In Lieu of Sunshine….

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here are some links to get you through this rainy Friday:

The Velvet Underground went bananas over some iProducts, then they settled for an undisclosed amount.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville-R has proposed a bill to prevent the sale of the DIA collection, and protect cultural assets from bankruptcy proceedings in general. However, it is unclear how the Legislature proposes to go about this, particularly in light of the fact that federal bankruptcy court trumps state law.

Ontario has designated Richard Serra’s outdoor sculpture, “Shift,” a protected heritage site.  Viewers no longer have to trespass for art’s sake.

The Rijksmuseum is offering their high-resolution images of their collection online.  The National Gallery in London and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington have made parts of their collections available, however, they are lower-grade images.

A New York trial court dismissed dealer Marc Jancou’s suit against artist Cady Noland for tortious interference with his contract with Sotheby’s.  Noland disclaimed the piece, owned by Jancou, asserting her right under the Visual Artists Rights Act permitting an artist to prevent use of her name as the author of a work if it would cause reputational harm.

Friday Link Round-Up

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Danish artist, Martin Martensen-Larsen, plans to turn the body of a convicted murderer, currently on death-row in Texas, into a work of art. The prisoner, Travis Runnels, has donated his body for the piece, which will be painted gold and modeled on Lincoln’s Memorial.  The artist has already begun to prepare his argument against the Texas “Abuse of a Corpse” statute.  Definitely curious about how this will turn out. I have a hunch Texas courts will have a strict interpretation of the word “offensive”…
Censorship at the British Pavilion? Jeremy Deller left a banner with the words, ‘Prince Harry Kills Me,” out of his exhibition at the request of the British Council.
New updates on the potential sale of the DIA collection here and here.  Apparently, the Philadelphia Museum of History resorted to deaccession in 2011. What does a gift agreements to a museum entail? Is it assumed that the donation won’t be sold, or must it be explicitly stated? If so, will people continue to give unrestricted gifts? So. many. questions.
Happy weekend, y’all.

“With all due respect your Honor, that has nothing to do with anything.” OR: What I Learned at the Biro v. Condé Nast Oral Arguments

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The number of defendants has grown since Peter Paul Biro filed his libel complaint against David Grann, a writer for The New Yorker, in 2011. In addition to Condé Nast (parent company of The New Yorker), Biro also seeks to recover from Gawker Media, Jackson Pollock biographer Evelyn Toynton and Yale University Press, and Paddy Johnson, editor of Art Fag City.  All parties appeared before J. Oetken of the Second Circuit for oral arguments on May 17, 2013 regarding the four actionable statements from the article.
In New York, a party seeking to recover for libel must establish five elements, articulated in Celle v. Filipino Reporters Enterprises Inc., 209 F.3d 163 (2d Cir. 2000).  J. Oetken’s line of questioning primarily revolved around the third element; fault, particularly whether the defendants exhibited actual malice.  Biro’s attorney was briefly questioned about the assertion that his client could not be classified as a public figure.  Additionally, all of the defendants questioned the sufficiency of Biro’s complaint at one point or another, leading to some debate over the effects of the Twombly/Iqbal standard (or “TwIqbal” according to J.Oetken, for which he got some laughs).
It was interesting to hear about the varying degrees to which the additional parties are connected to the case.  Attorneys for Gawker Media and Art Fag City argued that the sites simply reposted the original New Yorker article, and the attorney for Yale UP brought J. Oetken a copy of the book at issue so he could see for himself that Toynton did not once refer to the article at issue.  No decision was made on the spot but J. Oetken promised a full opinion providing a full and fair report of his views.  We’ll be keeping an eye out.
Sources: New Yorker ,  ArtNet
In the meantime, here’s a round up of art law related news from over the long weekend:
The Detroit Institute of Arts might sell off some of its art collection to settle some the city’s debts.  People all over the internet are freaking out.
Museums face new issues of repatriation when it comes to human remains.
Ai Weiwei is reconstructing six scenes from his illegal detention for exhibition in Venice. The six fiberglass dioramas were furtively transported out of China and will be available for the public to view this Tuesday.
The alternative artist collective, Silent Barn, may have finally found a new (legal) spot to call home in Bushwick.

Qatar to Buy Picasso’s Child with a Dove

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The Art Newspaper tells us: Now that a temporary export ban has been lifted from the work by the UK government, French newspaper Le Figaro says the Middle Eastern state has acquired Picasso’s Child with a Dove for £50m.


Lauder Promises Major Gift to Met

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The New York Times reports: Cubism, Which Changed Art, Now Changes the Met, as the museum takes in a trove of signature works, which includes 33 Picassos, 17 Braques, 14 Légers and 14 works by Gris.  The group of works is valued at more than $1 billion.

April 11: "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" Film Viewing and Panel Discussion at NYU

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On Thursday, April 11th, the U.S.-Asia Law Institute will host a screening of the award-winning documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” which will be followed by a panel discussion with director Alison Klayman, Professor Jerome Cohen, art historian Joan Cohen and art curator Ethan Cohen.
 For more information about the film go to: http://aiweiweineversorry.com/.
RSVP to Melissa Lefkowitz (melissa.lefkowitz@nyu.edu).

Matisse’s Return to Paris?

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The New York Times discusses how the family of Parisian gallery owner Paul Rosenberg has evidenced documents showing that “Woman in Blue in Front of Fireplace” was confiscated from them by the Nazis in 1941, and must be returned to them by the Norwegian Museum currently in possession.
This topic may be of particular interest to our Fordham Art Law Society blog readers, as similar issues of restitution are the focus of our Wednesday, April 10th panel discussion “Defining Cultural Ownership: Shifting Focus, Shifting Norms.”  Click here to register!

Instagram Upload Leads to Arrest

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ArtInfo reports that a Montreal artist was arrested yesterday for posting a photo of a piece of anti-police street art.