27 July 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Europe

Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum seeks to recover ancient Egyptian jars before auction: A lawyer for Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum has called on a Munich auction house to return four alabaster jars containing the mummified internal organs of an Egyptian official that it says were illegally sold from the collection by a former curator. 

21.07.2020, The Art NewspaperVienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum seeks to recover ancient Egyptian jars before auction  

Sotheby’s to offer restituted view of Dresden acquired by Hitler’s art dealer: The view of Dresden from c.1758 was painted by Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780), the Venetian artist who was the nephew of the great Canaletto (1697-1768). It is appearing at auction after it was returned by the German government to the heirs of retail magnet and art collector Max Emden. 

21.07.2020, The Antiques Trade GazetteSotheby’s to offer restituted view of Dresden acquired by Hitler’s art dealer  

Colonial art in UK museums is similar to Nazi-looted works, says charity boss: Colonial-era artefacts taken by British forces should be regarded in the same way as Nazi-looted art, according to the director of an arts charity who is calling for a dramatic overhaul of the sector in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

22.07.2020, The GuardianColonial art in UK museums is similar to Nazi-looted works, says charity boss

United States

New California bill could expand State’s Indigenous repatriation  laws: A California state bill, which is expected to be signed into law later this year, would expand which Indigenous groups are able to request the return of human remains, funerary objects, and other sacred items from cultural institutions. 

24.07.2020, Art NewsNew California bill could expand State’s Indigenous repatriation laws 

24.07.2020, The Art NewspaperCalifornia may grant repatriation rights to unrecognised Native American tribes  

Whistleblowers at the Detroit Institute of Arts expand their ethics complaint beyond the museum’s director to include the board chair, too: Employees at the Detroit Institute of Arts who filed a whistleblower complaint last month with the Michigan attorney general and the IRS accusing the museum’s director of ethics violations have now expanded their claim to include its board chairman, Eugene Gargaro. 

24.07.2020, ArtnetWhistleblowers at the Detroit Institute of Arts expand their ethics complaint beyond the museum’s director to include the board chair, too  

24.07.2020, The Detroit NewsExperts dispute displaying El Greco painting at DIA raises its resale value  

New York developer who whitewashed 5Pointz graffiti—and owes artists $6.75m in damages—appeals to Supreme Court: After losing appeals in lower courts, G&M Realty, the company started by New York developer Jerry Wolkoff, who died last week aged 83, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court that calls a provision of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) unconstitutional. In its final appeal, Wolkoff’s company says that the phrasing used in VARA, which protect works of art of “recognized stature” from being destroyed or modified without the artist’s permission, is too vague and “egregiously runs afoul” of the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process, as well as impinging on the rights of owners to dispose of their property. 

22.07.2020, The Art NewspaperNew York developer who whitewashed 5Pointz graffiti—and owes artists $6.75m in damages—appeals to Supreme Court  

Marciano Foundation settles lawsuit over layoffs: The Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, which closed its doors last year in the midst of a labour dispute, has settled a lawsuit saying it broke the law by laying off 70 part-time employees, union officials said on Wednesday. 

22.07.2020, The New York TimesMarciano Foundation settles lawsuit over layoffs 

Forgotten trove of de Kooning, Calder art found in hospital storeroom: When staffers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital needed space for ventilators and additional hospital beds during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, they ventured to an old storeroom in the dialysis ward — and were shocked by what they found. 

18.07.2020, The New York PostForgotten trove of de Kooning, Calder art found in hospital storeroom  

At the Hirshhorn, a battle over plans for its sculpture garden: Advocates for the preservation of modernist landscapes in Washington have taken on another fight. After beating back the National Geographic Society’s plan to demolish “Marabar,” the 1984 sculptural installation by Elyn Zimmerman on its campus, they are now battling the Hirshhorn Museum’s proposal to redo its sunken sculpture garden by the architect Gordon Bunshaft and the landscape architect Lester Collins. 

16.07.2020, The New York TimesAt the Hirshhorn, a battle over plans for its sculpture garden 

World

Restitution in the time of COVID-19: A fertility statuette representing a mother goddess returns to Iraq: Modeled from clay and painted, this female figurine replete with voluptuous curves, and depicted naked and sitting with her arms folded under her breasts, in a pose suggestive of childbirth was discovered by officers working for the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, whose job it is to carry out surveillance of internet sales of suspect art.   

24.07.2020, ARCARestitution in the time of COVID-19: A fertility statuette representing a mother goddess returns to Iraq 

Despite protests, Catholic officials in Vietnam are demolishing the 135-year-old Bui Chu cathedral to make way for a larger replica: Many architects and cultural heritage experts have been horrified to find that Catholic authorities in Vietnam are going ahead with plans to demolish a 135-year-old cathedral and to build a larger replica in its place. 

23.07.2020, ArtnetDespite protests, Catholic officials in Vietnam are demolishing the 135-year-old Bui Chu cathedral to make way for a larger replica 

Some of Hagia Sophia’s mosaics will be covered during Muslim prayers: Muslim prayers are due to be held on Friday at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul for the first time since Turkish President Tayyip Ergodan decreed earlier this month that the heritage site would be turned back into a working mosque. After Erdogan visited the building to inspect construction work, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Byzantine mosaics depicting the Virgin Mary and the archangel Gabriel located in the direction Muslims face while praying, or Qiblah, would be covered with curtains, according to Reuters. When the Hagia Sophia is not being used by worshippers, the mosaics would be uncovered and the site would be open to all visitors and tourists, Turkish authorities previously said. 

20.07.2020, The Art NewspaperSome of Hagia Sophia’s mosaics will be covered during Muslim prayers  

21.07.2020, ArtnetIn a controversial move, Turkey will cover mosaics depicting Christian icons in the Hagia Sophia during Muslim prayer

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