This month, in Cohen v. G&M Realty L.P., the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari to Jerry Wolkoff’s GM Realty, which had urged the Court to strike down certain “unconstitutionally vague statutory provision[s]” of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA”) on the basis that they leave “property owners
Continue Reading Update: Certiorari Denied in 5Pointz Appeal

Art institutions across the globe have been particularly hard-hit by governmental shutdowns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the United States, not only have shutdowns deprived numerous for-profit and not-for-profit art institutions of their primary source of revenue, but in many cases these institutions’ classification as “non-essential” have
Continue Reading Pardon the Interruption: Potential Paths Forward for Art Institutions Seeking COVID-Related “Business Interruption” Insurance Coverage

On July 29, 2020, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued a 150-page bipartisan report that identifies the art market both as the “largest legal, unregulated market in the United States” and a significant weakness in the nation’s sanctions and anti-money laundering regimes.[1]  The Senate Report
Continue Reading Senate Report Documents Russian Oligarchs’ Use of the U.S. Art Market to Launder Money

On June 9, 2020, the Second Circuit effectively terminated Sotheby’s efforts to bring suit against a foreign nation for interference with one of its auctions, reversing and remanding Barnet v. Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic to the Southern District of New York with instructions to dismiss
Continue Reading Second Circuit Holds that FSIA Bars Suit Against Sovereign Asserting Cultural Patrimony Claim

On August 14, 2019, Judge Lorna Schofield of the Southern District of New York entered an Opinion and Order in The Art & Antique Dealers League of America, Inc. v. Seggos, 18 Civ. 2504, ruling on the constitutionality of provisions of New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 11-0535-a
Continue Reading Art Dealers’ First Amendment Argument Against New York State Ivory Law Survives Motion to Dismiss

Despite a recent decision in favor of municipal and property-developer defendants, a case pending in the Central District of Illinois serves as yet another warning to property developers to seek VARA waivers from artists up front.

In April 2019, 13 artists (the “Artist-Plaintiffs”) brought VARA claims against two defendants, the
Continue Reading Fighting Back Against the “New Normal” – Artists Assert VARA Rights to Protect Street Art

A case pending in the Western District of Pennsylvania should provide the opportunity for a federal judge to clarify the pleading requirements for the “recognized stature” element of a VARA claim.

In April 2018, street artist Kyle Holbrook and two arts organizations that he founded brought VARA claims against forty-four
Continue Reading Pennsylvania District Court to Rule on Whether Street-Artist VARA Plaintiff Must Plead Facts Supporting “Recognized Stature”of the Work

Last year, two trade groups of New York-based art and antiques dealers brought claims against New York State officials in the federal court for the Southern District of New York, seeking to invalidate a 2014 New York law that opens dealers up to criminal penalties for buying and selling antique
Continue Reading Arts and Antiques Dealers Await Judge’s Ruling on Challenge to Strict New York State Ivory Law

On April 1, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in a series of Ninth Circuit cases that found that the California Resale Royalty Act (“CRRA”) was partially preempted by section 301(a) of the 1976 Copyright Act. Under the CRRA, secondary-market sellers of fine art would be required to
Continue Reading Update: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in California Resale Royalty Case