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Ace Hardware logged record online sales over the peak five-day holiday shopping weekend from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Ace Hardware saw record single-day online sales on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, fueled by strong demand for grills and smokers, electric mowers and snow blowers and power tools.

Ace Hardware recorded strong sales on AceHardware.com over the entire Cyber 5 weekend, including a 45% increase in sales on Black Friday over sales in 2021 and a 33% increase in sales on Cyber Monday. Ace Hardware attributes its success in these categories to a variety of factors, including convenience, brand name merchandise and unique promotions that make it easy for consumers to purchase large-ticket items and have them delivered ready-to-use from a local Ace store.

“Our strong increase in sales over the Cyber 5 weekend is a testament to our organizational focus of being the best in service, quality and convenience for our customers. Our continuous investments in the digital and omnichannel shopping experience make it easy for customers to shop Ace any way they prefer,” says Bill Kiss, head of digital at Ace Hardware. “These results don’t happen without our retailers always serving their customers with award-winning service. 90% of Ace’s online orders are either picked up in store, curbside or hand delivered by our local red vested hero store associates.”

Ace Hardware recently ranked second on Total Retail’s sixth annual Top 100 Omnichannel Retailers report. The report ranks leading retailers’ and brands’ ability to integrate digital and physical channels to provide consumers with a seamless shopping experience. 

With record Cyber 5 sales to start the holiday shopping season, Ace Hardware will continue to focus on its omnichannel shopping experience as the cornerstone of its sales strategy, offering the best in service and convenience for its customers seeking out quality holiday gifts for friends and relatives.





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A record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend, which included the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The total number of shoppers grew by nearly 17 million from 2021 which is the highest figure since NRF first started tracking this data in 2017.





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The lawmakers from Brazil approved the crypto bill to allow crypto circulation in the country.

Brazil is a highly crypto-friendly region in the world. In this Latin American country, buying & selling crypto assets is fully legal and also people can use cryptocurrencies as a payment option via third-party crypto & fiat-linked processor companies. In Brazil, Crypto assets are recognized as movable digital property. 

Just recently House bill 4401/21 was approved by the lawmakers of Brazil. The final approval of this bill will allow the use of Bitcoin as a payment option and also all the crypto assets will fall under the category of investment assets class. In short, Bitcoin will get better adoption support in this Latin American country, which was already friendly to the crypto sector because of the existing laws. 

This bill also aims to impose a more clear regulation on the crypto service providers like crypto exchanges. Reports also claim that the new bill allows the Central Bank of Brazil to be involved directly in the management of Bitcoin use in the payment system. The country’s securities regulatory body will manage the crypto regulation work. 

Few experts believe that crypto use in the payment systems is already at a better level in this country because of the role of many crypto companies, which helps to facilitate payments via crypto network support. 

But the latest initiative by Brazilian lawmakers is showing that the country is ready to move toward crypto adoption at a better level under a fully regulated environment for investors. 

In the present time, there is only El Salvador, as a single Latin country, which uses Bitcoin as a legal tender in a country where people can use Bitcoin as the payment option in the whole country via the use of the national digital Bitcoin wallet Chivo. 

Read also: Huobi crypto exchange also will help Dominica to design national digital currency



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Book Review: “Hitler’s Last Hostages” (2019)





By Madhulika Murali.

What do art and fascism have in common? More than one might think, as Mary M. Lane details in her thorough exploration of how art came to play a powerful role in the ideology and history of Nazi Germany. In her new non-fiction book entitled Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich (PublicAffairs, 2019), Lane writes about Adolf Hitler’s failed career as an artist and underlines the way in which the wider art world served as a political tool for the German government during WWII. The “last hostages,” as the book skillfully charts, are the Nazi-looted artworks that continue to remain unsettled in contemporary German society.

Summary

The book opens with a dynamic account of the Cornelius Gurlitt case in 2013. Cornelius Gurlitt was the son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, often referred to as Hitler’s art dealer. German authorities broke into Cornelius Gurlitt’s apartment and subsequently discovered around 1,200 works of art, spanning those by Picasso and Matisse.[1] These artworks were discovered to have been stolen during the Nazi era, including Otto Mueller’s “Portrait of Maschka Mueller” (1925) and Otto Dix’s “Self Portrait Smoking” (c. 1912-14).[2] Lane herself spent several years investigating and reporting on the case and how the German government dealt with the issue of restitution. In order to explore the significance of Nazi-looted art in contemporary German society, she details the influence of art and artists on German politics from the early 1900s through to the 1950s. The conclusion is that art — an obsession of Hitler’s — was a core aspect of how fascism was developed and sustained in Nazi Germany, and its hangover remains today in the inadequacies of the German government’s response to looted art.

More specifically, Lane explores the question of how the art world came to influence Nazi Germany so powerfully in a fulsome, if occasionally confusing, manner. She focuses in-depth on Hitler’s personal journey as a failed artist in order to contextualize his fixation with art that would persist throughout his political career. She also maps the career of German artist George Grosz, whose political art often critiqued or satirized the occurring rise of German nationalism, in order to offer a detailed example of how Hitler and his government suppressed political dissent by classifying such art as “Degenerate Art.” This classification ultimately led to Grosz’s migration to the United States moments before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. Through the targeting and purging of various similar artists by galleries and art dealers, the potential for art to question the status quo was stifled, while art that expressed Hitler’s version of the Aryan ideal was promoted, in which not only the government but also artists, art dealers, curators, gallerists, arts events coordinators participated. Herein lies the central discovery that the art world played a significant role in drawing from and reinforcing Nazi-era fascism. The case Lane makes is convincing, through an extensive narrative of Grosz’s life, allowing the reader to grasp the thematic connection of the various art historical events.

Lane concludes that the art world’s past involvement in Nazi Germany has contemporary significance, exemplified by Germany’s somewhat unsatisfactory response post-Gurlitt. Lane notes the tendency of various German actors, such as government-funded museums, the Culture Ministry, and the legislature, to “point fingers”[3] at each other instead of shouldering responsibility for a “broken restitution system.”[4] Given the injustice of looted art, particularly so when this is contextualized in German history, this is a cause for concern. “The prevailing German attitude was that the Holocaust should be remembered annually in speeches and ceremonies, but its victims should let go of hope that they would recover stolen property,” is her indictment.[5]

Impressions

Ultimately, the book raises salient questions about the role of art in political life. As the contemporary world has seen, art has played an important role in political activism and social justice movements, spanning artists such as the Guerrilla Girls and Kara Walker. The art world, however, is also known for its undeniable elitism and exclusion, made all the more troublesome by the role played in upholding fascism in 1930s and 1940s Germany, as explained by Lane. Learning from the past would be a welcome endeavor for the art world, in Lane’s eyes. Art does indeed influence public and political life. In that vein, there is no reason why the art world should be above the journey of introspection and self-critique that other public institutions embark on.

About the Book: Mary M. Lane, Hitler’s Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich (PublicAffairs, 2019), ISBN 1610397363, available here.

About Mary M. Lane: Mary M. Lane is a nonfiction journalist and writer. After graduating from Middlebury College, she went on to receive a German Academic Exchange Service Journalism Scholarship in 2010 and a Fulbright Journalism Scholarship for 2010 through 2011. She gained recognition as the chief European Art Reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in which capacity she conducted journalistic work on the Gurlitt trove case.


Endnotes:

  1. Hili Perlson, Hildebrand Gurlitt Built a Brilliant Trove of Art Under the Nazis. Two New Exhibitions Show His Taste, and His Duplicity., Art Net (Feb. 19 2020) https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/gurlitt-trove-bern-bonn-shows-1137587
  2. Sarah Cascone, The Notorious Collection of Nazi-Looted Art Amassed by Hildebrand Gurlitt Will Travel for an Emotional Show in Jerusalem, Art Net (Feb. 19 2020) https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/gurlitt-trove-israel-1644586
  3. Mary M. Lane, Hitler’s Last Hostages (2019) at 264.
  4. id. at 265.
  5. id. at 246.

About the Author: Madhulika Murali was a Fall 2019 legal intern at the Center for Art Law. She is undertaking a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at New York University School of Law, focusing on how law relates to social justice. She completed her undergraduate law degree at the University of Oxford (U.K.) and specialized in human rights law. Madhulika can be reached at mm10773@nyu.edu.










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Book Review: “The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It” (2020) by Alice Procter





By Amber Lee

In her book The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It, art historian and anthropologist Alice Procter analyzes specific pieces of artworks and archaeological finds and discusses how museums, as well as galleries, have used these remnants of the colonial past to shape narratives that intentionally leave out the voices of many historically exploited peoples. To that end, The Whole Picture is largely a critique of art and cultural institutions and a discussion on their roles in perpetuating racism in our society.

In the introduction of The Whole Picture, Procter discusses the purpose of a museum, drawing the reader’s attention to museums’ failure to represent complete stories through curatorial decisions, which are often politically motivated. She highlights the importance of viewing objects from former colonies more critically as society tends to overlook the legacies of imperial violence.

The Whole Picture is divided into four parts, with each part devoted to a specific type of space: the Palace, the Classroom, the Memorial, and the Playground. The parts are then further subdivided into smaller chapters describing various objects in that particular space.

Part Summaries

Part I—The Palace: In this section, Procter describes a type of gallery space—the “Palace”— called so because royal residences and aristocratic homes were where the idea of the museum first came about. The Louvre, Procter writes, is the “archetypal Palace museum” since it was one of the first Palaces to transition from being a private palace to a public museum. While the objects in this section are not all linked to colonial history, Procter included them because of their significance in demonstrating how the specific tastes of their collectors shaped and influenced the institutions we have today.

For example, Chapter I: Vases and Attitudes recounts how Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy to the Kingdom of Naples in the 18th century, built his private collection of Greek antiquities and had his wife, Emma, reenact scenes from the vases in his collection (essentially adding her to his “collection” and objectifying her in the process). When the British Museum made its first major purchase in 1772, a large portion of the haul came from Sir Hamilton’s collection.

One of the most fascinating chapters of Part I is perhaps Chapter 4: An Offering, where Procter analyzes Spiridione Roma’s allegorical painting, “The East Offering Its Riches to Britannia” (1778), and discusses how the East India Company used this painting to perpetuate the myth of the “benevolent” Company narrative. In this chapter, Procter notes that even though a museum was added to the East India House in 1790 to feature portraits of Company officers and other objects taken from India, most of the East India House–including the Revenue Committee Room where Roma’s painting originally hung–was off-limits to the general public. Procter thus argues that the placement of such art and objects in an intimate setting, as well as the painting’s availability only to a select group (the Company’s members), make the East India House a hallmark Palace.

Roma’s painting was eventually relocated to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which presents yet another set of challenges as it is difficult to see the painting without access to a civil servant. Equally troubling is the fact that this “continuing, insidious story of imperialism” now sits in a building dedicated to foreign policy as a decorative background to the day-to-day running of the office.

Part II—The Classroom: In this section, Procter explores spaces that are more concerned with cataloging than with personal curation, such as fairs and the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations’ (held in London in 1851). Although the goal of the Classroom is to democratize knowledge, Procter notes the objects presented in here are still restricted by the Eurocentric views of many institutions and by hierarchies that define objects as “useful” or “good.” As a result, certain stories and effects of the colonial past are left untold. For example, in Chapter 9: Abolitionists, Procter delves into a discussion on the lack of representation of Black abolitionists in the National Portrait Gallery in London, drawing special attention to Thomas Lawrence’s incomplete 1828 painting of a British abolitionist, William Wilberforce, as a metaphor for how certain marginalized groups have historically been left out of the narrative on the abolitionist movement.

Chapter 11: The Shield is devoted to the discussion on deaccessioning and repatriation of objects that belong to former colonies. Here, Procter highlights some of the difficulties posed by such efforts in England as the British Museum Act of 1963 sets out a rigid and inflexible criterion for deaccessioning objects.

Part III—The Memorial: Procter describes the Memorial as “a place of commemoration, and often of grief.” In this section, Procter introduces her readers to the emotionally evocative and often disturbing displays of people and human remains, human zoos, and of violence.

The collections housed in this space often tell stories of some traumatic past resulting from colonialism. Chapter 13: Mokomokai, for example, recounts how mokomokai—traditionally preserved heads of the Maori people—became collectors’ favorites in Europe, which threatened this sacred funerary practice due to the Maori’s increasing fear that the heads of their relatives might be taken away for sale. Procter also addresses the issues surrounding the repatriation of human remains, as well as the question of whether it is ever appropriate to display human remains in museums.

Chapter 14: Mining the Museum considers Fred Wilson’s 1992 exhibition of the same name in which he reframed the Maryland Historical Society’s collection to highlight narratives on slavery that has often been hidden from view.

Chapter 16: The Coffin took on an even more somber tone as Procter discusses the Emmett Till Memorial—a memorial dedicated to the 14-year-old African American who was lynched in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman and which features Till’s coffin with a photograph of Till’s mutilated face at the head of the coffin. As disturbing as it may be, Procter writes that the display was permitted by Till’s mother, who wanted people to see what she had seen.

Part IV: The Playground: In this final section, Procter explores pieces and installations that are often experiential, interactive, surreal, and even humorous; hence, the name of this gallery—“The Playground.” For example, Chapter 17: Museum Highlights examines two of Andrea Fraser’s performance pieces that aim to criticize the museum as an institution. The title of this chapter, “Museum Highlights,” refers to Fraser’s performance piece in which she impersonated a museum docent on a pretend tour (unbeknownst to the museum patrons) as a form of meta-commentary on the museum and the vanity of collectors and patrons as the supposed gatekeepers of “an ‘enlightened’ space.”

As works in the Playground are not necessarily confined to a traditional gallery space, artists here seem to have more creative leeway to question who gets to speak about history and identity. In Chapter 19: The Ship, Procter discusses the practice of monuments as commemorating certain historical figures to the exclusion of others, drawing specific attention to British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” (2010), a scale model of HMS Victory enclosed in a large glass bottle with sails made of patterned textiles after an Indonesian technique. Here, Procter describes the work and its relocation at length, discussing Shonibare’s attempt to refocus historical narrative that tends to overlook sailors of color in the British Navy by bringing these untold stories to the foreground.

Chapter 20: Sugar Baby considers Kara Walker’s 2014 “A Subtlety,” a large temporary installation in the Domino Sugar Refining Plant, in Brooklyn, New York, of a sugar sculpture depicting a Black woman as a naked sphynx. “A Subtlety” was made as an homage to the exploited artisans of the sugar industry, a final monument to the refinery’s history before the site was redeveloped into a high-end residential space. In this chapter, Procter observes how the audience “misbehaved” by taking selfies and making fun of the sculpture’s body, essentially re-enacting the violation of enslaved women throughout history.

Impressions

The Whole Picture is a fantastic introduction to how society may reconsider objects that art and cultural institutions hold within their collections and how these objects strengthen specific narratives at the expense of others. Procter challenges her readers to take a deeper look at museum practices and their role in perpetuating racist views through curatorial decisions that are often skewed by political, historical, and personal biases. The book’s discussion on the removal of colonial monuments is also timely considering the renewed wave of civil rights movement in the United States and other parts of the world.

The history of colonialism is a painful subject to tackle. However, the book reminds its readers that — despite the political and legal hurdles that might hinder efforts to decolonize museums and other cultural institutions — museums cannot exist without visitors. In other words, we, as part of the audience, can play a part in finally allowing the stories of those who have been silenced throughout history be heard.

About the Book: Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It (Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, 2020), ISBN 9781 788401555, available here.

About Alice Procter: Alice Procter is a historian of material culture with a B.A. in Art History and an M.A. in Anthropology, and she focuses her research on the intersection of postcolonial art practice and colonial material culture. Additionally, she runs tours, talks, workshops, and podcasts as The Exhibitionist.

  1. Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The Colonial Story of the Art in Our Museums & Why We Need to Talk About It (2020).
  2. The Exhibitionist, https://www.theexhibitionist.org/#about-alice (last visited July 31, 2020).

About the Author:

Amber Lee was a Summer 2020 Intern at the Center for Art Law. She is in the Class of 2021 at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and received her undergraduate degree in visual arts and emerging media management from the University of Central Florida. She can be reached at lee.amber@ufl.edu.










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Huobi crypto exchange teamed up with TronDao to design the sovereign digital currency “DMC coin” for Dominica.

Dominica is an Island country that hired the TronDao team to develop blockchain technology-based digital currency for Dominica. The developers of TronDao also will design the Dominica I’d KYC system which will be fully based on blockchain technology. TronDao is a team founded by Justin Sun. TronDao is known for its Tron blockchain network (TRC-20). TRX is a native Token on the Tron blockchain and this coin is popularly known as the best coin in the list of flagship assets because of its ability to transfer funds through its network fastly & efficiently. 

Related: Tron Will Help To Design The Sovereign Digital Currency Of Dominica

On 29 November, Justin Sun, Tron founder, announced through his Twitter account that Huobi Global exchange teamed up with TronDao to work on Dominic Coin & ID KYC development work. 

Justin Sun & Multiple Crypto Projects

As we know Justin Sun is the Founder of Tron blockchain but he is no longer in the crypto industry as an official participant. In late 2021, Justin left the crypto sector to work as the brand ambassador of the Grenada government to the World Trade Organization. 

No doubt that he is no longer in the crypto sector at any official job position but in reality, he remains active to talk about crypto Projects & helping crypto adoption. 

In his career, he founded many crypto projects like WinkLink (Win), BitTorrent (BTT), JustSwap (JST), and Sunswap (Sun). He is also the owner of multiple crypto projects like Poloniex, Huobi Global, etc. 

At present, Justin is one of the board members at Huobi Global but he never admitted that he owns any stake in Huobi exchange. 

In the past, few reports claimed that Justin many times was involved in several crypto projects as a manipulator and took many steps against applicable regulatory frameworks, in order to launch crypto project forcibly.

Read also: Binance acquires Japanese crypto exchange SEBC



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Book Review: “A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law” (2018)





By Lucy Siegel

In his recent publication, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (Brill Research Perspectives, 2018), philosophy and art theory professor Andrea Baldini questions the dynamic between street art and law, explores questions of illegality, discusses the distinction between art and vandalism, and proposes his ideal for how the law and street art should relate. To start, Baldini sets as the goal to investigate the impact the law has on the illegal nature of street art, specifically intellectual property rights, copyright, and moral rights. Throughout the work, Baldini critiques other legal and philosophical scholars while suggesting alternative theories with logical explanations, and theorizes how illegality impacts society’s understanding and purpose for street art. He mainly draws on American law and examples of street art from the United States while intertwining international examples, laws, and cases.

In his introduction, Baldini aquaints readers with the idea of street art as a subcultural art form. Here, he explores how street art differs from conventional art, and defines street art and its fundamental elements. Baldini denotes street art as subversive, claiming “subversive value is what street artworks share, and is what makes street art the art kind that it is.”[1] Baldini also emphasizes the role street art plays in deconstructing what is appropriate in public spaces, claiming this makes street art inherently anti-capitalist, as public space norms comply with capitalist economies. He goes on to claim this implicit anti-capitalist nature gives street art “aesthetic-political” value. This definition hinges on street art being illegal and does not include public art and murals commissioned by public programs.

Throughout the book, Baldini contemplates the subversiveness of street art and what it means for the legal understanding of street art. In the first chapter, Baldini examines metaphysical issues with the relationship between street art and the law, primarily if illegality is a necessary or sufficient condition of street art. He argues illegality is simply a “salient” property of street art instead of a condition. In the next chapter, Baldini explores the debate over street art as vandalism or art. Baldini determines the binary choices of vandalism or art do not apply to street art, instead suggesting vandalism is an artistic tool used by street artists to give their work meaning. In the final chapter, Baldini questions if legal artistic rights should be afforded to street artists, concluding that extending property rights to street artists is antithetical to the subversiveness of street art and would erase the existence of street art as we know it today.

In his conclusion, Baldini reasserts that copyright laws and moral rights as they stand right now are not the answer to solving the complicated legal relationship between street art and the law. He claims extending property rights to street artists would destroy the subversiveness of street art, one of its already established fundamental properties. Street art is outlaw art according to Baldini, and anything that compromises this undermines the concept of street art. Thus, Baldini instead suggests an alternative approach to redefining the relationship between street art and the law.

Baldini on the 5Pointz Case

Within the discussion about street art and the law in his final chapter, Baldini comments on the ongoing 5Pointz case. This case, Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., resulted in 21 street artists receiving millions of dollars in statutory damages after the property owners of a Long Island City warehouse known as 5Pointz destroyed their works without prior notice, after allowing the artists to use the building as a canvas for a decade.[2] The artists used the Visual Artists’ Rights Act of 1990, better known as “VARA” to argue that the whitewashing was an infringement on their moral rights, which the E.D.N.Y and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with and awarded them with $6.75 million in damages.[3]

Baldini claims “5Pointz bears little relevance for a discussion of street art and the right of integrity.” In his opinion, as the site became a graffiti destination for tourists, it was commercialized in a way that is antithetical to the subversive nature of street art. Since the warehouse transitioned into a spot of authorized and marketed graffiti, the works lost their legitimacy as street art. Thus, Baldini does not see the legal battle between 5Pointz street artists and the property owners as related to his philosophical conversation about the relationship between street art and the law.

Impressions

A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law is a fascinating exploration of the qualifying elements of street art such as illegality, vandalism, and subversiveness. Baldini effectively argues about the nature of street art in relation to these components, and the impact these aspects have on street art’s relationship with the law. Baldini suggests controversial positions while incorporating scholarship, legal arguments, and philosophical and logical equations to support his claims. This book is a great read for anyone looking to better understand the world of street art or the legal rights afforded to street artists. Baldini’s amicable and conversational tone, coupled with humorous section titles and definitions of all philosophy terms, makes this publication accessible to readers of any background.

While A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law is appealing to any reader, the book is a must read for those interested in art law. Baldini grapples with difficult ideas pertinent to the field, such as how judges have a major say in what is considered art and how ideas of freedom of speech and expression can intersect with property rights. He compares how courts outside of the United States regulate art, and then analyzes why American courts place so much emphasis on the concept of property. In his discussion of the 5Poinz case, he applies his philosophical arguments about illegality and street art. Baldini explores legal precedents related to not just street art, but public commissioned art and copyright law. He studies the field of art law by focusing on the niche subsect of the law and its impact on street art.

A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law also engages many philosophical ideas. Street art is arguably the oldest form of art, dating back parietal art, or “cave art,” from prehistoric times. The legal regulation of such human expression is complicated and requires Baldini’s philosophical approach. The discussion of moral rights, “special rights that authors possess over their respective creations as a consequence of the special relationship connecting creators and their own creations,” demands a philosophical understanding about the innate relationship between art and its creator.

Finally, throughout the book, Baldini includes photographs. Some he collected while doing research for the book, and others include the note: “for ethical reasons, I intentionally withhold sensitive information about photographs.” The photographs depict the stages of street art. Some are artists in the act of painting the side of a building or train car. Others are wide-shots of street art within city landscapes. The photographs help humanize street art and remind the reader how essential the artist is in creating urban visual landscapes.

Street art is not going away. As the law modifies to keep up with street art, the art will evolve to fit with the law. Illegality is a fundamental part of the nature of street art. The relationship between property and street art helps drive the creation of street art laws, and Baldini’s analysis of the philosophical arguments involved is an essential consideration when making these new laws.

About the Book’s Author:

Andrea Baldini, PhD is an associate professor of aesthetics and art theory at the School of Arts of Nanjing University, and director of the NJU Center for Sino-Italian Cultural Studies. He is also the Young Ambassador of the Jiangsu Province, a board member of the Association of Italian Scholars in China (AAIIC), and board and founding member of the Association of Tuscans in China. Baldini was recently elected delegate-at-large of the International Association of Aesthetics (IAA). Baldini has published extensively on street art and its relationship with the law, and is a scholar of philosophical questions surrounding “urban creativity.”

About the Book:

Andrea Baldini, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (Brill Research Perspectives: Art and Law, 2018) ISBN: 9004394036. Available here.

Endnotes:

Andrea Baldini, A Philosophy Guide to Street Art and the Law (BRILL, 2018), p. 5. ↑

Castillo v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 18‐498‐cv (2nd Cir. 2020), aff’ing Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P., No. 13-CV-05612 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 12, 2018); L. Carron, Case Review of the 5Pointz Appeal: Castillo et al. v. G&M Realty L.P. (2020), Center for Art Law (Mar. 2, 2020). ↑

Id. ↑

About the Author:

Lucy Siegel is a Summer 2020 Intern at the Center for Art Law and a rising junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. She is studying art history and government with a concentration in international relations. Lucy can be reached at lsiegel@bowdoin.edu.










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Book Review: “Art and Modern Copyright” (2018)





By Sophie Chung.

Pulitzer-winning novelist Pearl S. Buck once said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” Dr. Elena Cooper’s new book Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press, 2019) presents a smart way to understand intellectual property today by studying yesterday. The book examines narratives of copyright history in order to sharpen the reader’s critical view on contemporary copyright protection.

Dr. Cooper introduces her book as “the first in-depth and longitudinal study of the history of copyright protecting the visual arts” which is noteworthy. There has been a relative scarcity of study about artistic copyright, as research primarily concerns literary copyright. The book focuses on the history of artistic copyright, in the United Kingdom from the Fine Arts Copyright Act 1862[1] to the codification of copyright in the Copyright Act 1911.[2] From the 1850s to 1911, art posed new challenges that literacy copyright protection could not fully cover. Dr. Cooper argues that modern artistic copyright law has developed from addressing these new challenges. The chapters are divided into four themes:

  • The protection of copyright ‘authors’ (painters, photographers and engravers) in Chapter 2 and 3
  • The protection of art collectors in Chapter 4
  • The protection of sitters in Chapter 5
  • The protection of the public interest in Chapter 6

Chapter 2 and 3: The protection of copyright authors (painters, photographers, and engravers) in the period of 1850-1911

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss the history of copyright laws that delineated the rights of photographers and engravers who were less protected under previous laws. During the industrial era, artistic copyright in this period had a dual bases: creative labor as well as mechanical labor. This dual foundation of artistic copyright further stimulated a complex discussion about art and its protection. Painting and literature were considered to share aesthetic equivalence, and painting became the subject of copyright protection in 1862. Meanwhile, there was a newly emerged notion that artistic copyright should be founded on mechanical labor without reference to creative authorship. This idea allowed the laws to expand. For example, photographic practices became a subject matter of artistic copyright protection even though they laid no claim to be art when it was added.

Through tracing the claims and legal debates regarding who are authors for copyright protection, the chapters demonstrate how the subject matter of artistic copyright have extended to a broader area of fine arts. Beyond practices that have aesthetic equivalence with painting or literature, a wide array of artworks became qualified as protectible copyright.

Chapter 4: The protection of art collectors

Laws are introduced as a means of protecting the owners of the physical artworks and also the right of painters to reproduce the subject matter in a painting he or she had already sold. This chapter explores the position of the art collector in artistic copyright debates during the period of 1850 to 1911. The book presents the complex relationship between art and copyright law in the nineteenth century. The introduction of artistic copyright in this period raised issues regarding how rights and interests in physical or intangible work should be reconciled. Art collectors in the nineteenth century first started to utilize copyright as a means of regulating artists and securing the value of the tangible artwork they had obtained. Meanwhile, artists sought to ensure copyright did not restrict their right to reproduce their work even after a painting was sold to collectors. In short, a sharp tension was prevalent in this period. Art collectors regarded painting as a material artifact with uniqueness and financial value whereas artists regarded painting as a repeatable performance. These debates ended in the early twentieth century as it was re-established that a painting was an unrepeatable textured surface.

Dr. Cooper details the history of debates between art collectors and artists in this chapter, and this gives an insight about the ultimate purpose copyright laws should serve. The balance between protecting and regulating artists existed in the 1862 Act which were unrepealed in the later 1911 Act. The tracking of these provisions and analyzing them throughout Chapter 4 presents an opportunity to think how early copyright laws worked as forerunners to modern-day copyright laws which protect the moral rights of artists.

Chapter 5: The Protection of Sitters

Chapter 5 provides historical foundation where the modern-day publicity right. This stemmed from discussion of how copyright laws newly recognized protection of sitters operated in a way akin to modern publicity rights. As surreptitious photography had become popular, the right of people who were depicted without their consent started to be addressed. Different from literary copyright, artistic copyright also protected the privacy and publicity rights of the sitter.

Dr. Cooper talks about how the scheme of legislation, legal process, and trade practices contributed to the development of commercial interests in an individuals’ image during the time period discussed. The 1862 Act contained a provision which granted those who commissioned portraits of themselves the right to control their own image. This functioned as a rough equivalent of a publicity right, and weighed over time as a result of subsequent litigation. Nonetheless, the 1911 Act retained the provision protecting the rights of those who sat for portraits. This supports a conclusion that despite artistic copyright no longer functioned as a right to control one’s own image, sitters still retained certain rights under the 1911 Act.

Chapter 6: the Protection of the Public Interest

In Chapter 6, Dr. Cooper argues that the promotion of art in the 19th century contributed to a broader social support for artistic copyright. The wider discourse on the public benefit of art allowed the idea to emerge that artistic copyright is important as greater protection of art contributes to improvement in public taste and economic prosperity. This chapter explains how social changes and a broadening of appreciation for art facilitated copyright law’s development.

The chapter usedcase law and statutory provisions to discuss the history of copyright infringement and defenses from the perspective of the public interest. Unlike literary copyright, there was an acknowledged societal value to copying works of visual art for study. In the 1860s, concerns emerged that works were being copied in galeries for sale rather than study. The 1862 Act included a penality for infringement that explicitly protected the right to copy work for the purpose of study.

These revealed distinct facets of artistic copyright highlight the importance of the study Dr. Cooper has done in Art and Modern Copyright. While scholars have studied the law heavily in the context of literary copyright there has been less attention paid to the distinct facets of artistic copyright. Dr. Cooper’s survey of the Acts, British Imperial legislation or even gallery regulations in Chapter 6 illuminates the difference in how artistic copyright is different from literary copyright in dealing with infringement.

Impressions

As the economic and cultural importance of copyright has grown, the legal rules related to artistic copyright have also evolved. In the United States, the debates on an artist’s fair use defense have been simmering catalyzed by the famous the case, Prince v. Cariou[3]. There have been proposed updates to the fair use analysis to accommodate the internet era where people can easily copy works of others only with right-clicks.[4] As Dr. Cooper reveals throughout her book, copyright now and then is sensitive to many factors: technology, culture, economy, and politics. Therefore, tracking the evolving characters of copyright in reaction to its contemporary social context may be of assistance in analyzing modern copyright.

Dr. Cooper’s Art and Modern Copyright (261 pages) elaborates on how changes in technology, aesthetic concepts, or social atmosphere can influence the purposes or functions of copyright laws. Through its thematic breadth, the book meticulously analyzes different aspects of copyright law and its developments. Despite the fact that the book is highly dependent on study about UK law, the book does a great job in unpacking how social and economic context are closely related to the history of artistic copyright in general. For the those interested in investigating what purposes copyright ultimately serves, Dr. Cooper’s “art and Modern Copyright” can be a great guidebook.

About the Book’s Author: Dr. Elena Cooper is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at CREATe, School of Law, University of Glasgow. Dr. Cooper is a member of the British Art Network and the Institute of Art and Law, and an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Cambridge.

About the Book: Dr. Elena Cooper, Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press, 2018) ISBN: 978-1-107-17972-1. Available here.


Endnotes:

  1. 25 & 26 Vict. C. 68 (1862).
  2. 1 & 2 Geo. V. c.46 (1911).
  3. Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2d Cir. 2013).
  4. Burroughs, Scott A. “It’s a Wrap: What to Expect from the Copyright Wars in 2018”. Above the Law. Dec. 2017. Available at https://abovethelaw.com/2017/12/its-a-wrap-what-to-expect-from-the-copyright-wars-in-2018/?rf=1.

About the Author: Sophie Chung was a fall 2019 intern at the Center for Art Law and is pursuing her M.A. in Arts Administration at Columbia University. She is an attorney admitted in the state of New York and holds her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. Sophie can be reached at sophiechung625@gmail.com.










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Book Review: “Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Professionals” (2013)



title page of the book

By Irina Tarsis, Esq.

“I want to do something splendid… I think I shall write books.”

Louisa May Alcott

Historically, introducing art law to lawyers and artists, not to mention law and non-law students, used to be a challenge. The majority of artists and lawyers were perplexed by the idea of ‘art law,’ now an accepted practice area that touches upon private as well as public law, national and international art business, and art making. Therefore, a handful of attorneys have grappled with the task of composing textbooks, which would serve as suitable introduction to the discipline.

The 2013 offering from the former chair of the Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, Judith B. Prowda, who is a Senior Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art teaching Art Law and Ethics, is an excellent teaching tool to present information about artists’ rights and art market relationships in a clear and engaging tone. Her “Visual Arts and the Law: A Handbook for Professionals” (the “Handbook”) is a comprehensible if not comprehensive primer for the uninitiated. It is part of the Handbooks in International Art Business series. Like an art history work, the Handbook is peppered with the familiar names of Calder, Monet, Schiele, and Serra. Like a law textbook, it is devoid of art reproductions. The only visual decoration that the publisher allowed in this text are the three symbolic images on the cover — Portrait of a Lawyer (1866) by Paul Cezanne, Tilted Arc (1981) by Richard Serra, and Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally (1912). The lack of illustrations is regrettable because an art law textbook, unlike other legal publications, stands to benefit from having reproductions of the works that have shaped and given rise to the discipline. The images used for the cover merely scratch the surface of the wealth of imagery that imbues the art law discipline. Luckily, the attorney who authored this Handbook succeeded in penning a clear bird’s-eye view of the discipline.

In the Handbook, Prowda synthesizes information about the basics of copyright and focuses on issues affecting visual arts, such as moral rights, commissions, auctions, expert opinions and title disputes. Consequently, this publication is best suited for artists, students in art and business management, appraisers and gallery employees as well as members of the general public that wish to learn about different aspects of art market as it is affected by the law. The target audience probably excludes those training for legal practice and the active members of the legal bar who already represent artists and galleries as their clients.

As a self-imposed objective, Prowda wished to “give her reader some “context and insights into the most salient legal issues of the day affecting art.” Therefore she organized the materials in the order of what happens with visual artworks from creation to sale in the primary market and again in secondary market. The structure of each section offers historical foundation and recent manifestations of specific legal issues associated with appraisal, authentication, theft, and auctions.

The Handbook is divided into three sections: 1) Artists’ Rights; 2) Artists’ Relationships; and 3) Commercial Aspects of Art, with twelve chapters unevenly split between these topics.  Contemplated as “a tour d’horizon of the complex questions raised in the field of art law,” with some attention given to the law in different countries — U.K., France, Germany as well as the U.S., in her preface Prowda acknowledges that she is covering the material through a U.S.-trained lawyer’s lens as well as looking at limited number of topics. Prowda revisits many classic legal examples: what is art according to Brancusi v. United States (U.S. 1928), and what is copyrightable per Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony (U.S. 1884). The narrative is easy to follow and it flows well from one example and concept to another. The Handbook tackles the big picture and glosses over nuances and gray areas that emerge in numerous related transactions and disputes.   

First section explores Artist’s Rights, namely freedom of expression, including historical overview of obscenity law, right of privacy and publicity, principles of copyright, including its duration, requirements, exclusive rights, infringements, defenses and spends some time discussing fair use exception, including a brief mention of the recent 2nd Circuit fair use case Cariou v. Prince. Here, Prowda spends considerable time exploring moral rights in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S., dating back to France in the 19th century and moving forward to the 1990 enactment of the Visual Artists Rights Act in the United States, and the case law that emerged subsequently. Repeatedly, the Handbook follows a formula of introducing a concept and explaining its origins, past applications and the current state of applicability. Thus, readers who are interested in limited moral rights in the United States or the variety of fair use cases decided by courts in different jurisdictions would need to go beyond the distilled information offered in the Handbook to learn more about the VARA cases, such as Mass MOCA v. Buchel or the different circuits’ applications of the fair use exception to copyright infringement claims.

Second section of the Handbook is dedicated to the artist’s relationships with dealers, collectors and art commissioners. Here, Prowda focuses on fiduciary duties owed to artists and their heirs; she explains relevant sections of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law that deals with consignment of art for sale. Rarity of written contracts and pitfalls of oral contracts are featured prominently in discussion of disputes related to Georgia O’Keeffe or the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This section certainly would have benefited from offering guidelines for working with attorneys and advisors as well as grant-giving agencies such as the New York Department for Cultural Affairs, which administer public commission. As is, the section is brief and is best summarized as following: due to fact specific and unique relationships between each artist and her dealer or the art commissioner, each negotiation and partnership needs to be carefully reviewed and monitored throughout the relationship.

Third section moves away from the creative process to explore the commercial side of art disposition through the secondary market, collection development, art theft and issues of authenticity. It explores questions surrounding legal title and includes a discussion of good faith purchases of art works. Author underscores the importance of clear and corroborated provenance, duties of different parties involved in art transactions, obligations and rights of creditors, an array of warranties that may accompany change of ownership and technical defenses to combining ownership of art with legal title.

In her treatment of auction houses, Prowda lists various services and duties auctions have to their clients and then she focuses on the seminal 1986 Cristallina v. Christie’s decision that “resulted in significant changes in auction laws and redefined auction practice in New York.” In that case, the auction house was accused of fraudulent misrepresentation in violation of its fiduciary duty to the consigner by failing to assess market conditions. The third section is also used as a vehicle to discuss the antitrust price-fixing scandal that embroiled both leading auction houses in the early 1990s. Prowda briefly introduces the main players and the circumstances of the Sherman Act violations.

The second-to-last chapter of this section explores briefly the subject of expert opinions as they pertain to art appraisal and authentication. In light of the recent legal actions brought against art experts, this section is of great importance to those engaged in creating catalogue raisonnés and labeling art as fakes or forgeries. Prowda explains fiduciary duties owed by experts and explains risks and legal liabilities that may attach to actions of authenticators and appraiser. This section includes discussion of the main legal cases involving opinions on art and its value, including but not limited to the 1929 Hahn v. Duveen decision, as well as Ravenna v. Christie’s (2001) and Double Denied, an antitrust case against the Andy Warhol Foundation decided in 2009.

Finally, the Handbook tackles the temporally, geographically and emotionally-complicated questions regarding title problems related to stolen art, with emphasis on war plunder and Nazi-era looted art. Given the vast body of cases and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms dedicated to solving issues related to Nazi-era looted art, the treatment of this subject in the Handbook merely scratches the surface of the questions and outcomes related to art restitution claims. Prowda chooses to focus on three cases as main illustrations of related issues, specifically U.S. v. Portrait of Wally which was ultimately settled in 2010 for $19 million, Guggenheim Foundation v. Lubel (NY, 1991) and Bakalar v. Vavra (2nd Cir. 2010). However, other important trends affecting the art displaced during the Nazi-period are excluded. For example, the late 1990s and early 2000s case sequence involving American art museums proactively seeking to quiet title through declaratory judgments aimed at keeping possession of once-looted artworks is omitted entirely, as is the discussion of the numerous foreign advisory commissions that review restitution claims brought against public institutions by heirs in France, England, Germany, Austria and so on.

The Handbook ends with an admission that in the 21st century, there are ongoing and profound changes in the production and consumption of art and thus the legal system is continuously tested. The author admits she wanted her readers “to situate themselves within [law, art and commerce] discourse.” She certainly succeeds in giving a long view on perennial important topics even as case law and legislation continue offering new examples and challenges.

Art law is a growing and developing practice area and by definition textbooks and handbooks tend to become outdated as soon as they are submitted to print because of the subsequent developments. This Handbook is no exception. While Prowda talks about Nazi-era looted art, as well as authentication issues such as the threat of litigation that affect authentication boards and commissions, there is understandably no reference to the Gurlitt art trove which was made public in 2013 nor the infamous demise of the Knoedler Gallery in 2011, formerly the oldest art gallery in the United States that was found out as selling forgeries. The first of almost a dozen claims for breach of warranty and negligent misrepresentation against the gallery, its owners and staff were filed as early as 2011; however, the reverberating effect of the downfall was not fully felt until much later. Other materials missing from the Handbook include laws governing the antiquities trade, and questions dealing with import/export of art containing ivory and other problematic materials.

The Handbook would have been more authoritative and easy to use for the legal community if the references and citations were not relegated to endnotes at the end of the volume but appeared at the bottom of the page as footnotes or at least following each chapter. Nevertheless, the Handbook intends to situate its users or reader within various art law related discourse and it accomplishes that task very well. Whether the book inspires students to become art lawyers and thus dive into the specific issues more deeply remains to be seen.

Prowda supplements her writing with a brief bibliography which reads as a “Who is who in Art and Law.” All the usual suspects are represented: Leonard D. DuBoff, Patty Gerstenblith, John Henry Merryman, David Nimmer, Pierre Leval, Judith Bresler, as well as Michael Bazyler, Lawrence M. Kaye and Ronald D. Spencer. Again, just like the Handbook itself, the bibliography offers a sound but basic set of tools. For non-lawyers, the glossary of legal terms is a non-exhaustive list of terms that may or may not need explanation. It includes Latin phrases (e.g., caveat emptor and lex loci), substantive terms (e.g., subpoena and contract), relationships (e.g., fiduciary and agency), causes of action and rights. The concept of due diligence is explained here but good faith purchase is not.

The writer of this review would argue that the subtitle “ Handbook for Professionals” is a confusing description of the text contained within. Perhaps it is the formula imposed by the publisher, however, unlike the guide for collectors, investors, dealers and artists co-authored by Judith Bresler and Ralph E. Lerner, a two-volume $200+ opus akin to Nimmer on Copyright, or Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts volume by John Henry Merryman et all, Prowda’s textbook is a general introduction/a primer for newcomers. It does not bore those lacking the technical training or stamina to work through legal analysis and exhaustively shepardized citations, rather it is a carefully composed teaching tool that ushers its reader at a comfortable pace through fascinating and varied legal history. Professionals would need to dig deeper into each subject; however, given the paucity of affordable basic textbooks for students learning about art law, this volume is an excellent option for any art law professor seeking to introduce countless areas for study and further exploration. Perhaps it should have been titled “A Handbook for Future Professionals.” The Handbook may be coupled with select case decisions and legislative material for an effective introduction to the fascinating field that concerns art, art history and law.

Prowda’s Handbook is a tool designed to further adoption and acceptance of art law, and given its modest price in comparison with other art law publications, it is a worthy addition to any mentor or art law instructor’s reference library. It is a solid stepping-stone to further popularizing the art law discipline.

From the Editors: A copy of this title (hard copy or kindle version) can be ordered here.

Cited Cases:

  • Bakalar v. Vavra, 619 F.3d 136 (2d Cir. 2010).
  • Brancusi v. United States, 54 Treas. Dec. 428 (1928).
  • Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 4 S. Ct. 279, 28 L. Ed. 349 (1884).
  • Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2d Cir. 2013).
  • Cristallina v. Christie’s, 117 A.D.2d 284, 502 N.Y.S.2d 165 (App. Div. 1986).
  • Guggenheim Found. v. Lubell, 77 N.Y.2d 311, 567 N.Y.S.2d 623, 569 N.E.2d 426 (1991).
  • Hahn v. Duveen, 234 N.Y.S. 185, 133 Misc. 871, 133 Misc. Rep. 871 (1929).
  • Lagrange et al v. Knoedler Gallery, LLC et al, 1:2011cv08757 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2011).
  • MA MUSEUM, CONTEMP. ART FOUN. v. Buchel, 593 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 2010).
  • Ravenna v. Christie’s Inc., 289 A.D.2d 15, 734 N.Y.S.2d 21 (App. Div. 2001).
  • Serra v. US General Services Admin., 847 F.2d 1045 (2d Cir. 1988).
  • Simon-Whelan v. Andy Warhol Found. for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2009 W.L. 1457177 (2009).
  • US v. Portrait of Wally, 105 F. Supp. 2d 288 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

About the Author: Irina Tarsis, Esq., specializes in art law, provenance research and cultural heritage law. She may be reached at itsartlaw@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: This article presents general information and is not intended as legal advice.

Reprinted with permission from: Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal, Spring 2015, Vol. 26, No. 1, published by the New York State Bar Association, Albany, NY.










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Book Review: “Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime” (2019)





By Yuchen Xie.

“I know of no notable female forgers in the history of forgery.” Noah Charney, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (2015)

“There is no doubting that women have been actively involved in art crime.” Penelope Jackson, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (2019)

A founding trustee of the New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust, Penelope Jackson is an art historian and curator based in Tauranga, New Zealand, and the author of Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (Palgrave McMillan, 2019). The book unveils the untold history of women in art crime, explores the motives behind their criminal acts, and questions the gendered language associated with the documentation of art crime. The women mentioned in the book include wife of Churchill, Lady Clementine Churchill, notorious art dealers such as Ann Freedman of the Knoedler Gallery, and Tatiana Khan who sold a fake Picasso painting, along with less famous women from a wide range of countries including Japan, France, and Russia, just to name a few. With a comprehensive and detailed account of forgery, theft, and vandalism cases, Jackson demonstrates a keen interest and expertise in the subject. In Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime, Jackson seeks to “present a more well- rounded balanced history,” as said in her own words, shedding light on women’s role in art crime. In the Introduction to the book, Jackson said she was inspired by Dr. Noah Charney’s The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (Phaidon, 2015), where he noted that “there is a decided lack of female forgers in this book; there are female accomplices and con men, but I know of no notable female forgers in the history of forgery.”[1] Charney’s provocation triggered Jackson to explore and unmask this underrepresented side of art crime. Notably, Jackson inquired deeply into the very reasons behind the omission of women from the history of art crime. In her book, Jackson explores stories of women who destroyed art (Chapter 2 – Lady Destroyers), women who were involved in art crime as mothers of art criminal sons (Chapter 3 – The Mother of All Art Crimes), women who vandalized art for reasons of drawing public attention and getting into prison to have a place to live (Chapter 4 — She Vandals), women who conned artists and clients (Chapter 5 – The Art of the Con(Wo)man), women who stole artworks (Chapter 6 – The Light Fingered), women who forged art (Chapter 7 – Naming Rights), and women who committed white-collar crime using their professional associations (Chapter 8 – The Professionals).

Chapter Summaries

In Chapter 2 – Lady Destroyers, Jackson offers examples of many women who destroyed valuable artworks for different reasons, particularly discussing in detail the efforts of Clementine Churchill to destroy many paintings of her husband, Sir Winston Churchill. According to her daughter Soames, Clementine Churchill destroyed Walter Sickert’s sketches of Churchill simply because she disliked them. And she “must have felt very strongly about the sketch to destroy it rather than donate it to a public collection,” according to Jackson. Later, Jackson discusses Clementine Churchill’s destruction of two other works, accounting for her efforts to control images of her husband for both present and future generations. After a discussion on mothers who destroyed artworks in the hope of protecting their criminal sons by eliminating evidence of the theft, Jackson goes into detail in the following chapter on art vandalism. Among these female vandals are British Suffragettes who defaced art in an effort to draw public attention to gender inequality, a Japanese woman who vandalized the Mona Lisa in 1974 to highlight the museum’s unfair policy against disabled people, and an unemployed woman who vandalized a painting by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres at the Louvre in 1907 because she thought ending up in prison would solve her housing problem. Not to excuse, but the circumstances of some criminal act reveal these women’s disadvantaged social status. In Chapter 5 – The Art of the Con(Wo)man, Jackson discusses the fraudulent art dealing practice of women in the U.S., Australia, and Germany, with a focus on the penultimate director of the Knoedler Gallery, Ann Freedman, who was one of the named defendants in the lawsuits against the notorious gallery for selling dozens of forgeries in the 1990s and 2000s (for a detailed coverage of the Knoedler saga, visit here), and Petra Kujau, Konrad Kujau’s assistant who claimed to be his niece and sold fake Kujau’s “original forgeries” (Konrad Kujau himself was a famous forger whose “original Kujau forgeries” became coveted and obtained great commercial value). After discussing cases involving these women, Jackson raises an interesting point – the fact that “all of the women were middle-aged, or older, when convicted.” Did they build up their reputation of integrity with years of ethical practice only to destroy it with illegal activities? Did their age and experience simply deceive people more easily? Jackson seeks to explain this phenomenon with a discussion on the nature of art dealing and examination of similarities between the cases of Freedman and the other seven conwomen. The chapter on naming rights contains the story of Margaret Keane, the subject of Tim Burton’s movie Big Eyes (2014). Jackson chronicles how Margaret’s husband Walter Keane sold her works under his name and control and how Margaret finally revealed the true authorship of the big eyes paintings and brought a lawsuit against Walter in 1986 in Honolulu. Further, comparing Margaret Keane with Elizabeth Durack, who forged her identity and sold her works under a different name, Jackson underscores that “something as simple as the name of an artist (and their signature) can create major and irreversible outcomes.” In the chapter on professionals-turned criminals, after discussing a few women who used their professional status to gain access to art collections in their care, Jackson culminates the cases with the story of the heroic figure, Rose Valland, who documented ownership of many artworks stolen by the Nazis and made post-WWII restitution easier. Valland’s actions while illicit at the time and have been praised in the aftermath. Jackson highlights Valland’s story because “not only did she undertake dangerous work by being an astute unofficial art spy… but she is also a fascinating example of how history has been documented and presented.” On this note, Jackson transitions from the discussion of individual cases to a concluding chapter, reflecting on the gendered language of the history of art crime. Particularly, she emphasized the “not particularly attractive” appearance of Valland, challenging the false portrayal of her as very feminine and able to seduce men in certain films and literature (she was played by Cate Blanchett in the 2014 movie The Monuments Men). In other films such as Dr. No (1962) and The Train (1964), women are given minor roles and “more often than not, their characters are glamorous and alluring assistants,” says Jackson. The literature on art crime is also marked by a gendered language. For example, Jacqueline Crofton, who threw eggs at a Martin Creed painting at Tate Modern, was referred to as “grandmother,” while Hannelore K. who vandalized a work by Köpcke was referred to by the media as “old lady” and “granny.” We are provoked to ask whether a man, in the same situation, would be referred to as “grandfather” or “old man.” Probably not. Such a difference in the language to describe female and male art criminals reveals an unbalanced account of art crime. While the language has become less gendered, according to Jackson, there is still some distance to go.

Impressions

Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime is an informative and thorough overview of women in art crime and an interesting read to account for untold stories. Just like the majority of art collections in art repositories worldwide that have an overwhelming representation of male artists, art history accounts tend to feature male protagonists. Jackson’s objective, hopefully, was not to show that there were as many female thieves and forgers but to uncover the underrepresented side of the history of art crime. This easy-to-read book provides us with a new insights into the history of art crime and suggests why and how women’s involvement is omitted from historical documentation. About the Book’s Author: Penelope Jackson is an art historian and curator based in New Zealand. A former gallery director, Jackson is a founding trustee of the New Zealand Art Crime Research Trust. She is the author of Art Thieves, Fakers & Fraudsters: The New Zealand Story (2016) and has contributed to the Journal of Art Crime and Art Crime and its Prevention (2016). Jackson has curated major exhibitions, including: award-winning Corrugations: The Art of Jeff Thomson (2013), The Lynley Dodd Story (2015), An Empty Frame: Crimes of Art in New Zealand (2016) and Katherine Mansfield: A Portrait (2018). About the Book: Penelope Jackson, Females in the Frame: Women, Art, and Crime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) ISBN: 978-3-030-20766-3. Available here.

 

Endnotes:

  • Noah Charney, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers, London: Phaidon (2015), p.14. ↑

About the Author: Yuchen Xie was a Fall 2019 Intern at the Center for Art Law and is pursuing her M.A. in Arts Administration at Columbia University. She holds her B.A. in Studio Art and French from the University of Virginia (2018). She can be reached at yx2472@tc.columbia.edu.










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