Reposted from The National Law Review
New York Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit by the London-based The Mayor Gallery (The Mayor) against the owners of the Pace Gallery based on allegations that defendants “unlawfully declared that thirteen authentic Agnes Martin artworks are fakes, resulting in a loss … of more than $7 million.” The lawsuit asserted that defendants were financially motivated to exclude the works from their catalogue raisonné. In a 16-page decision dismissing the lawsuit, Justice Andrea Masley called the claims “vague” and “speculative.” The Mayor’s initial complaint was dismissed in 2018 as lacking merit; now, the court found that the new complaint did not assert any new facts to avoid dismissal. The Mayor reportedly anticipates appealing the decision.
Cady Noland’s Lawsuit Over Log Cabin Sculpture Hinges on Procedural Issues of Standing and Jurisdiction
Artist Cady Noland has filed her third complaint in a lawsuit alleging that a German collector’s unauthorized restoration of her famous Log Cabin Blank With Screw Eyes and Cafe Door (1990) sculpture “amounted to the creation of an unauthorized copy of the original.” Her lawsuit was dismissed twice before, with leave to re-plead, on the grounds that Ms. Noland’s complaint failed to state legally viable copyright infringement claims under the U.S. Copyright Act. Her latest complaint needs to demonstrate that an act of alleged infringement occurred in the United States and not abroad in order to survive another motion to dismiss. The defense has filed yet another motion to dismiss, arguing that the third complaint does not state that the alleged infringement first took place in the United States, but rather in Germany, and as such, Ms. Noland’s challenges in this case are not actionable under the U.S. Copyright Act.
Thrift Shop Sketch Is a Schiele Original
A “part time art handler” who frequents second-hand shops purchased a sketch from a New York Habitat for Humanity thrift store that he believed to be an original by the expressionist Egon Schiele. The sketch now has been authenticated by Jane Kallir, owner of the Galerie St. Etienne, leading expert on Egon Schiele and the author of his catalogue raisonné. Ms. Kallir believes that Schiele sketched the work in 1918, the same year he died. The work appears to be a study for Schiele’s final lithograph, Girl, which also was completed in 1918. The sketch is now for sale and the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, announced plans to donate a portion of the sale proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.
British Art Dealer Jailed by New York Court for Defrauding Clients
Timothy Sammons, a British art dealer who operated from offices in London, Zurich and New York, was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison by a New York court after pleading guilty to grand larceny, a scheme to defraud and other counts. It was alleged that Sammons misappropriated the proceeds from sales of art on behalf of his clients and used art that did not belong to him as collateral to obtain personal loans. District Attorney Cyrus Vance noted that besides suffering monetary losses, victims lost “valuable pieces of artwork that had been in their families for generations.” Sammons will reportedly serve his sentence in a New York state prison.
Baltimore Museum of Art Will Devote 2020 Exhibits to Women Artists to Address Diversity Gaps
The Baltimore Museum of Art is expanding its campaign to minimize diversity gaps by focusing on women in the coming year. The program, called 2020 Vision, begins in October 2019 by focusing on American Women Modernists such as Georgia O’Keefe. The program also will include a large-scale installation by Mickalene Thomas that will transform the museum’s East Lobby into a “living room.” Other highlights reportedly include “an exploration of Candice Breitz’s socio-political video works, a Joan Mitchell retrospective, an exhibition of beaded works by 19th-century Lakota women and African Art and the Matrilineage, a show documenting the role of maternal power in African art in the 19th through mid-20th centuries.”
NYC Allocates Record $212 Million to Department of Cultural Affairs
Exceeding last year’s record-setting allocation of $198.4 million with this year’s $212 million budget, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs is poised to expand on the success of its CreateNYC Action Plan, a program with the goal of having “a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable cultural sector with access to the arts for all citizens of New York.” This year the program expanded its tenets to include commitments to increase funding to underserved communities, emphasize inclusive practices, solidify its relationship with the city government, address the affordability crisis, and improve public school art education. Since 2017, New York City has distributed more than $1.1 billion in arts and culture financing, more than any other U.S. city.
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