I will be speaking to the Copyright Society of the USA on Thursday May 10, 2018 at 5:30 pm at Northeastern University Law School at 250 Dockser Hall – 65 Forsythe Street in Boston. The presentation will discuss the legal and ethical implications of recent sales or proposed sales by museums of works of art in their collections, including the Barnes Foundation, the Corcoran, and the Berkshire Museum. The event is free of charge and open to the public. RSVP is preferred but not required, see attached flyer for details. the event is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and Northeastern’s Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity.
As the ball teeters above Times Square, and the Glühwein begins to mull on the Art Law Report stove (don’t forget the cinnamon!), a gimmicky but apropos act of reflection is to look back at the biggest stories of 2014, both in art law generally and for yours truly and Sullivan & Worcester LLP. In highly subjective, unverifiable, and immediately criticizeable order, here they are. Thanks as always for reading, and best wishes for in interesting, prosperous New Year. If you agree, disagree, or otherwise, please continue to stay in touch and carry the conversation forward.
Topics: Comedy Central, Deaccession, Schwabinger Kunstfund, Charitable Foundations, National Gallery of Art, Knoedler, Cornelius Gurlitt, Blogs, authentication, authenticity, parody, William Corcoran, Moral Rights, Above the Law, Germany, George Washington University, Glühwein, Nazi-looted art, Gurlitt Collection, Norton Simon, Graffiti Art, Superior Court, Cy Pres, Washington DC, VARA, Detroit Institute of Arts, Bankruptcy, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Dumb Starbucks, Preemption, Asher Edelman, DIA, Restitution, Marei Von Saher, Artmentum GmbH, Bavaria, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, World War II, Copyright, Times Square, Art Fairs, Kunstmuseum Bern, Corcoran Gallery, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Museums, Raubkunst, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use, Münchner Kunstfund, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity, Graffiti, Civil Forfeiture, Art Law Report
As I have before, I wanted to mark the third anniversary of this blog since we posted three articles on September 15, 2011. In the last year, you (the reader) have helped the Report grow beyond our most optimistic hopes. We have done our best to cover significant events like the Gurlitt saga and restitution issues, the Detroit bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery merger, auction houses and privacy in New York, the Beastie Boys GoldieBlox and copyright/fair use, the “flea market Renoir” case, and so much more. Our monthly traffic in year three has almost surpassed the readers in all of year one, and the sky is the limit. As always, the goal remains to present a fresh perspecive on these legal issues affecting the visual arts and its institutions, of use and interest both to the lawyer and non-lawyer alike.
Topics: Deaccession, Gurlitt Collection, Cy Pres, the Art Law Report, Gurlitt, Restitution, GoldieBlox, Copyright, Detroit Instiute of Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Beastie Boys, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use
As reported initially, Judge Robert Okun of the District of Columbia Superior Court allowed yesterday the cy prés petition by the trustees of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The full opinion can be read here. The petition asked to reform the trust of William Corcoran to permit a merger with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, a merger that will now proceed. The ruling addresses the financial condition of the Corcoran at length, but what is perhaps most interesting is the court’s acceptance of a central argument made by the Corcoran that selling its artwork to shore up its finances was an unacceptable way to proceed. This adopts the view, espoused most prominently by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), that deaccessioning for anything other than the purchase or care of art is anathema. Right or wrong, that acceptance in this opinion should have long lasting effects. Framing the question in this way was a work of skilled lawyering by the Corcoran’s attorneys, and kudos must go as well to the interveners and their counsel, without whom the other side of the story would have had no advocates at the trial. Those interveners have stated that they do not intend to appeal, meaning the case is over. Jayme McLellan, founder of Save the Corcoran, issued a statement after the ruling that “The Corcoran as we know it is gone. We fought the good fight." Incidentally, in response to our earlier reporting of McLellan’s role, I received an e-mail yesterday from Mimi Carter, the Corcoran’s Vice President, Marketing & Communication. Ms. Carter stated “Jayme McLellan was not fired from the Corcoran. She resigned in 2012, as mentioned on the first day of court hearings, citing differences with leadership. While there was a miscommunication with Ms. McLellan because of a lack of internal systems, due to a diminished staff and finances, she was not offered a contract to teach this coming Fall. Statements of retaliation are simply false.”
Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Middles States Commission on Higher Education, Harry Hopper III, Anne Smith, Deaccession, Kathy Raffa, National Gallery of Art, Chiara Trabucchi, Industrial Economics, Jayme McLellan, William Corcoran, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, sanctions, Corcoran Merger, University of Maryland, Deaccessioning, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, District of Columbia Superior Court, AAM Code of Ethics, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Lauren Stack, Alexander Haas, Paul Johnson, Trusts, Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Steven Knapp, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, New York Times, Sean O’Connor, Caroline Lacey, MSCHE, Dr. Wallach Loh, Deaccessioning Blog, Art Law Report, Mimi Carter, National Public Radio
News broke this afternoon that Judge Robert Okun has allowed the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College of Art + Design’s News broke this afternoon that Judge Robert Okun has allowed the Corcoran Gallery and Corcoran College of Art + Design’s cy prés petition to modify their governing trust to merge operations with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington university. I do not have a copy of the opinion yet, but Rebecca Cooper at the Washington Business Journal quotes the opinion as follows:
Topics: Deaccession, Washington Business Journal, National Gallery of Art, George Washington University, Rebecca Cooper, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Trusts, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, The Atlantic, Corcoran
The two-week trial over the possible reformation of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art + Design ended last week, with Judge Robert Okun expected to rule by the end of the month.
Topics: Deaccession, National Gallery of Art, Jayme McLellan, Andrew Tulumello, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, Charles Patrizia, Deaccessioning, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, Corcoran College of Art + Design, William Corcoran¸ Kriston Capps, Trusts, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, Lynn Sures, Peggy Loar, The Atlantic, Corcoran
Judge Robert Okun closed the first week of hearings yesterday on the proposed modifications to the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art + Design in Washington, DC. The Corcoran’s trustees have petitioned the DC Superior Court for cy prés, to modify the trust that governs the two institutions to allow mergers with the National Gallery and George Washington University. All told, reports indicate that both sides have made strong presentations of the financial hardship on the one hand, and the possibility that the proposal may not be the only way out of this on the other.
Topics: Linda Daschle, Deaccession, Kenneth Duberstein, George Washington University, William “Billy” Martin, University of Maryland, Adrian M. Fenty, Wayne Reynolds, Cy Pres, Corcoran College of Art + Design, Catherine Merrill Williams, Wallace D. Loh, Buffy Cafritz, Lauren Stack, Frank Connor III, Trusts, The Washington Post, Corcoran Gallery, Museums, Susan Molinari, Harry F. Hopper III, National Gallery, Graham Holdings, Richard Okun, Marcus Brauchli
The Washington Business Journal‘s Rebecca Cooper tweeted today from the courtroom today that District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun has allowed in part the motion to intervene in the Corcoran Gallery cy prés petition. Reports are that current students of the College of Art + Design, as well as current Corcoran employees were allowed to intervene, while intervention was denied to the organization “Save the Corcoran” and past employees and students.
Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Deaccession, Washington Business Journal, National Gallery of Art, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, Lee Rosenbaum, Rebecca Cooper, Cy Pres, Judge Robert Okun, District of Columbia Superior Court, Corcoran College of Art + Design, District Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Trusts, Corcoran Gallery, District of Columbia, Museums
The Washington, DC District Attorney Irvin Nathan has filed his brief concerning the Corcoran Gallery’s cy prés petition to reform the museum and College of Art + Design with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. To put it succinctly, “The District supports entry of the Proposed Order because the proposed cy pres relief will allow the Corcoran’s assets to continue to be used in D.C. consistently with the charitable purposes to which they have been dedicated.” The brief also addresses and bears on the question of the “Save the Corcoran” motion to intervene and standing, which will be argued tomorrow (which the underlying petition will not). The DA brief leans heavily on the downside of the alternative: deaccession leading to industry sanction, which may be a little circular.
Topics: Deaccession, National Gallery of Art, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, Cy Pres, Corcoran College of Art + Design, District Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Trusts, Corcoran Gallery, District of Columbia, Museums
The trustees of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art +Design have responded to the recent motion by a group of students, faculty, staff, and interested supporters have filed a motion to intervene in the Corcoran’s cy prés petition to merge with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. The proposed interveners, led by a group called “Save the Corcoran,” argues that the modification is unjustified and fails to take alternatives into account. More seriously, the motion to intervene accuses the trustees of “peculiar and egregious mismanagement.” We reviewed the motion when it was filed. While it goes over the case against merger, the challenge they face is demonstrating a specific and particular interest not already represented by a party to the case. One never knows, but that seemed unlikely to us. Even if unsuccessful, however, the motion lays out a passionate case against the merger that will be in the record one way or another.
Topics: Deaccession, National Gallery of Art, Save the Corcoran, George Washington University, Cy Pres, Corcoran College of Art + Design, District Attorney General Irvin Nathan, Trusts, Washington Post, Corcoran Gallery, District of Columbia, Museums