bought by an anonymous bidder for almost £26.7m. But the painting is currently going nowhere; it has been temporarily barred from export by the arts minister, Ed Vaizey.

Owners wishing to export a work of art out of the UK must have a licence to do so where that work is over a certain age and value. An oil painting to be exported from the UK to another EU member state, for example, must have an export licence if it is over 50 years of age and valued at over £180,000.

Applications for such licences go to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, who may refer them on to expert advisers. These experts will consider whether the work fulfills any of the three 'Waverley Criteria' (is the work so closely connected to the country's history that its removal would be a misfortune? Is the work of outstanding aesthetic significance? And lastly, is it of outstanding significance for the study of some branch of art, learning or history?). If any of the criteria apply, the adviser may object to the work's export and a licence can be delayed, typically by two to six months.

The purpose of the delay is to allow time for a UK buyer to step in, find funds and retain the work for the nation. This system has allowed UK collections to retain many art objects which would otherwise have left the country. Perhaps most famously, Raphael's Madonna of the Pinks was bought by the National Gallery in 2004 following a long campaign to raise its £22m price tag, preventing its departure to the Getty in Los Angeles.

But not everybody is in favour of the process. It has been suggested that it could damage the London art market, leaving buyers frustrated when their purchases are prevented from leaving the UK. For sellers it can also be frustrating: if they refuse an offer from a UK buyer because they could get more from an overseas purchaser, an export licence may be refused entirely. Is it fair that the rightful owner is not free to sell where he can get the best price?

And what about instances where an object has little connection with the UK? It is easy to see a case for retaining works such as the collection of Thomas Hardy papers, recently saved from export and now in Dorset County Museum, Hardy's own county. But is there any reason that a painting of eighteenth century Venice should be in the UK rather than, say, the USA? And is it better that a work should remain in a private collection in the UK than go to a public collection in another country?

Amongst those who disapprove of the bars must surely be numbered the buyer of View of the Rialto, gazing sadly at his Guardi-less walls. We look forward to seeing whether the painting's new home will eventually be here in the UK.

Read more at the Guardian here.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Is Ai Weiwei risking freedom again because of his art?

A poster is seen on a work at Tate Modern
 entitled "Sunflower Seeds" by Ai WeiWei, in
central London April 9, 2011 during artist's detention. 
Ai Weiwei, the world famous Chinese artist, has now only two weeks to pay an enormous tax bill served by Chinese authorities of  $ 2.4 millions for unpaid taxes and fines, otherwise he will face seven years in jail.

Ai Weiwei is known worldwide as a conceptual artist, an architect and a film maker, whose aim is to denounce - through his art - Chinese society's corruption and injustice.

When he was released on bail last June by Chinese police, after 81 days detention for presumed fiscal fraud, he was banned from speaking publicly: he could not use Twitter, give interviews and leave Peking for at least one year. But the artist started soon to use Twitter again, to communicate with his followers and, during an interview, he denounced that, during imprisonment, police was not interested at all in his alleged tax evasion, but rather to prevent him from speaking out thanks to his art.

The artist and his lawyers are now rejecting all tax claims, declaring these accusations are used to silence out one of the strongest moral opponent of the Chinese regime. Ai Weiwei is trying to defend himself saying the company which produces his works - the Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd - is run from his wife rather than from him. Nevertheless, Chinese authorities found him guilty for unpaid taxes as "actual controller" of this company, more than as legal owner.

Finally, introducing his 2010 exhibition at the Tate Modern, Mr Ai said with regard to his art " I spend very little time just doing 'art as art'. From a very young age I started to sense that an individual has to set an example in society. Your own act of behaviour tell the world who you are and at the same time what kind of society it should be".

Read more on NY Times here
Read more on Aljazeera here
Read Ai Wewei's quotes  released during the interview for the 2010 Tate Modern exhibition  here

Thursday 27 October 2011

Portrait of a lobster: a lawyer looks at the art-style-design divide

Some readers of Art & Artifice will be readers of the jiplp weblog, but most will not. Today's jiplp features "Art, Style, Design" -- a powerful piece by veteran Italian intellectual property scholar and practitioner Mario Franzosi on the inadequacy of European design laws. In the middle of this analysus he seeks to distinguish the three concepts to which the title alludes in the following manner:
"2.1 Art results from the work of artists, those people who, with constant and enduring passion, communicate in understandable form their feelings and thoughts -- feelings and thoughts that are universal: those of the human race. 
Art expresses those permanent ideas like Beauty, Love, Courage, Misery, Heroism, Passion, Faith, which are everlasting principles and sentiments. The message is not immediately evident; especially for modern art, it has to be detected or interpreted; when detected, it makes an everlasting impression. 
One of the 284 lobster paintings
currently available from
Fine Art America -- none of which
look much like lawyers 
Works of Art are in Museums, and also in the lobbies of the most prestigious law firms. Some months ago I was in the office of a well-known, high-profile IP lawyer and I saw in the lobby a most catching picture. In this picture I clearly recognized that lawyer (looking, perhaps, a little younger than his actual years), working tirelessly for a case. The picture expressed clearly the intelligence, dedication, tension and ability of the professional. It seemed that this IP star was considering only the interest of his client, and nothing leaked from the external world. I expressed my admiration to the secretary. And she said (I told you that the meaning of the work of art is not immediately evident !): “Yes, Sir, true. However, it is a fact that the painting depicts a lobster, cooked with onions and potatoes”. I will not tell whether it was lobster or potato or onion that brought me to the identification with our famous friend.  

2.2. Style is typical of stylists, those people who express their style, their personality in their creations. A work of style is recognizable and easily attributed to the stylist. It is the signature of the creator, like a real signature made with a pen (stylus, in Latin). It must show the personality of the creator; if not, it is a creation with no style. And the style has to be consistent: if Armani changes style and designs in the style of Dolce & Gabbana, the public will say that he has lost style, and deserves no consideration and appreciation. The same if Dolce & Gabbana designs in the Armani’s style: nobody would accept it. An exchange of image is not allowed, since it would be a loss or style, no matter whether the new style is good or bad.

2.3. Design is quite a different animal. Designers design common objects, those kind of items that you use every day, in a manner that it is (or should be) appropriate for you and the object. They design common coffee-pots, or typing machines or refrigerators, which make good coffee, keep your food fresh, type letters easily. The personality of designers does not count; it is the utility and elegance of the object that matters. When in a shop window you see a coffee-pot that is a work of design, you look at it with interest, enter the shop and buy it (even if it costs a little more than expected, but not so terribly more), because you have a feeling that it is nice and makes a good coffee. You put the old coffee-pot aside, and think of using the old only if the new breaks out. But the new does not break, if it is good design, so that the old remains disconsolate on the shelf, until it goes, even more disconsolate, in the basement. 
A work of design is a work of a designer, working with other functions in the company. If the company could buy aluminum at a bargain, the coffeepot is made of aluminum; if not, is made of iron. If the company wants to make use of a number of filters that lay in the warehouse and nobody finds a proper use, the coffeepot employs said filters. The product is made with what is easily available, provided is appropriate (fit and match, if I may use the European terminology). The product is proper, but not fanciful; the public does not know, and does not recognize, the designer. The public buys coffeepots, and not names. 
Of course there are contact, or conflicts, between Art, Style and Design. For instance, if you enter a museum of fine art and see a beautiful chair, you may not know if it is a work of Art or Design. But there are ways to find out. For instance, if you sit on the chair and you feel comfortable, it is a work of Design. If you sit and the alarm sounds, the guardian comes with a broom and scolds you, it is a work of Art. The amount of scolding is the amount of creativity".
While the definitions are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the message behind them, and its implications for the protection of applied and functional art, are immense. Readers are invited to share their comments and reflections on the good professor's thoughts.

Monday 24 October 2011

Litigating the Californian "droit de suite" ?

Christie's Inc and Sotheby's Inc were sued last Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, by a class of artists: New York painter Chuck Close, the L.A. artist Laddie John Dill, the estate of Robert Graham and the Sam Francis Foundation (only for Christie's).

The proposed class action was filed alleging that, the auction houses violated the California Resale Royalty Act, unlawfully failing to pay artists resale royalties for their works' sales in California.

1977 California resale royalty law grants  to visual artists 5% of the proceeds from the resale of artworks under certain conditions, that: the seller lives in California or the sale occurs there, and only for specific kind of art defined as "an original painting, sculpture or drawing or work of art in glass". This resale right is extended for 20 years after the artist's death, also to the artist's heirs. 

This law was inspired to the European visual artists royalties known as the French "droit de suite" now spread throughout the European Union, thanks to the implementation of the European Directive 2001 /84, that took effect, also in Ireland and Great Britain, which previously didn't allow visual artist's resale royalties.

The plaintiffs charge the auction houses ruotinely violate the law hiding the identity of the sellers and their residencies. In their turn, Christie's and Sotheby's have announced they will charge this law for constitutionality issue, since it could conflict with U.S. federal copyright law.

Finally, if successful, these suits could shift business elsewhere, opening a new scenario in American art market.

Read  more on L.A. times here
Read more on Artjournal here
Read the complaint against Sotheby's here

Sunday 23 October 2011

How will we tell our Warhols from our baked beans now?

The real Andy Warhol
-- or is it?
The Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board will close early next year. The announcement was made by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which will continue its work on Warhol's catalogue raisonné and other core projects, reports the The Art Newspaper.

Over its 16-year life, the Board has had more than its fair share of criticism, building up a controversial reputation and sky-high litigation bills surrounding its authentication decisions.

On one occasion it rejected a work which had belonged to Warhol's one-time gallerist Anthony d'Offay, and which was signed, dated, and had been included in a previous Warhol catalogue raisonné with Warhol's knowledge.

More recently, the Board spent close to US$7m defending an antitrust lawsuit brought by collector and filmmaker Joe Simon-Whelan, who had requested - and been denied - authentication of a work he and other experts considered to be a Warhol portrait. He accused the Board of conspiring to 'restrain and monopolise trade in the market for Warhol works'. The parties settled last year, but apparently not very amicably: a lawyer for the Foundation said Simon-Whelan had admitted in court that 'there was no basis for his allegations', while the collector himself explained that he had ceased to pursue the multi-million dollar case because he couldn't afford it (some inauthentic commentary there from somebody).

As well as saving millions in legal fees, the Board's running costs of US$500,000 per year will be freed up by the closure. This will allow the Foundation 'to maximize its grant-making and other charitable activities in support of the visual arts', says the Foundation's president Joel Wachs.

Warhol, whose will set up the Foundation for the advancement of the arts (rather than in support of the legal industry), would no doubt have approved.

Read The Art Newspaper's report here
Read's report here

Another piece written for Art & Artifice by Elizabeth Emerson

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Proposed UK government scheme encourages art gifts to the nation

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, given
under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme
The UK government is currently pondering the responses given to its recent consultation, the snappily titled ‘Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation’. It is hoped that the scheme will encourage lifetime gifts of art to the nation in return for tax breaks (complementing the existing Acceptance in Lieu of Tax scheme, which encourages giving by reducing inheritance tax).

The idea is that a prospective donor will offer a work of art to the government. A panel of experts will then judge whether the work is ‘pre-eminent’ or merely nice. If the former, the panel will value the work and the donor will gain a tax deduction of (it is suggested) 25% of that value. Broadly, the nation gets 75% of the work for free, the donor saves tax, and everyone’s happy.

Respondents to the consultation have, however, pointed out a few possible flies in the ointment. These include the following:
• although the donor can express a preference as to where the work of art goes, they won’t be given the final say. Some donors may not care for the idea that they cannot be sure that the work will go to their preferred charity;
• donors may find it more tax advantageous to simply sell a work of art and make a Gift Aid donation of the profits after tax to their chosen charity. This would also enable a donor to be sure that their gift benefits the charity of their choice;

• the scheme’s cap of £1m per object and £2m per donor in tax deductions may deter owners from donating more valuable objects; and 
• where inheritance tax on an object has been deferred under a conditional exemption, and the object is then donated under the scheme, inheritance tax on that object could then become payable.
We look forward to discovering how far these concerns will influence the final shape of the scheme. Draft legislation is expected in early December.

To see the full consultation, click here.

Written for Art & Artifice by Elizabeth Emerson (thanks!)

Saturday 15 October 2011

Can you make a sculpture with a bit of paper?

WARNING: This is not a blog about origami.

It is Frieze-ing in London this week.

Frieze art fair lives in a lovely bubble where the global economy is not on verge of collapse and people still have bottomless pockets full of money to lavish on the art world. Works on sale range from the tens to the millions of pounds and cover all forms of artistic media. This year it is hosting over 170 galleries from around the world and has a variety of talks to keep punters entertained.

One of the big talking points has been “The Finest Art on Water”. This work of “art” is in fact a yacht. Buyers can choose to buy the yacht as a boat for €65m (approx £58m) or as a sculpture for €75m (approx £66m). What’s the difference? Well it all lies in a bit of paper, a certificate of authenticity, which is provided for a mere €10m by German artist Christian Jankowski. This is not the only boat on sale with alternative embodiments (boat/art) but, as the most expensive example, it is the one which has raised the most eyebrows.

Presumably when Jankowski seeks to transform the boat into “art” he intends it to be a sculpture, as opposed to a work of artistic craftsmanship (which it may well be in its own right).

At the risk of being pedantic, can a boat be a sculpture in the legal sense? And how can a bit of paper change its designation?

Lucasfilm v Ainsworth spent a lot of time considering whether stormtrooper helmets were sculpture but didn’t reach a final conclusion on how to define a sculpture. The closest the Supreme Court came was to cite Richard Meade QC’s formulation, as put forward in Metix v Maughan, with approval [35]. Meade suggested that “a sculpture is a three-dimensional work made by an artist's hand”. Neither the boat nor the certificate satisfies this requirement (although the certificate may well be an artistic work, as a painting or other two dimensional work).

You can read more about Jankowski here.

Read the Guardian story which inspired this blog here.

Can’t make it to Regent’s Park to buy a boat? Fear not, you can browse the virtual art gallery here.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

French Auction Houses allowed to sell by mutual agreement

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon,
Esquisse pour le portrait de
 l'Impératrice Joséphine à la Malmaison
France State has just bought three works of art thanks to voluntary sales through Christie’s France. These acquisitions are part of a larger operation of purchase of the Marquet de Vasselot's collection for the most famous French Museums: the Louvre and the National Library. The remaining part of the collection will be auctioned next month.

France passed a new law on July 6th, which entered into force on September 1st, modifying the previous law on July 10th, 2000. The aim of such new law was to allow auction houses to conduct sales by mutual agreement. i.e. private sales between the seller and the buyer, whereas previously such transactions were restricted in France to galleries and other private dealers. The law brings France into line with other European countries as England, which already allow auction houses to handle private sales.

Since they are fast and secure, private sales have special appeal for clients seeking privacy. Museums, which often must establish a budget in consultation with their boards, often lack flexibility during auctions and prefer private negotiations.

Monday 10 October 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's taste proves impeccable

The real Hals (detail)
At her home in Bel Air, California, the late actress Elizabeth Taylor hung a painting entitled "Portrait of a Man, Half-Length" in pride of place. Once thought to be in the style of seventeenth century Dutch master Frans Hals, the Los Angeles Times reports that experts now believe the portrait to be a real Hals.

The painting was listed in Seymour Slive's 1970s catalogue raisonné of Hals as being 'doubtful and wrongly attributed', but Slive had seen only a black and white photo of the work. When Ben Hall (head of Christie's Old Masters in New York) saw the real thing, the looseness of the brushwork and sensitivity of the face made him suspect Slive had been wrong. Pieter Biesboer, former curator of the Frans Hals museum in the Netherlands, agreed with Hall and told the Los Angeles Times that he had 'no doubts' about the painting's authenticity.

The portrait spotted by Taylor's keen eye, once valued at a mere $100,000, could now bring in around $1m when sold in January.

Written for Art & Artifice by Elizabeth Emerson (thanks!)
For further reading see LA Times here; AFA News here

Jeremy's question: portraits valued at $100,000 are likely to be insured for a sum of that nature. Authenticated originals demand insurance at a far higher level and insurance companies do not take kindly to works being either over-insured or under-insured. This raises the question: how are claims settled in respect of loss or damage to a work when the insured event takes place after a reassessment of the insured work has been commenced but before its authenticity has been confirmed. Does anyone know ...?

Friday 7 October 2011

Master forger takes revenge on the art world

After their arrest nearly a year ago, German art dealers Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi have struck plea bargains in their dramatic forgery trial. The husband and wife team, along with Helene's sister Jeanette, were accused of selling more than 40 forged paintings over a period of 14 years, one of which is said to have sold for $7m. They claimed the works to be by painters such as Max Ernst, Heinrich Campendonk, Fernand Léger and Max Pechstein, among others.

Above: a genuine fake Campendonk, which fetched 2.9m euro at auction
Now Wolfgang Beltracchi has reduced his sentence by pleading guilty, and appears to be enjoying his time on the soap box into the bargain. 'I created an original, an unpainted picture by each artist,' Die Welt reports him saying, 'I painted paintings which really shouldn't have been missing from the artists' oeuvres.'

In traditional forger's style the painter, who had minor success painting in his own name, blames the greed of the art world for the scandal and says he wasn't in it for the money alone - despite having made an estimated $20m from the scam.

Thank you, Elizabeth Emerson, for preparing this piece.
For further reading see Art Media Agency here; Artfix Daily here

Thursday 6 October 2011

Cardozo call for papers

Plato's Symposium: at least
there was plenty to drink ...
Art & Artifice begs to inform its readers that the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal seeks submissions for the journal’s Symposium, to take place next Spring. The working title of the Symposium is “Examining and Overcoming Enforcement Issues in Copyright Law”.

The symposium provides an opportunity for academics, practitioners, consultants and students to exchange ideas related to the protection of intellectual property in the Digital Age, from the perspective of enforcement, as well as self-policing and cooperative agreements. Please note the following dates:

  • Submission Deadline for Abstracts: October 31, 2011
  • Submission Deadline for Articles: January 31, 2012
  • Symposium Date: March 29, 2012

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Mark Stephens to spearhead DACS

DACS (the Design and Artists Copyright Society) announced today its great pleasure in the appointment of Mark Stephens CBE as the new Chair of its Board of Directors. According to the DACS media release:
"Mark Stephens joins the organisation at an important time as debate continues about the future of copyright, and the global recession and public funding cuts impact on visual artists. DACS’ role in helping artists to sustain their practice and livelihood is even more critical than ever. 
Mark is a senior partner of law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, specialising in media law, intellectual property rights and human rights. Mark was instrumental in the establishment of DACS in 1984 – law firm Stephens Innocent was a home to DACS in the first years after its establishment. 
Mark Stephens says: “Throughout the past 35 years I have advocated for artists’ rights. I am thrilled and delighted to be offered the opportunity to chair DACS at a time when the economic rights of artists are under threat as never before, not least because of digitalisation and multiplatform delivery. I intend that DACS should remain at the forefront of the development of new economic models to safeguard the ability of artists to contribute in such vital ways to our cultural life ..”.
Mark replaces Andrew Potter, who steps down in December 2011 after battling on behalf of his members for the past six years.  Art & Artifice wishes Mark the best of luck in his new position and is sure that he will throw his usual enthusiasm into discharging its duties.