We conclude our series on public art and percent-for-art programs by focusing on a recent case involving the respected American sculptor, Alice Aycock. The artist’s sculpture, Star Sifter, was created in 1998 for the John F. Kennedy Airport, New York City. The recent lawsuit was prompted by the planned removal, and thereby destruction, of the commissioned work of art.

Continue Reading Public Art Programs: 1% for the 99% – Part Three

As we described in our previous post, percent-for-art programs are successful and popular. However, because there are few common norms in the field or understandings regarding implementation of program initiatives, the importance of thorough negotiations and carefully constructed contracts cannot be overstated.

Continue Reading Public Art Programs: 1% for the 99% – Part Two

The Art Law Blog introduces the first in a series of three articles on "percent-for-art" programs. The common purpose of percent-for-art ordinances is to invigorate the public cultural environment, and to develop and enhance public interest in the visual arts by creating enduring and specific art for public spaces. Some jurisdictions even articulate this goal as their “responsibility”.

Continue Reading Public Art Programs: 1% for the 99% – Part One

By Christine Steiner

The recent troubles of Knoedler Gallery, now airing in the press and later, presumably, in the courtroom, may shed some light on certain art world concerns – due diligence, gallery sale practices, sophisticated fakes/forgeries, and problems with authenticity in the market. This piece discusses the importance of carefully managing the business of artistic production. These considerations include strict inventory lists, transaction history, image and information database management, responsible studio control, and good artistic practices in general.

Continue Reading The Studious Studio – Business Practices for Artists

By Christine Steiner

In the same era Gerald Ford advised his fellow Americans that “our long national nightmare is over,” as he succeeded Richard Nixon as president, the California Legislation enacted the sloppily-drafted California Resale Royalty Act, Civil Code Section 986. The act was not exactly a nightmare, in truth it slumbered for most of its thirty-plus lifetime. It seemed more honored in the breach than the observance. Recent awareness of the resale royalty obligation, though, has caused confusion and consternation for California sellers, for California artists and for the art trade nationwide. Some have, in fact, described it as a nightmare. As of late last week, the nightmare may be over.

Continue Reading My Fellow Californians – Our Long National Nightmare is Over

By Valentina Shenderovich and Christine Steiner

Public wall murals have been the subject of much attention recently. Legislators for Los Angeles, considered the “mural capital of the world”, are reviewing a proposed city ordinance to preserve vintage art murals and to repeal an existing ban on private murals (enacted as an overzealous attempt to stem graffiti). Wall murals are the focus of attention in other cities as well. Murals are visible and public “public art”, presenting social, political and aesthetic ideas in and on everyday media.

Continue Reading A Murality Play

By Kathryn Hines and Christine Steiner

Society is consumed with celebrity. We can survey Hollywood marriages and divorces, analyze Golden Globe wardrobe choices and comment upon the latest Lindsey Lohan foible. It is not surprising that many artists have channeled this societal obsession, featuring celebrities in paintings, collages and video installations. Moreover, as we approach the anniversaries of the death dates of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, commemorative portraits are likely to be in high demand. But when does using a celebrity image in art infringe that celebrity’s right of publicity? It depends. While an artistic rendering of a recognizable person may be protected under the First Amendment, there are limits to this protection.

Continue Reading Life After Death – Right of Publicity Law

By Sarah Pavlock and Christine Steiner

The appeal in the case of Cariou v. Prince is shaping up to be the biggest visual arts copyright case in many years. It will likely result in guidance on what qualifies as a transformative use for appropriation art under the doctrine of fair use. Appropriation art "borrows" pre-existing works or images of the creative work of another artist in order to create something new and original. While this alone may seemed packed with copyright issues, it is generally not an appropriation artist’s intent to "rip off" another artist’s work. Usually, the success of the new work depends on the viewer’s recognition of the underlying work; the "aha" moment is the connection between the old and the new as the viewer recognizes the original work or that another work has been taken, and differentiates the creative changes that have been made in the new work.

Continue Reading Rastaman Vibration

By Lano Williams and Christine Steiner

The past year was packed with litigation that ranged from broad constitutional questions to the ever present scourge of forgeries. Art Law Gallery presents highlights of some of the most important cases:
 

Continue Reading The Year In Review

By Tyler Baker and Christine Steiner

The success of the art market depends largely on confidence in the authenticity of artists’ works. Traditionally, a work in an artist’s “catalogue raisonné” has been key to confirming the authenticity, and thus value. To that point, a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (“S.D.N.Y.”) regarding a purported Jackson Pollock work underscores the importance of the catalogue raisonné in pre-purchase due diligence, and shows that omission from the catalogue could be potentially disastrous to the value of a work. See Lagrange v. Knoedler Gallery, LLC, 11-cv-8757 (S.D.N.Y.) (filed Dec. 1, 2011). 

Continue Reading Cherchez les Catalogues Raisonnés

By Lano Williams and Christine Steiner

The recent news that the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, Inc. will dissolve in early 2012 brings the role of authentication boards in the art world to the fore once again. The Board, which has been charged with authenticating the works of Andy Warhol since 1996, has been the subject of controversy, probably owing more to the nature of Andy Warhol’s art-making process and his fame rather than anything the Board may have done. Warhol was famous for industrializing the art-making process, frequently directing others to execute works on his behalf. The question of what makes a Warhol is subjective and is open to changing interpretation as scholarship develops, as it involves current thinking on what steps of the art-making process the artist must control in order for a piece to be considered attributable to that artist. The Warhol market is also gargantuan. ArtTactic reports that his art accounted for 17% of contemporary art sales at auction in 2010 and 12% of the total contemporary art sold in the first decade of this century.

Continue Reading Authentication Board to Death by Lawsuits