Christie’s

News Heavy…

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Judge Oetken of the S.D.N.Y. issued his Biro v. Condé Nast opinion. J. Oetken granted The New Yorker and Grann’s motion to for an order finding Biro to be a public figure, as well as their motion for judgment on the pleadings, and granted the remaining defendants’ motions for dismissal for failure to state a claim. Notably, the claim against Gawker Media was dismissed as time barred, the statute of limitations is one-year in New York.  J. Oetken reiterated that, under the single publication rule, a story’s continued presence online does not affect how time accrues.  Additionally, J. Oetken determined Biro met all four prongs of the Lerman test, constituting as a limited purpose public figure.  Thus, in order to survive dismissal, Biro’s complaint had to sufficiently plead actual malice (“a term of art denoting deliberate or reckless falsification [J. Oetken, 30]).  The opinion heavily referenced the affects of the “Twiqbal” standard on defamation actions, as well policy concerns for First Amendment rights.  In the end, Biro could not surmount the heavy “actual malice” standard.  Check out additional coverage here and here.

Christie’s has confirmed they will assist in appraising the Detroit Institute of Art’s collection.  Although the museum will cooperate, they have reiterated their belief in the Attorney General’s statement that the collection is a charitable trust which cannot be sold as part of a bankruptcy proceeding.  So, then why is Christie’s being paid $200,000 for their appraisal services?  In any case, even though the city is an economic sinkhole, its art scene is flourishing according to the New York Times.

This week has seen a few different copyright lawsuits:

Music publishers sued Fullscreen, one of the largest suppliers of videos to YouTube, after a breakdown in licensing negotiations.

A federal judge in Manhattan refused a motion by Arrow Productions to block the release of the movie “Lovelace,” alleging that the movie contains unlicensed footage.

Lastly, a Court of Appeals judge for the 9th Circuit ruled that Green Day did not infringe on the rights of a street artist when they incorporated his art work into their video backdrop.

A Manhattan doctor bought a deserted island off the Keweenaw Peninsula, MI then put a conservation easement onto the property and started an artist’s colony.

Also, BUY LOCAL. Local art that is, apparently community supported art organizations are springing up everywheeeeeeere.

In Memoriam

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Image from Arts & Culture: 104

Walter de Maria died yesterday at the age of 77.  Although de Maria was not a household name, he had a huge influence on the Earthworks movement. Check out his piece, “Lightning Fields” (above), and maybe you’ll see why he is one of my favorites.

In other art law related-ish news:

In a statement made last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital, with supervising and profiting from insider trading.  Cohen is one of the world’s biggest art collectors (he bought the Damien Hirst shark tank. yeah, that guy.) and a trustee at MOCA Los Angeles.

House Republicans seeking to cut NEA and NEH funding by half.  This is definitely the right avenue by which to address our fiscal woes (FRUSTRATED SARCASM).

Meanwhile, over in Europe, a five year global art project called Metabody was given 1.9 million by the EU Culture Program.  The project is set to launch this month.

Apparently, Christie’s sent employees to assess the DIA collection at some point over the past two months. Here come the vultures.  Although there are no clear plans for the museum, everyone has an opinion.  Some believe that selling the collection would hurt the art market.  While others are more supportive, framing the issue as saving the art versus people’s pensions.  While I, surprisingly, tend to agree with the latter.  I do take issue with the city having the ability to sell donated the pieces in the first place. I can’t imagine donors would have gifted their pieces if they had anticipated that they might be auctioned off in order to save Detroit from mismanagement.

The head of security for the V&A museum expressed fear for their Chinese collection, pointing to other recent thefts of Asian art.

The National History Museum’s science laboratory in Bucharest has submitted an initial report stating the ashes discovered in a suspected art thief’s home contained fragments of oil paintings.  This could indicate that the suspect burned a Picasso (see last post) he allegedly stole among other pieces, including two Monet works.

In other plunderous affairs, some ill-informed thieves stole 10 paintings and two drawings from the Van Buuren Museum in Brussels.  One of the drawings was a Van Gogh scholars have fingered as a potential fake.