12 October 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Nearly 450 heritage rescue grants announced from UK’s £1.57bn cultural bailout fund: The UK government will give £103m in Covid-19 rescue grants to nearly 450 heritage organisations in the first major payout from the £1.57bn cultural bailout package announced in July. Decisions on the grant funding were made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

09.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Nearly 450 heritage rescue grants announced from UK’s £1.57bn cultural bailout fund

Return looted art to former colonies, Dutch committee tells government: The Netherlands should show “a willingness to return” items taken without consent, a report said. But past experience shows the path from recommending restitution to actual return can be a long one.

09.10.2020, The New York Times: Return looted art to former colonies, Dutch committee tells government

09.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Dutch government committee recommends return of colonial-era artefacts

09.10.2020, Artnet: The Netherlands should return cultural objects looted from former colonies, a new report says—and major museums agree

08.10.2020, The Guardian: Dutch museums vow to return art looted by colonialists

Deutsche Bank to auction Kandinsky and Schiele works from collection: Deutsche Bank, which is in the process of a major restructuring including 18,000 job cuts, is offering works from its collection by Wassily Kandinsky and Egon Schiele for auction at Christie’s this month to raise money to purchase contemporary art.

08.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Deutsche Bank to auction Kandinsky and Schiele works from collection

France’s National Assembly votes to return colonial-era artefacts to Benin and Senegal: France’s National Assembly voted last Tuesday evening to pass a bill returning 27 colonial-era artefacts from French museums to Benin and Senegal. The vote comes almost three years after President Emmanuel Macron pledged in a speech in Burkina Faso to enable “the temporary or definitive restitution of African heritage to Africa” within five years.

07.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: France’s National Assembly votes to return colonial-era artefacts to Benin and Senegal

07.10.2020, France 24: French Parliament votes to return stolen artefacts to Benin and Senegal  

V&A in talks over returning looted Ethiopian treasures in ‘decolonisation’ purge: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has started talks with the Ethiopian embassy over returning looted treasures in its collections, including a gold crown and royal wedding dress, taken from the country more than 150 years ago. 07.10.2020, The Guardian: V&A in talks over returning looted Ethiopian treasures in ‘decolonisation’ purge

United States

In victory for street artists, US Supreme Court declines to hear 5Pointz developer’s appeal: The US Supreme Court last week declined to hear an appeal brought by the New York developer Jerry Wolkoff’s G&M Realty to overturn a landmark decision that awarded $6.75m to 21 street artists whose works were destroyed when Wolkoff whitewashed the exterior of his 5Pointz warehouse complex in Long Island City, Queens. The decision by the country’s highest court ends the developer’s legal options to avoid paying the substantial damages, and upholds artists’ rights to justice provided by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) if their work is damaged or destroyed without their permission. This “furthers the idea that street art is to be cherished and protected, not destroyed,” says Eric Baum, a lawyer for the artists, in a statement. “The significance of this decision is that federal law now protects not only artwork exhibited in MoMA or the Louvre but also public murals, created with permission.”

08.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: In victory for street artists, US Supreme Court declines to hear 5Pointz developer’s appeal

05.10.2020, Bloomberg Law: High court lets artists’ $6.75m 5Pointz graffiti win stand

In victory for street artists, US Supreme Court declines to hear 5Pointz developer’s appeal: The US Supreme Court last week declined to hear an appeal brought by the New York developer Jerry Wolkoff’s G&M Realty to overturn a landmark decision that awarded $6.75m to 21 street artists whose works were destroyed when Wolkoff whitewashed the exterior of his 5Pointz warehouse complex in Long Island City, Queens. The decision by the country’s highest court ends the developer’s legal options to avoid paying the substantial damages, and upholds artists’ rights to justice provided by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) if their work is damaged or destroyed without their permission. This “furthers the idea that street art is to be cherished and protected, not destroyed,” says Eric Baum, a lawyer for the artists, in a statement. “The significance of this decision is that federal law now protects not only artwork exhibited in MoMA or the Louvre but also public murals, created with permission.”

08.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: In victory for street artists, US Supreme Court declines to hear 5Pointz developer’s appeal

05.10.2020, Bloomberg Law: High court lets artists’ $6.75m 5Pointz graffiti win stand

World

Stolen Mao Zedong scroll worth $300m found cut in half: A calligraphy scroll by Mao Zedong has been found cut in half after it was stolen from a collector’s apartment in a high-profile Hong Kong burglary last month. Estimated to be worth HK$2.3bn ($300m), the scroll was privately resold for HK$500 ($65) to a man who thought it was a counterfeit.

07.10.2020, The Art Newspaper: Stolen Mao Zedong scroll worth $300m found cut in half

08.10.2020, Artnet: Hong Kong police have recovered a Mao scroll that was stolen as part of a $645 million art heist—but it’s been cut in half

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