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

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