Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Artist Pension Trust News

It's merging with MutualArt.com.  The Art Market Monitor calls it "one of the more curious announcements in the art world" and says:

"What the combined companies can do together that they could not do apart is not readily apparent. Nor is there an obvious business model for either company as a separate entity or combined."

Background on Artist Pension Trust here.

Tyler Cowen on How Trump Should Support the Arts

The ground rules:  "I applied several standards to my recommendations. First, they must save the federal government money, to appeal to the Republican Congress. Second, they should stand a chance of appealing to Trump, given his stances on other issues. Third, they should offer a reasonable chance of improving the quality of the arts in the U.S., and fourth, the arts community should not hate every aspect of the changes."

The recommendations:

1.  End the transfer of 40% of the NEA budget to state arts councils; and
2.  Restore NEA funding for individual artists.

I stole that pithy summary from Michael Rushton, who adds:  "The two recommendations are driven by a common goal: help fund more interesting, innovative art. Transfers to state arts councils don’t do much for that goal, since they are driven by local politics and the need to serve constituencies on building projects and established arts organizations. Even at the federal level, grants to composers and artists have a chance of doing more to generate interesting art than traditional grants to orchestras and museums."  (His conclusion:  "Of Cowen’s recommendations, I am solidly behind (2), on the fence on (1). But at least he is trying to suggest an end for arts policy, which in turn suggests ways of criticizing alternative means to those ends and suggesting better ones. More like this, please.")

Sunday, December 04, 2016

"Lowe proclaims that his workshop seeks to 'redefine the relationship between the original and the copy.'"

There was a really interesting piece in last week's New Yorker on "The Factory of Fakes" -- Adam Lowe's 3D reproduction project, Factum.  A taste:

"Factum made its reputation in 2007, with a replica of Paolo Veronese’s monumental painting 'The Wedding at Cana,' which Napoleon presented to a new museum, the Louvre, after ripping it off the wall of a refectory in Venice in 1797. The painting’s place in the refectory, which was designed by Palladio, had never been filled; Lowe installed his copy in the exact spot. Factum’s noninvasive protocol, in which their scanner’s lasers captured every whorled brushstroke without touching the canvas, was in stark contrast to the Louvre’s restoration of the painting, in the nineteen-nineties, during which it accidentally fell onto some scaffolding and was gored in five places. ... When Italians witnessed the unveiling of the Veronese replica, in the creamily lit space where the artist intended his masterpiece to be seen, many of them wept. Bruno Latour, the French theorist, championed the 'Cana' project, and he and Lowe later wrote an essay about it, in which they referred to a 'migration of the aura' from original to copy."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Noah Charney would love to be a forgery collector

He explains here:  "Stripped of the fraud component, what you have is an extremely skillfully executed painting, beautiful and with a heck of an interesting story behind it. It becomes a relic of the story in which it featured, but it can also be admired for its aesthetic value."

Monday, November 21, 2016


ARTnews has an interesting series of contributions on the question how to fix the art world (part 1, part 2).  Some of the responses touch on art law issues, including these suggestions from Christy MacLear of the Rauschenberg Foundation:


"Set them free. Images for scholars, teachers, museums, and stewards. Images to be reused creatively by other artists. Even fair use comes with fear and some still seek a free pass or approval. Stop asking—start using—go forth and flourish. Share smartly and avoid a fear of legal retribution; we all trust you. Use art to teach and share knowledge or inspiration. We love more people loving art.


"Gifts of art to charities propel our culture but inure no direct benefit to the artist. ... An artist’s contribution to society must be recognized for more than simply the value of raw materials. Art must be valued as a donation equally for the creator as it is for the collector. Wealth and tax equality for all."