30 March 2020

Art@Law | Constantine Cannon

Our Response to the Coronavirus Crisis

Like organisations around the globe, Constantine Cannon is taking steps to remain fully operational while responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our top priority is protecting the health and well-being of the individuals at the firm, their families, our clients, and our communities. 

As we all face these difficult times, we continue to serve the needs of our clients, collaborate with our colleagues, work with government agencies, and monitor litigation deadlines. We have long employed robust technology that permits us to work uninterrupted, and, in compliance with recommendations and orders from public health officials, we have implemented contingency plans to work remotely. 

We recognize that the upcoming weeks, possibly months, will test our adaptability and resilience, but we are, as always, dedicated to our clients and their interests. Together, we will work to ensure the best path forward. 

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will provide updates as needed. 

If you need to reach our offices, our main numbers and individual extensions remain operational and are redirected to our employees working remotely. 

  • London  +44 (0)20 3959 0700 
  • New York 212.350.2700 
  • D.C. 202.204.3500 
  • San Francisco  415.639.4001 

Europe

Swiss Museum Settles Claim Over Art Trove Acquired in Nazi Era: Twelve years after the city of Basel, Switzerland, rejected a claim for restitution of 200 prints and drawings in its Kunstmuseum, officials there have reversed their position and reached a settlement with the heirs of a renowned Jewish museum director and critic who sold his collection before fleeing Nazi Germany. 

27.03.2020, The New York TimesSwiss Museum Settles Claim Over Art Trove Acquired in Nazi Era  

After much speculation, Art Basel postponed to September due to coronavirus: Art Basel will postpone its June fair in Switzerland to 17 to 20 September due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. In a statement released on Thursday, Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, said the fair thanks its galleries for their understanding of the “highly complex decision” to postpone the fair.  

26.03.2020, The Art NewspaperAfter much speculation, Art Basel postponed to September due to coronavirus  

26.03.2020, The New York TimesArt Basel Shifts to September Amid Coronavirus Concerns  

‘We want to be part of the solution’: UK museum says it is open to discussing fate of Benin bronze after prince demands its return: Curators at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery say they will work with other museums in the so-called Benin Dialogue Group to try and resolve ongoing restitution issues linked to bronze artefacts looted by the British army in the late-19th century. 

25.03.2020, The Art Newspaper‘We want to be part of the solution’: UK museum says it is open to discussing fate of Benin bronze after prince demands its return  

23.03.2020, BBC NewsBenin prince calls for Bristol Museum to return stolen sculpture  

Arts Council England Has Launched a $190 Million Emergency Relief Package for Creative Organizations and Artists: England’s public funding body for the arts has announced a £160 million emergency relief package for artists and arts organizations affected by the ongoing public health situation. Arts Council England announced the fund on Tuesday, sending out a strong message of support for the country’s creative industries. 

25.03.2020, The Art NewspaperArts Council England Has Launched a $190 Million Emergency Relief Package for Creative Organizations and Artists  

#ArtistsSupportPledge: growing online marketplace to help artists generates £9m in one week: One positive outcome of the coronavirus crisis has been the rallying of communities to help those most vulnerable in the face of adversity. A prime example is Artist Support Pledge, an initiative set up by the Sussex-based artist Matthew Burrows, which is offering a self-sustaining lifeline to an ever-expanding number of fellow artists across the world. The concept is simple: artists are invited to post pictures of their works for sale for £200 or less on Instagram using the hashtag #ArtistSupportPledge. Every time an artist makes £1,000 in sales they then pledge to plough back £200 on purchasing the work of another artist using the hashtag. There are no enforcements, the system is based on trust. 

24.03.2020, The Art Newspaper#ArtistsSupportPledge: growing online marketplace to help artists generates £9m in one week  

An update on the Crimean treasures in Amsterdam: Still pending in the Netherlands is the interesting case of the Crimean Treasures. After the Court of First Instance had ordered the repatriation of the museum objects to the Ukraine based on the 1970 UNESCO Convention, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal reversed that decision in an interim judgment of 16 July 2019. 

24.03.2020, The Institute of Art and LawAn update on the Crimean treasures in Amsterdam  

Thieves arrested for stealing stones from Notre Dame in Paris: Two thieves have been arrested by French police for stealing stones from Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, according to Le Parisien newspaper. On Tuesday evening, on the first day of France’s self-confinement to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, guards spotted the intruders inside the cathedral and alerted the police. 

24.03.2020, The Art NewspaperThieves arrested for stealing stones from Notre Dame in Paris 

21.03.2020, Le ParisienCoronavirus à Paris : Notre-Dame stoppe le chantier… et se fait voler des pierres  

United States

US copyright law comes under scrutiny as new legislation makes its way before Congress: Several items of copyright legislation before the US Congress this year could reshape the landscape for artists seeking damages in infringement cases. The most substantial is the proposed Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act, which would set up a small claims court system in the US Copyright Office, with a board of three judges adjudicating relatively minor instances of copyright infringement. The damages that could be awarded would be limited to $15,000 for each infringed work and a total of $30,000 per claim. These courts would function as mediation mechanisms, requiring the consent of both sides to proceed. Defendants would have the right to opt out of the proceedings within 60 days and resolve the matter in a federal courtroom instead. 

27.03.2020, The Art NewspaperUS copyright law comes under scrutiny as new legislation makes its way before Congress 

In Time of Quarantine, Zwirner Shares Online Platform With Smaller Galleries: While online viewing rooms have quickly become all the rage during the coronavirus outbreak, not every gallery has the money or staff to send their artworks out into the digital sphere while their physical spaces remain closed. David Zwirner gallery has invited 12 smaller New York-based galleries to join its existing high-tech online viewing room through an effort called Platform: New York.  

27.03.2020, The New York TimesIn Time of Quarantine, Zwirner Shares Online Platform With Smaller Galleries  

Hobby Lobby President to Return 11,500 Antiquities to Iraq and Egypt: Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green said he is in the process of repatriating 11,500 antiquities to the Iraqi and Egyptian governments, bowing to what he called justified criticism from scholars and authorities over the ways he amassed a vast collection for the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. 

27.03.2020, The Wall Street JournalHobby Lobby President to Return 11,500 Antiquities to Iraq and Egypt 

Banksy Balloon Prints Sell Like Hotcakes in Ice-Cold Art Market: An online sale of 25 prints by the street artist Banksy totalled $1.38 million, about $70,000 more than the high estimate, Sotheby’s said. The auction, with as many as two dozen bidders per lot, was led by two versions of the artist’s “Girl With Balloon,” based on the painting that famously self-destructed at auction in 2018. The top lot, a version with a pink balloon, fetched 375,000 pounds ($464,000). A second with a red balloon brought in 106,250 pounds. One lot failed to sell. 

27.03.2020, BloombergBanksy Balloon Prints Sell Like Hotcakes in Ice-Cold Art Market  

27.03.2020, ArtnetSotheby’s Online Banksy Sale Just Made $1.4 Million, Proving That People Really Will Buy Banksy Under Any Circumstances  

Supreme Court rules film-maker cannot sue North Carolina for copyright infringement: The US Supreme Court ruled last Monday that state governments may use copyrighted images without having to ask permission of, or pay a licensing fee to, the works’ owners under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The decision could significantly impact artists, particularly photographers and writers, whose images and words may be used by state government offices, such as tourist bureaus. 

23.03.2020, The Art NewspaperSupreme Court rules film-maker cannot sue North Carolina for copyright infringement  

World

Art markets find high-tech ways to reach buyers: While auctions lend themselves relatively well to online sales, the supply of items for sale — the driver of the art market — is discretionary. Would-be sellers of some of the more pricey pieces are biding their time during this coronavirus pandemic. “This is an unprecedented situation, but what you generally see during a crisis is that consignors postpone their decisions,” said Guillaume Cerutti, chief executive of Christie’s. 

27.03.2020, The Financial TimesArt markets find high-tech ways to reach buyers  

UAE Buys $400,000 Worth Of Art From Emirati Artists: After Art Dubai, a major revenue driver for galleries in the region, cancelled its in-person events and moved the fair online, the United Arab Emirates went on a buying spree, purchasing more than $400,000 worth of art produced by emerging and established Emirati artists. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy was behind the acquisition campaign, which it launched in an attempt to help the nation’s cultural sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

27.03.2020, ArtforumUAE Buys $400,000 Worth Of Art From Emirati Artists 

São Paulo Bienal Postpones Thirty-Fourth Edition: The São Paulo Bienal in Brazil has become the latest art-world event to announce that it will no longer take place as planned. Organizers announced last Wednesday that, in order to “protect the safety of visitors, artists, and collaborators, in response to the challenges the whole world is facing,” the thirty-fourth edition of the exhibition will be postponed. 

26.03.2020, ArtforumSão Paulo Bienal Postpones Thirty-Fourth Edition 

Hi-tech hunt for looted antiquities: In the battle against looted antiquities, modern technology and expert knowledge are combining to return ancient artefacts to their rightful owners. Egyptologists from the British Museum have identified about 4,500 antiquities thought to have been illegally trafficked, as part of a new tactic to keep track of items for sale online. 

26.03.2020, The TimesHi-tech hunt for looted antiquities

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