The Velvet Underground and the Andy Warhol Foundation have reached a very anti-climactic conclusion to their legal rivalry for Andy Warhol’s famous banana graphic.
The story held a great deal of promise for art/law geeks like myself who enjoyed its many complications. However the case has been dismissed following an announcement by the AWF that they have reached “a confidential settlement” with the Velvets.
There are so many questions that remain unanswered:
Who owned the copyright? MGM? the AWF? The Velvet Underground?
Who owns the trademark?
What did the settlement entail? i.e.: who sold or licensed what rights to whom?
I’m guessing we will hear more soon enough, I mean, how confidential can it be? It’s about IP for godssake.
Rule: Amaze Yourself & Your Readers with Gross Exaggeration!
E.g: This bit-o-PR yakking about Marc Quinn’s lovely conch shell sculptures:
” With these sculptures, the artist is able to collaborate with creatures from the beginning of time, and the beginning of art, and therefore somehow making the shells a part of the space-time continuum.”
MARY BOONE GALLERY
All the Time in the World
May 4–June 29, 2013
On April 4th, Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, sent around a Press Release explaining the museum’s “admissions policy” — a policy which many consider misleading at best, fraudulent at worst.
The announcement followed widespread reporting on two lawsuits brought against the museum by members who found the Met’s signage and admissions practices troubling but had failed to effect change from the inside. Responding to a landslide of negative press, Campbell sent out e-mail that linked to a message on the Met’s site expounding upon the legal basis, as well the alleged necessity, for the Met to garner donations from the public in order to finance it’s exhibits and services.
After explaining that the Met relies on “many sources—including Membership, gifts and grants, corporate contributions, merchandise sales, restaurant revenue, and endowment income” to meet its current $250 million a year operating budget, and stating that “admission revenue is critical among” these sources of funding, Campbell makes his pitch:
“Does the Met hope its visitors pay as generously as they can? Of course! Without your generosity, we might still be the quaint little museum in the park that few visited in the 1880s—with none of the glorious new galleries and engaging programs we are now able to provide to the more than six million people who come through our doors each year.”
Was Campbell telling us that the Metropolitan Museum of art, despite sitting rent-free on city property, despite its long lists of corporate contributors, its grants and gifts from wealthy patrons, and its government subsidies, needed to fish for dollars from the pockets of unsuspecting tourists and shy students who took the signs at font-face value and forked out $25 suggested admission when they could have entered for free? Are we to think of the Mighty Met as a poor Dickensian waif, her soot-covered hand extended stealthily toward the pockets of passersby?
Answer: Meet Leonard A Lauder
Well, on Tuesday, right after we’d asked that question, and before we could get our breath, the museum proudly announced that it had been gifted a 1.1 Billion Dollar cash cow in the form of cosmetics tycoon Leonard A Lauder’s entire collection of cubist art. [ ]
The collection of 78 cubist works, meticulously collected over something like 40 years, is comprised of 33 works by Picasso, 17 by Braque, 14 by Gris, and 14 by Leger. Lauder’s collection, which may, he says, continue to grow (and be gifted to the Met) is noted for its clear focus on works of historical significance. Lauder’s curator of 26 years, Emily Braun sites “ ‘The Trees at L’Estaque’ as an example. It “is considered one of the very first Cubist pictures,” she told the New York Times, “It created a new form of pictorial space that Braque arrived at from his close study of Cézanne’s landscapes.”
The collection “will transform the museum” the news release said. And, indeed, the Met’s cubist collection which used to be sorely wanting — art critic Holland Cotter once noted that the Met had been “content with a tasting menu of Blue Period, Rose Period and neo-Classical fare”—now rivals that of the Museum of Modern Art.
“In one fell swoop this puts the Met at the forefront of early-20th-century art. It is an unreproducible collection, something museum directors only dream about,” Campbell told the Times.
Lauder’s generosity puts him at the top of the list of Forbes list of high ranking philanthropists. [Check out their slideshow] On top of the billion dollar collection, his, and other trustees’ and supporters’ money is going to support a revamp of the Mets modern and contemporary galleries, and a 22 million dollar endowment for a new research center for modern art at the Met.
An extraordinary gift to our City?
“This is an extraordinary gift to our Museum and our City, Lauder said. Um. So now, can we change the admissions signs?
The sign says ADMISSION in large letters and lists a charge of $25 for adult visitors. So you must pay $25. No, wait: the small print says, “Recommended” so it’s free but you are asked to volunteer something along the lines of $25. But, that can’t be because it also touts “No extra charge for special exhibitions” — so that means there is a charge for admissions, so…what do you pay?
Well, If you are duped by the large print, you pay $25; if you feel guilty or cheap in the face of the sign and the cashier, you pay $25; and if you are buying tickets online you’ll find that the Met sells them for $25 with no caveat. Only those in the know will pay like a New Yorker, a voluntary fee of anywhere between 1 and ten dollars.
The signage is confusing (and the sales policies more so) and no one doubts that the obfuscation of your right to enter for free is deliberate: the museum would like to make some money.
That is why two recent law-suits brought against the hallowed New York institution in response to it’s deceptive admissions policies reveal that it’s time to interrogate, not just the disingenuous signage, but the entire body of assumptions regarding who the museum and its art belong to, and who should pay for its maintenance.
Two Suits, One Firm, and Harold Holzer
To begin, let’s get some very important facts straight: the Metropolitan Museum resides on Central Park land which it uses free of charge in exchange for its service to the public. The building is leased rent-free from the city under the same stipulation.
“The Met,” says architect Theodore Grunewald, who, along with fellow long-time member Patricia Nicholson, filed a suit in November of last year, “is as much the property of citizens as the trustees who manage the art inside.”
Grunewald and Nicholson argue that the Met’s “recommended” admission charges violate the terms of its 1983 lease with the city which allows the Museum to use the property in exchange for public free admission two evenings and five days a week. But the museum is claiming that city policy changes in the 1970s allowed them to begin charging a voluntary admission fee.
Filed by the law firm, Weiss & Hiller, this suit which is still pending, cites a survey which found that 85 % of nonmembers polled (out of a pool of 360 visitors) thought entry fees were required, and requests that the state court in Manhattan block the Museum from charging any fees at all. Meantime the same law firm has filed a new suit!
Did You Buy Tickets with a Credit Card?
On Tuesday the Met was hit with a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of three visitors, Filip Saska and Tomas Nadrchal of the Czech Republic, and museum member, Stephen Michelman of Manhattan. They are claiming that the Met “engages in an intentional campaign of misdirection that includes misleading signage and fraudulent marketing.” This newest complaint also asks for an injunction, as did the one in November, but adds a request for “unspecified damages” to be payed to all visitors who, in the last three years, paid for admittance with a credit card.
(In other words, if this case goes forward, Met Admission Policies + Ticket Purchase w/ Credit Card w/in last three years = Cluster Fuck)
But while Hiller says, that they have uncovered “evidence which makes clear to us that the museum is actively misleading the public and that members of the museum’s leadership are fully aware of that fact,” the Met’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Harold Holzer, has scoffed that this is the “second attempt for publicity around the same baseless lawsuit that was filed a few months ago.”
“I don’t know what this brouhaha is all about,” he said.
The Met is not the Smithsonian
Later, he expounded further on this thought in a letter to the Huffington Post:
“Free admission was conceived of 150 years ago for an entirely government-subsidized institution, like the Smithsonian. There is no model for this kind of operation any more. The city contributes $10 million of a $240 million-dollar-budget. We rely on many crucial revenue streams to maintain our building, preserve, protect, exhibit, and publish our collections, and mount up to 25 shows a year. This lawsuit flies in the face of reality and the huge amount of responsibility and work we have in the service of our collections and our visitors.”
See Slideshow of Admittance Charges at other Museuems on The Huffington Post
Tilda Swinton’s narcoleptic performance of Cornelia Parker’s “The Maybe” will happen spontaneously six more times this month at unannounced locations within the MoMA.
Personally, I think this sort of spontaneous napping should become a sort of critique of unimaginative or overly subjective art shows: I’m thinking of doing “The Maybe” at a few art openings here and there– and whenever I drop in to the New Museum–I’m thinking we need some flash mob maybe’s.
Perhaps we all go out to Dia Beacon and maybe it up in the midst of all that minimalist/conceptual cannonized dry-ass religiously guarded art history.
I’d like to maybe in front of every Rob Pruitt ever made in China.
What makes you maybe?
• The art world was appalled by a recent decision of the Ontario Conservation Review Board which deemed that an obscure, yet academically lauded, bit of land art had no “heritage value to the ‘community” because it is out of the way and privately owned. The cultural think tanks are all on board with ways to perserve it and we predict that it will soon be properly owned and tickets will be sold to see it and coffee will be sold nearby:
Shift in heritage: Richard Serra sculpture has uncertain future: Micallef
Shawn Micallef, The Star
“The closest thing southern Ontario has to Stonehenge is Shift, a sculpture by Richard Serra in a King City farmer’s field. Serra is a superstar artist whose work is worth millions of dollars but Shift remains relatively obscure. Though many places would envy our big Serra, last month the Ontario Conservation Review Board decided not to support King Township’s request that Serra’s work be protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, so its future remains uncertain.”
• Someone wrote the crucial annual Damien Hirst/plagerism exposé:
He’s a thieving magpie’: Unknown artist claims Damien Hirst copied his £800 painting
By Dalya Alberge and Chris Hastings, Mail Online
• Damien Hirst put a new spin on stories about his inspiration:
Damien Hirst inspired by John Noakes’s Blue Peter spin paintings
“Damien Hirst said he got the idea for his spin paintings from Blue Peter, the children’s television programme he watched as a boy.”
• A new artwork by a hated person proved so unworthy of note that it got lots of angry press:
Glenn Beck Makes Really Bad “Piss Obama” Artwork
“Three years ago, New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz challenged Glenn Beck to curate two exhibitions, one of work he disapproved of, another of work he liked. Beck ignored the offer. But this …”
Glenn Beck’s Obama Pee Stunt Shows He’s Still in Populist Huckster Game
Michael Moynihan, The Daily Beast
“Submerging an Obama doll in fake urine may have been a bid for attention, but out of the limelight the former Fox News host’s been building an empire that goes beyond right-wing paranoia to TV network TheBlaze, a $100 million radio deal, and 10-dollar bags of chocolate pecans.”
Yoko Ono is still milking the wack-a-doo cow:
Yoko Ono Unveils Her Ridiculously Raunchy Opening Ceremony Menswear Line
by Ann Binlot, Artinfo
“Opening Ceremony unveiled its menswear line with Yoko Ono today, based on a series of drawings she created for John Lennon as a wedding present in 1969. The items in the 52-piece collaboration, “Fashions for Men: 1969-2012,” are pretty raunchy.”
...and it’s a nightmare!
The way Olek tells the story on her blog:
- First a big drunken asshole sexually harasses her.
- Rebuffed, he taunts her obscenely.
- Doused with her wine, he threatens her.
- Then when she strikes out in fear (um, admittedly, she punched him in the face while holding her wine glass…) she’s arrested.
- Then they drum up charges based on her carrying a small scissors that, as we all know she uses for her work. (I mean, like: duh!)
- Then she gets strip searched and harassed some more.
- Then THEY CONVICT HER and make her wait forever for her sentencing.
Meantime she’s in a foreign country where she has no connections and does not know the rules; her english is not top-notch; they put her in holding for three days; and she can’t call anyone because she doesn’t remember anyone’s telephone number by heart.
She also could not talk to the press, could not defend her good name, could not make clear how badly she needed help, nor explain exactly what her justifications were.
Her sentencing has now been moved to November 15th.
What’s the take away? When in England, never make a huge drunk angry no matter how angry he makes you. If he threatens you, wait till he takes his weapon out and messes you up. And put your glass down; it’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out.
Read her harrowing tale and reach out to her here.