Daily Dispatch

August 9TH 2021

Image: Ugo Rondinone “Vocabulary of Solitude” at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
  1. Scammers Are Stealing the Late Qing Han’s Artworks and Minting Them as NFTs – As described by William O’Rorke, NFTs are a digital wild west as their lack of regulation, transparency, and enforcement of IP rights often leads to scammers trying to profit off a craze. Within a year of her passing, Qinni’s drawings fell victim to the digital swindle within the marketplace Twinci – Read more on Surface Mag
  2. Inside The World’s First Publicly Accessible Art Depot – The vast majority of a museum’s holdings are often hidden from view in vast storage depots that otherwise aren’t accessible to the public. Seeking to buck this trend, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is making close to 99 percent of its collection of 151,000 artifacts available for public viewing even as they’re stored – Read more on Surface Mag
  3. French Sales Bouncing Back After Covid Impact – Sales figures or ‘bilan’ for the first half of this year have been released. They include Christie’s France which has reported sales totals of €205m including premium – representing a 137% increase over the €86.3m for the equivalent period in 2020 – Read more on The Antiques Trade Gazette
  4. New York gallery’s lawsuit against Italy over seized ancient bust dismissed – A judge has dismissed the New York-based Safani Gallery’s lawsuit against Italy over a seized bust of Alexander the Great. Questions had been raised as to whether the marble sculpture was excavated after Italy’s patrimony laws were established in 1909 – Read more on Art Law & More
  5. Sothebys, Inc. Files Suits Against Fine Art Auctions Miami and Thut et al –  The suit alleges that in  2016 Bettina Von Marnitz Thut consigned pieces by a Swiss artist to the New York auction house, and allegedly provided Sotheby’s with letters attesting to the objects’ provenance. However, a law enforcement investigator uncovered numerous replicas sold as authentic originals. This pending litigation is not the first time FAAM or its owner Frédéric Thut has drawn unwanted attention – Read more on ARCA
  6. Acquavella Galleries and Ex-Sotheby’s C.E.O. Bill Ruprecht Invest in NFT Platform MakersPlace as Part of a $30 Million Funding Round – The NFT platform MakersPlace has just announced a $30 million investment, including from several blue-chip names in the art world: Acquavella Galleries, former Sotheby’s C.E.O. Bill Ruprecht, and Pace Gallery director Sabrina Hahn – Read more on Artnet News

August 5TH 2021

Image: Unsplash
  1. A New York Gallery Owner Says He Destroyed Six Paintings Over a Controversy Regarding Their Depiction of Native American Symbols – In a statement shared on social media on July 17, the gallery’s owner, Ricco Wright, apologized to the Osage Nation for the exhibition, saying that all images and information about the show had been removed – Read more on Artnet
  2. A Canadian Art Dealer Has Admitted to Co-Inventing a Fake Indigenous Artist – reports emerged that “Harvey John,” supposedly an Nuu-Chah-Nulth Indigenous artist hailing from Vancouver Island, is in fact a fabrication that was perpetuated by the art dealer Steve Hoffmann – Read more on Observer
  3. Amoako Boafo’s Paintings Are Getting Launched Into Space – The space industry marketplace Uplift Aerospace has commissioned ascendant Ghanaian painter Amoako Boafo to create a triptych on the exterior panels of a rocket as part of its newly launched Uplift Art Program – Read more on Surface Mag
  4. Christie’s Will Quadruple Its Footprint in Asia’s Art Market With a New Office – Christie’s is preparing to expand within the booming Asian art market after securing a 10-year lease at The Henderson, an upcoming skyscraper in Hong Kong designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The relocation, planned for 2024, will enable Christie’s to host six week-long sales in-house throughout the year – Read more on Artnet News
  5. European Jewel Thief Convicted Over $8 Million London Diamond Heist – Acting as part of an “international organised gang”, Romanian-born French citizen Lulu Lakatos posed as a gemmologist, representing a wealthy Russian buyer, in order to gain access to a secure area inside the Boodles store in Mayfair – Read more on Jeweller Mag
  6. ‘It’s too dangerous to stay’: Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong leaves for Taiwan as Chinese Government Curbs Artistic and Editorial Autonomy – As for his fellow political artists still in Hong Kong, Wong has some advice. “Stay submerged and hidden,” he says. “The public art space is now drastically different than before, old artistic resistance strategies don’t seem to be effective and would only have heavy consequences.” – Read more on The Art Newspaper

August 2nd 2021

Image: Franco Origlia/ Getty Images
  1. National Gallery of Australia Returns Artifacts to India – On July 29, the NGA announced the repatriation of 14 artworks and artifacts from its Asian art collection to India, with a combined value at AUD 3 million (USD 2.22 million). Thirteen of the works were purchased from Art of the Past, the New York gallery run by recently convicted art smuggler Subhash Kapoor, between 2002 and 2010 – Read more on ArtAsiaPacific
  2. When Two Diamond Miners Go to War: Rio Tinto in Legal Stoush – Following Star Diamond filing documents in a Canadian court alleging Rio Tinto had engaged in “bad faith predatory practices” last year, it has now objected to Rio Tinto’s call for a budget meeting  – Read more on Jeweller Magazine
  3. A Wedding or an Art Installation? A Little of Both – It’s not enough anymore for a couple to toss a few floral centerpieces on a table, serve a meal, hire a DJ or band. Artists are now the newest in-demand vendor as some weddings are starting to resemble interactive art galleries – Read more on NY Times
  4. How Could An Italian Gallery Sue Over Use of Its Public Domain Art? – in early July the Uffizi Gallery set its lawyers on the website Pornhub, sending the company a strongly worded letter threatening legal action over the unwelcome use of The Birth of Venus along with several of Uffizi’s other masterpieces – Read more on The Conversation
  5. The Mishap of Mystery: Banksy Struggles to Protect His IP While Preserving His Anonymity  “These decisions seem to cripple creativity by forcing artists like Banksy to risk losing anonymity to take advantage of copyright because trademark protection is not available. Yet, it is important to recognize these cases featured uniquely bad facts” – Read more on Jayaram Law
  6. British High Court Reverses Decision to Build Tunnel Near Stonehenge – Historians, environmentalists, archaeologists and tourists can rest easy, as the British High Court has ruled that it is unlawful to build a tunnel near the hallowed Stonehenge grounds – Read more on Hypebeast

JUly 29TH 2021

Image: Bansky Spike NFT offered at Valuart. courtesy Valuart.
  1. Angela Gulbenkian: Art Dealer Jailed Over £1m Theft – Judge David Tomlinson jailed Gulbenkian for three-and-a-half years on Thursday. He said: “Both counts on the indictment involve, in comparative terms, thefts of very large sums of money” – Read more on BBC
  2. Art Dealer and Founder of Ace Gallery Arrested on Embezzlement Charges – Douglas J. Chrismas has been arrested on federal charges alleging he embezzled more than $260,000 from the gallery’s bankruptcy estate. A September trial date has been set – Read more on LA Times
  3. Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan Album Sold by U.S. – Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that they’ve sold a one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album seized from imprisoned “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, settling a $7.3 million tab from his criminal judgment on securities fraud and conspiracy charges – Read more on WSJ
  4. Porn Co. Settles Vineyard Artist’s IP Suit On Eve Of Trial – An adult film producer has settled claims that it secretly used a Martha’s Vineyard rental property to shoot nearly a dozen full-length flicks whose frames captured the homeowner’s copyrighted artworks, averting what would have been a salacious jury trial – Read more on Law360
  5. An NFT Version of a Banksy Artwork That’s Up for Auction Could Prompt a Lawsuit – If indeed the Spike NFT is unauthorized, the artist could have grounds to file a lawsuit; it also remains unclear how operatic tenor Vittorio Grigolo, the owner of Banksy’s original work, obtained it in the first place – Read more on Observer
  6. Instagram Wants Out Of Copyright Suit Over Embedding – Instagram says it shouldn’t have to face a copyright lawsuit from a pair of photojournalists claiming the platform wrongly allows news sites and others to easily “embed” posted images – Read more on Law360

JUly 26TH 2021

Image: Olympic Rings (1985) Jean Michael Basquiat and Andy Warhol. courtesy WikiCommons.
  1. The Olympic Committee Fires Opening Ceremony Creative Director Kentaro Kobayashi – The Olympic Organizing Committee recently fired Kentaro Kobayashi, creative director of this year’s Opening Ceremony, after a video surfaced of him making a joke about the Holocaust during a comedy routine in the 1990s – Read more on Surface Mag
  2. UK Government Halves Arts Funding in Higher Education – Dealing a transformative blow to the country’s cultural status, the UK government is slashing spending on the arts in higher education by a gutting 50 percent and awarding the spoils to science and medicine – Read more on Artforum
  3. As a Belgian Politician, I Feel a Responsibility to Restitute Stolen Artifacts to the Congo. Here’s Why My Fellow Citizens Should, Too – “Thomas Dermine is Belgium’s State Secretary for Scientific Policy, Recovery Program, and Strategic Investments. This month, he made a proposal that was accepted by the federal government to create a bilateral accord with the Democratic Republic of the Congo” – Read more on Artnet News
  4. Artists Concerned Over Instagram’s New “Sensitive Content” Controls – “You have to actually choose to not have your content filtered, and people who don’t know how to do that won’t even know it happened.” – Read more on Hyperallergic
  5. Auction Sales More Than Triple This Year – Data from Pi-eX finds that sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, the largest international auction houses, hit a total $5.8bn by June 30, up from $1.75bn in 2020 – Read more on FT
  6. I Took Pornhub’s Tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Nudes – “Despite Pornhub’s insistence that it worked to feature “as many works by women and BIPOC artists as possible” and its inclusion of a section on the Classic Nudes site meant to highlight diversity in the world of naked art, every work but two on my tour were created by white men.” – Read more on Input Mag

JUly 22nd 2021

Image: Visualisation of new Perrotin gallery in 2021 | L’Atelier Senzu
  1. UK Government Releases Report on Export of Objects of Cultural Interest – The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport have released the report for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20. The top headline is that 12 objects representing a value of £7.6m were saved by the nation. £99.9m worth of deferred objects, including works by John Singer Sargent, Monet and Turner were not saved. Only one painting out of the eleven deferred was saved – Read more on Art News History
  2. How Can Museums Copyright the Works of Old Masters? – If an artwork is in the public domain, free from copyright protection, then how can a museum claim it holds the copyright? – Read more on ALJ
  3. National Gallery picks US architect for Sainsbury Wing upgrade – Selldorf Architects will now work with the National Gallery team to refine its concept and begin extensive engagement and liaison with external stakeholders – Read more on Architects Journal
  4. Why US Regulation is Failing the Cryptocurrency Test – The trade in bitcoin and its brethren has grown too big to be ignored — and yet that is what has happened. No official public data exist on prices, volume or volatility. No single authority regulates crypto exchanges. No one can be certain investors are being properly protected – Read more on FT
  5. Art Basel Attempts a Comeback Despite Raging Global Pandemic – Featuring 273 galleries from 33 countries and territories, this will be the first in-person, city-wide art event in Basel since the pandemic began in early 2020 – Read more on Art Asia Pacific
  6. US Galleries Beginning to Recover from Pandemic – According to the 2021 Covid-19 Impact Survey released today by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), Three-quarters of respondents said they planned to return to exhibiting at in-person art fairs – Read more on Art Forum

JUly 19TH 2021

Image: Damien Hirst, M&M Spot Painting. via My Modern Met
  1. ASIA: U.S. Issues Advisory to Businesses Warning of Hong Kong Risks – The advisory says businesses should consider the potential reputational, economic, and legal risks of maintaining a presence or staff in Hong Kong, and should carry out due diligence – Read more on Reuters
  2. ASIA: China-US relations: Beijing threatens to deal ‘head-on’ blow after latest sanctions over Hong Kong – China vowed to deal a “head-on blow” to the United States after it imposed more sanctions on mainland Chinese officials over Hong Kong and warned American companies of the hazards of doing business in the city – Read more on SCMP
  3. ‘I’m Getting Out’: Britain’s Antiques Dealers Hit by Brexit – Matters are complicated further by the fact that antique items that are more than 100 years old are tariff-free and rated at 5 per cent for VAT, whereas ‘vintage’ items that are less than a century old attract the full 20 per cent rates and even some import duties – Read more on The Financial Times
  4. Damien Hirst Has Created 10,000 Artworks That Can Be NFTs, If You Want – Hirst conceived, in other words, a batch of artworks that could theoretically function as a currency unto itself. “It’s often said that money corrupts art,” says Hage, “but this is an attempt of art corrupting money.” – Read more on Bloomberg
  5. French Museums Face Fresh Legal Action Over Refusal to Restitute Works to Jewish families – attorney Corinne Hershkovitch demanded the restitution of 21 works from the collection of Armand Isaac Dorville. The state claims that the objects were not looted but sold in an estate sale after Dorville’s death. A hearing is planned for September – Read more on The Art Newspaper
  6. What Counts as ‘Fair Use’? Debate Over Warhol’s Appropriation of Prince Photograph Rumbles On – a recent US Supreme Court decision in a lawsuit between technology giant Google and the software company Oracle is now being cited in an ongoing case between the celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts – Read more on The Art Newspaper

JUly 15TH 2021

Image: via Getty
  1. Met Artifact Return Highlights Museums’ Legal, Ethical Risks – The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City recently made headlines with the announcement of its decision[1] to return three artifacts to Nigeria – Read more on Law360
  2. Biden Purges US Commission On Fine Arts – President Joe Biden has demanded the resignation of four of the seven members of the US Commission on Fine Arts (CFA). An independent federal agency, the CFA advises Congress, the president, and the government on aesthetics related to proposals for memorials, renovations of government structures, and the creation of coins and medals – Read more on Art Forum
  3. How NFTs Are Changing The Fashion And Art Landscapes – Up-and-coming brands in the fashion and art industries should follow along with NFT updates and other similar trends. Collaborations with famous fashion designers and artists could be one way of tapping into this market – Read more on Forbes
  4. Diamond Sold for $12 Million in Cryptocurrency at Sotheby’s – A 101.38-carat diamond was sold at Sotheby’s for HK$95.1 million ($12.3 million) in cryptocurrency, becoming the most expensive piece of jewelry sold through such type of payment, the auction house said – Read more on Bloomberg
  5. Venues Across London Recently Staged a Series of Performance Art That’s All for Sale – Collectible performance artwork might seem like a novel concept, but Performance Exchange, which was held in London from July 9 to 11, aimed to give collectors a better understanding of what it means to own a piece of performance art – Read more on Surface Mag
  6. Netflix Faces $25 Million Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Over “Choose Your Own Adventure” Movie from Black Mirror – Netflix’s first interactive movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which has multiple endings and offers viewers the chance to make choices that set them on alternative plot paths, has now become the subject of a $25 million trademark infringement lawsuit – Read more on Expert Institute

JUly 12TH 2021

Image: via NY Daily News
  1. Mexican Politician Arrested in Basquiat, Haring Art Forgery case in New York – Angel Pereda, who was a recent mayoral candidate in Mexico was arrested in New York based on an allegation of wire fraud in what federal law enforcement authorities described as an attempt to get millions of dollars in exchange for peddling four purported pieces by modern art icons Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, federal prosecutors said Friday – Read more on NBC News
  2. The Sacklers Get Away With It for the Price of $4.5 Billion – The Sacklers, who for decades successfully art-washed their fortune by donating to prestigious museums, will also be barred from seeking naming rights to any hospitals, schools, or art institutions until the full sum is paid – NY Mag
  3. The Black Artists + Designers Guild is Offering Four $5,000 Grants to Black Design Students – The nonprofit organization Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) has launched the Creative Futures Grant, which provides monetary support and mentorship to Black-identifying third and fourth-year undergraduate and graduate students studying visual arts, interior design, or architecture – Read more on Surface Mag
  4. The French Government’s Epic Battle to Prevent a Collector From Selling a $18 Million Leonardo Drawing Is Just Heating Up – The collector’s planned sale of the work was thwarted by the French government, which declared it a national treasure in December 2016, banning its export from the country for 30 months while national institutions could gather the funds to make an offer to buy the work – Read more on Artnet
  5. Is Instagram developing NFT functionality? Posts can be purchased as NFTsAccording to a series of screenshots posted on Twitter by mobile developer Alessandro Paruzzi, Instagram is currently developing a feature called “Collectibles” that users can convert their posts to purchaseable NFTs when creating posts – Read more on Bijutsutecho
  6. Estate Planning for Visual Artists: The Sooner The Better – “You should be spending a portion of your time understanding the “business of art.” Estate planning may seem like it won’t help your current career objectives but, in fact, it includes many of the business concepts that make artists successful” – Read more on ALJ

JUly 8TH 2021

Image: ‘Atom’ courtesy the artist Futura ©
  1. The North Face Will Phase Out a Logo That the Street Artist Futura Said It Lifted Illegally From His Work – In court filings, the artist said the company had reduced him to “nothing more than… a self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his work”  – Read more on Artnet News
  2. 5 Reasons Collectors Should Hire an Art Law Attorney – Whether consulting stolen art databases to ensure there are no reported claims, investigating the provenance  to make sure any stated past ownership is accurate and there are no suspicious gaps, or conducting a lien search to confirm there are no creditor claims, these actions can help minimize the risk – Read more on Artsy
  3. A New Hong Kong Museum Show Isn’t Afraid to Offend, But It Could Do MoreThe museum has been known to prevent younger people from seeing works with less explicit sexual imagery. And earlier this year, pro-establishment critics of M+ wanted “immoral” and “vulgar” artworks removed from the museum collection, along with Ai Weiwei’s works or anything deemed anti-China – Read more on SCMP
  4. The Release of ‘$HT Coin’: An NFT Series – An ode to Piero Manzoni’s most famous piece, Merda D’Artista (Artist’s Shit), where the Italian conceptual artist sold 90 cans of 30 grams of excrement for the price of 30 grams of gold as a critique of salacious consumerism, the $HT Coin series will be auctioning off each of its cans for the equivalent price of 30 grams of gold – Read more on Arts Help
  5. Can NFTs Work for Luxury Jewellery? – Jacques Voorhees, now CEO, says NFTs solve an issue that has long troubled the diamond industry. Diamonds are not a tradeable, liquid asset class like gold or silver. As soon as a diamond leaves a jeweller’s shop, it loses value, maybe commanding only 50 per cent of its purchase price – Read more on Vogue Business
  6. Artist Advances Suit Against Property Manager Over Erased Mural – An artist whose commissioned mural on the side of an Oklahoma City building got painted over by its new owner can move forward with claims under federal law against the property management company and its agent – Read more on Bloomberg Law

JULY 5TH 2021

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #1, 2021
  1. An Awkward, Lifeless Shrine: The Diana Statue is a Spiritless Hunk of Nonsense – “It is a religious image that shamelessly plays up to the most mawkish aspects of Diana worship. She deserves to be remembered. But does she need to be turned into a colossal divine protectress of all children?” – Read more on The Guardian
  2. Italy Seeks to Open Its Art Market with Export Threshold Changes – “There have long been calls for their strict export laws to be relaxed and these amendments are a small step in that direction giving more freedom to the lower end of the market, allowing its dealers and citizens greater participation in the international market.” – Read more on Antiques Trade Gazette
  3. Lifting The Veil: Art Deals, The Bank Secrecy Act And The Need For Art FiduciariesThese [AML] requirements, and the proposed capital gains and estate tax law changes, means that art and other tangible and intangible assets, such as copyrights, NFT, and mineral rights to real estate, cannot be just lumped into the same estate planning techniques work for financial assets, as is commonly done today – Read more on Forbes
  4. A Mega Gallery Is Ramping Up Its NFTs, Even as the Market Stalls“We have an art world that’s really closed, and yet its audience is exploding,” says Marc Glimcher, Pace’s president. “Those two things are incompatible, and that has to change.” – Read more on Bloomberg
  5. Can Blockchain Help with Growing Anti-Money Laundering Regulations? – These “blocks” also afford the owner a place for subsequent documents to be stored, such as appraisal or contracts guaranteeing an NFT-based artwork will be continuously maintained and accessible by the seller – Read more on Center for Art Law
  6. Founder of Portugal’s Museu Coleçaõ Berardo Arrested On Fraud Charges – José Berardo, Portugal’s top art collector and the founder of Lisbon’s Museu Coleção Berardo, was arrested June 29 on fraud and money-laundering charges stemming from allegations that he moved high-value artworks into a trust in order to protect them from creditors – Read more on Artforum

JULY 2ND 2021

Image: Pixabay
  1. UK Artists Back Tech Levy for Creatives – Visual artists are backing a campaign for the Smart Fund, a collaboration between the UK’s cultural industries, technology companies and the government. The levy could raise up to £25m for visual artists alone, DACS finds. This would more than double the amount that UK artists currently receive in resale royalties; a pot of about £20m per year – Read more on FT
  2. Florida Man Threatens to Sue Artist Over Invisible Sculpture That Sold for $18,000 USD – artist Tom Miller is threatening to file a lawsuit against Salvatore Garau, claiming that the Italian artist stole his idea and didn’t credit him for it. Miller went on to express that he installed his own invisible sculpture back in 2016. “I simply wanted that attribution so I contacted him, he dismissed it away, and then I hired an Italian attorney,” said Miller – Read more on Hypebeast
  3. What Happens When Artists Die Without Making a Will? Dealer Fights to Save Remains of Fred Yates’s Estate – the Government Legal Department (GLD), which has the final say because Yates died intestate and without heirs, has instead decided to dispose of the art by auction. Now Martin is pleading for it to reconsider – Read more on The Art Newspaper
  4. What happens when Instagram sponsors a mega museum? – The sponsorship deal includes “recognition as the lead sponsor” and Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, is a Met Gala honorary chair. The museum did not disclose the sponsorship value, but in 2015 the New York Times speculated a fee of $1m based on anonymous sources – Read more on TAN
  5. As the Art Industry Has Ballooned, So Has the Number of People Claiming to Be Expert Advisors. Here’s How to Tell If They Actually Are – “At the same time, expectations for professionalism in the industry have become further codified by art lawyers and by the Association of Professional Art Advisors, the only standard-setting association for the advisory industry globally, which I currently lead as president” – Read more on Artnet
  6. Congress Regulates the Antiquities Market – and Perhaps the Art Market – for AML Compliance – What constitutes a red flag to one group may not to another, and moreover, it may take seeing the whole picture to know something is amiss. Cross-sector cooperation and dialogue are thus crucial. Any one group of players, including current U.S. financial institutions, are only as well protected as the weakest link in the chain of a transaction – Read more on Ballard Spahr LLP

JUNE 28TH 2021

Image: Yep Yep magazine, featuring Sifung Law. Source: South China Morning Post.
  1. New Fashion and Art Magazine on Hong Kong Identity Avoids Words Altogether – A new magazine is taking a bold and novel approach to the politically sensitive discussion of Hong Kong identity: by avoiding words altogether. Yep Yep is an experimental fashion and art magazine which, for its launch edition, has asked nine Hong Kong contributors to express their relationships with the city through photographs – Read more on SCMP
  2. Damien Hirst Secures £15m in Government Covid-19 Loans Despite Owing Over £100m to His Parent Company in Jersey – The three-year business interruption loan was made to offshore parent Science (UK), which makes Hirst’s art and then sells it on to his offshore parent company, and Prints and Editions, which buys and sells post-war and contemporary art by other artists – Read more on The Art Newspaper
  3. Yabba Dabba Deal! California Town Settles Suit Over Flintstones House – The owner of a controversial Flintstones-themed house has settled a lawsuit with the San Francisco town of Hillsborough, which alleged she violated local codes when she put dinosaur sculptures in the back yard and made other landscaping changes that caused local officials to declare a public nuisance – Read more on The Guardian
  4. Banksy Launches Legal Bid to Stop Famous Works from Being Copied in Australia – Lawyer Tim Golder, an IP specialist at Allens in Melbourne, said if Banksy wanted to remain anonymous he could not use copyright law to stop people copying his work for commercial gain. “The legal person who owns the right has to make the claim” – Read more on The Sydney Morning Herald
  5. Sotheby’s Owes Billionaire a Buck for Filing Suit Over Art Sales – Sotheby’s Inc. won’t have to cover a Russian billionaire’s $1.5 million in legal fees for breaching an agreement by filing a preemptive lawsuit that the company engaged in fraud by inflating the price of artwork, after the Southern District of New York found the damages speculative – Read more on Bloomberg Law
  6. Sotheby’s Auctions NFT Commemorating Debut Jay-Z Album – A nonfungible token of an artwork celebrating Jay-Z’s debut album, “Reasonable Doubt,” went up for auction at Sotheby’s auction house on Friday, just days after a federal judge halted a co-founder of Jay-Z’s former record label from auctioning off the copyright to the album as an NFT – Read more on Law360

JUNE 24TH 2021

Image: Paolo Cirio, Art Derivatives (2016). Courtesy the artist.
  1. Royal Academy of Arts Accused of Breaking Equality Laws in Jess de Wahls DisputeThe RA, which is one of the UK’s leading cultural institutions, has been accused of breaching the Equality Act by removing from sale embroidered flowers by artist Jess de Wahls over what it described as her “transphobic views” – Read more on The Times
  2. OP-ED: How US Immigration Gets the “Extraordinary Artist” Visa Very WrongInternational artists who wish to work in the United States can do so by applying for the O-1 visa. On examination I found that implicit in the O-1 application that demands colossal documents, testimonials, and cash is an ultimate form of gatekeeping that determines whether one is considered an artist at all – Read more on Hyperallergic
  3. In the West, the Looted Bronzes Are Museum Pieces. In Nigeria, ‘They Are Our Ancestors’For years, Nigeria’s artists, historians, activists and royals have been clamoring to get these pieces back. And, as conversations about racism and the legacy of colonialism have proliferated globally in recent years, some institutions are beginning to respond to these calls – Read more on The NY Times
  4. Regulating the Crypt: A Campaign Against Speculative Practices in the Sale of Digital ArtThe price of each individual artwork for sale on Art-Derivatives.com is 0.00001 percent of the price or estimate publicly reported by the auction house. Yet these derivative artworks stand to increase in value, to be resold at a higher price according to a sales contract — a financial future derivative vehicle — purposely designed to ensure that the value of each work increasesRead more on Flash Art
  5. Italian Authorities Have Seized Nearly 800 Illicit Ancient Artifacts Worth $13M. From a Single Belgian CollectorThe artifacts were taken from unauthorized excavations in Puglia, a region in southern Italy. Among them is a rare funerary artifact, which had previously been on view at exhibitions in Paris and Geneva, along with various amphorae and other pieces of pottery – Read more on Artnet

JUNE 21st 2021

Image: Daniel Arsham
Eroded Basketball, 2020
U Square
  1. As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art SalesThe federal agents who raided a drug dealer’s house in a suburb of Philadelphia found 14 paintings on the walls and another 33 stacked in a storage unit a few miles away from the home of the dealer, Ronald Belciano. The artists included Renoir, Picasso and Salvador Dalí – Read more on The NY Times
  2. Why Do people Want Jeff Bezos to Buy and Eat the Mona Lisa? a Change.org petition started by Kane Powell, a resident of Stevensville, Md. reads: “Nobody has eaten the Mona Lisa and we feel Jeff Bezos needs to take a stand and make this happen” – Read more on NY Times
  3. Daniel Arsham Joins NFT Certification Company The Los Angeles-based lawyer Jeff Gluck and artist Daniel Arsham have teamed up on a new NFT certification and universal minting API aimed at cracking down on fake NFTs. CXIP is likened to “Twitter’s blue check mark” and will be headed by Gluck, with Arsham serving as chief creative officer – Read more on Artnet News
  4. Are NFTs Always Bad?By creating an NFT of “Nyan Cat”—an animation of a cat-Pop-Tart hybrid that became a meme in 2011—that could be indelibly recorded on the blockchain, suddenly a digital artwork whose proliferation was impossible to control—and therefore made any “original” valueless—could have an authentic original with the kind of financial value assigned to original paintings – Read more on Foreign Policy
  5. In a Muffled Hong Kong, Bookstores Offer Freedom of Thought – Beijing’s national security law has brought Beijing imposed a national security law in response to the anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019. The law broadly defined acts of subversion and secession against China, making much political speech potentially illegal, and it threatened severe punishment, including life imprisonment, for offenders – Read more on The NY Times

JUNE 17TH 2021

Courtesy ivan_kislitsin via Shutterstock.
  1. You Really Got Me: Second Circuit Rules in Favor of Met Museum in Fair Use Case Involving Photograph of Van HalenThe Met’s use of the Photograph was sufficiently transformative to constitute fair use. “Whereas Marano’s stated purpose in creating the photo was to show ‘what Van Halen looks like in performance,’ the Met exhibition highlights the unique design of the Frankenstein guitar and its significance in the development of rock n’ roll instruments,” the Court wrote – Read more on Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP Art Law Blog
  2. Putting An End To The Pandemic Means Putting Artists Back to WorkIn what’s been the most precipitous decline of any economic sector, New York State saw half of all performing arts jobs disappear—a rate that climbs to nearly 70 percent when focused on New York City alone – Read more on Time
  3. Intrigue and Treasure: What Makes Museum Heists So Fascinating?According to Erin L Thompson, art crime professor at John Jay College in New York, “So much information has been lost about many artefacts in museums and especially in private collections.” Private ownership does not always provide a paper trail of past ownership. Read more on Aljazeera
  4. Ask Professionals: How Do I Invest in Art? – Only after 25 years do you really know whether an artist will be able to maintain his or her position in art history, says Caroline Lang, President of Sotheby’s Switzerland. There are also a number of criteria that a budding collector should use to assess – Read more on NZZ Switzerland
  5. How Women Artists Have Been Marginalized in the Blockchain DiscourseMany of the women mentioned in this article represent a globally diverse population, with works about their communities and their politics. Sara Ludy used blockchain’s potential to develop new contract practices with her gallery. Claudia Hart imagined how feminism could influence the disruptive practices of blockchain in her Feminist ManifestaRead more on Hyperallergic

JUNE 14TH 2021

A still from Daniel Arsham’s NFT, Eroding and Reforming Bust of Rome (One Year). Source: Daniel Arsham Studio
  1. Parties Settle in Legal Fight Over Robert Indiana’s Legacy – After three years of courtroom hostilities, the estate of the artist Robert Indiana and the artist’s former business partner said Friday that they had agreed to settle the legal disputes that cost the estate millions of dollars. Filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, however terms of the settlement remain undisclosed – Read more on NY Times
  2. Keith Haring’s ‘Untitled’ to be Offered with Option of Paying Final Purchase Price in CryptocurrencyChristie’s will be the first major auction house in Europe to offer a work with the option for the buyer to pay the final purchase price, including Buyer’s Premium, in cryptocurrency. The sale of Keith Haring’s Untitled (1984, estimate: £3,900,000-4,500,000) will also mark the first time that a tangible work of art is being offered in Europe by an auction house with the option to pay in cryptocurrency – Read more on Artdaily
  3. What Spotify’s Broken Artist-Royalty Model Can Teach Us About Inequities in the Art Market – “In art we don’t really do contracts, and that leaves only blind trust. Perhaps some artists have been screwed by this lack of paperwork, but I’ve really benefited from it. The 50/50 sales split between artists and dealers has taken on an almost sacred status in my head, because the label to artist ratio is far more lopsided”Read more on The Gray Market
  4. Throwback: Taxman is Out for Art Market Money Laundering – The US authorities have not entirely made up their minds about how to bring the art world under a bank regulation-like AML regime. After this past January, the antiquities market is covered by the due diligence requirements originally written for banks, partly in reaction to Isis looting of ancient sites – Read more on FT
  5. Contract Killers: Artist Nancy Baker Cahill challenges the efficacy of the ‘smart contracts’ behind NFTs with an Augmented Reality Project – lawyer Sarah Odenkirk warns that the term smart contracts can be very misleading despite the term’s “soundbite appeal”. Since the contracts embedded in NFT’s are essentially just if/then statements, Odenkirk says “auto code” would be a more fitting moniker, because no actual legally binding agreements are included. For now, she adds, “real smart contracts still come from attorneys.” – Read more on Artnet News

JUNE 10TH 2021

Courtesy Lucas Matney.
  1. CryptoPunk NFT Sells For Record $11.7M In Sotheby’s Auction – A non-fungible token of digital artwork called a “CryptoPunk” sold for $11.7M. at Sotheby’s. Dubbed “CryptoPunk 7523”, the piece was bought by Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of fantasy sports and betting company DraftKings – Read more on Law360
  2. British Chinese artists call for boycott of ‘racist’ Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art – British artists of Chinese heritage are calling for a boycott of the long-established Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) in Manchester, northern England, amid allegations of “deep-rooted” institutional racism – Read more on SCMP
  3. Commentary: Art museum endowments soared in the pandemic. So why sell art to pay the bills? – Call it the ‘pandemic dividend’: A rising stock market helped endowments rise as much as 40%, yet museums are still selling pieces of their collections – The LA times
  4. Gallery Weekend Brings London’s Art Scene Back to Life – The event, spread out through the city’s dealerships, brought a model tried elsewhere to one of the sector’s major capitals – The New York Times
  5. Scholars in Belgium, Frustrated With the Government’s Inertia on Restitution, Have Released Their Own Repatriation Guidelines – Concerned by what they say is the government’s lack of interest, a group of Belgian experts have drafted a set of restitution guidelines for dealing with the nation’s colonial collections – Read more on Artnet

JUNE 7TH 2021

Sotheby’s joins Decentraland. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Twitter.
  1. 10 Ways for Museums to Survive and Thrive in a Post-Covid World – (1) building collections; (2) think beyond exhibition; (3) partner beyond the art world; (4) digital, not hi-res; (5) “community” is more than a marketing term; (6) reboot, remake, recontextualize; (7) education is for everyone; (8) build less – art can handle it; (9) one mission, many forms – Read more on NY Times
  2. The Legal Implications of New Forms of Photography – Photography has always been considered a special case. Initially regarded as a reproduction tool, it was slow to be accepted as a means of artistic expression. Others saw it only as a technique and there were many debates. In the French courtroom, the legal issue has always been high since recognition as a work provides important economic prerogatives. The 1985 law marks the beginnings of an evolution by protecting photography qualified as “artistic” or “documentary” – Read more on Gazette Drouot
  3. ASIA: Sales of Artworks in Japan and The Tax System: Things You Should Know – When selling a work owned by an individual, if the sale price of one or a set of art works is 300,000 yen or less, it is considered as “movable property normally necessary for daily life” and is not subject to taxation. If you sell an art work for an amount exceeding 300,000 yen and make a profit on the sale, tax will be levied as capital gains – Read more on Art Law Word JP
  4. The Definition of Judicial Sales Scrutinized – Judicial or voluntary sale? Not always easy to decide.In a recent judgment concerning the sale of Giacometti bronzes at Artcurial, the Paris Court of Appeal covers the issue – Read more on Gazette Drouot
  5. Hobby Lobby Sues Oxford Professor Over Stolen Bible Artifacts – Craft chain Hobby Lobby is going to court again, this time to recover some $7 million it paid a former Oxford University classics professor for ancient fragments of the Christian gospels and other artifacts that turned out to be stolen – Read more on Court House News

JUNE 3rd 2021

Image: Nancy Baker © Infinite Ocean and Sky Islamic Art Festival, United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Museum of Art
  1. 10 Ways for Museums to Survive and Thrive in a Post-Covid World – (1) building collections; (2) think beyond exhibition; (3) partner beyond the art world; (4) digital, not hi-res; (5) “community” is more than a marketing term; (6) reboot, remake, recontextualize; (7) education is for everyone; (8) build less – art can handle it; (9) one mission, many forms – Read more on NY Times
  2. The Legal Implications of New Forms of Photography – Photography has always been considered a special case. Initially regarded as a reproduction tool, it was slow to be accepted as a means of artistic expression. Others saw it only as a technique and there were many debates. In the French courtroom, the legal issue has always been high since recognition as a work provides important economic prerogatives. The 1985 law marks the beginnings of an evolution by protecting photography qualified as “artistic” or “documentary” – Read more on Gazette Drouot
  3. ASIA: Sales of Artworks in Japan and The Tax System: Things You Should KnowWhen selling a work owned by an individual, if the sale price of one or a set of art works is 300,000 yen or less, it is considered as “movable property normally necessary for daily life” and is not subject to taxation. If you sell an art work for an amount exceeding 300,000 yen and make a profit on the sale, tax will be levied as capital gains – Read more on Art Law Word JP
  4. The Definition of Judicial Sales ScrutinizedJudicial or voluntary sale? Not always easy to decide.In a recent judgment concerning the sale of Giacometti bronzes at Artcurial, the Paris Court of Appeal covers the issue – Read more on Gazette Drouot
  5. Hobby Lobby Sues Oxford Professor Over Stolen Bible ArtifactsCraft chain Hobby Lobby is going to court again, this time to recover some $7 million it paid a former Oxford University classics professor for ancient fragments of the Christian gospels and other artifacts that turned out to be stolen – Read more on Court House News