$6.75 Million Award for 5Pointz Aerosol Artists Affirmed on Appeal Two years ago, in one of the most important decisions applying the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) since its adoption, New York's Eastern District awarded $6.75 million in statutory damages to 21 graffiti artists whose aerosol works were intentionally destroyed by the owner of the buildings on which they were painted. This decision was covered in detail in our earlier article.
VARA was enacted to protect the moral rights of artists in their works of visual art as distinguished from the ownership rights in the works. The statute gives artists the right to sue to prevent the destruction of a work of "recognized stature," a term VARA does not define. Additionally, an artist may seek money damages if their work is distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified to the prejudice of the artist's honor or reputation.
On the appeal by the buildings' owner, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision stating that temporary artworks such as graffiti, which are frequently painted over by other street artists, can nonetheless have "recognized stature" under VARA. In so holding, the Court of Appeals upheld the monetary award to the artists. The stunning sum is meant to be a deterrent to future VARA violations and a message to building owners to negotiate with artists whose works are incorporated into structures.
Artnet: A Stunning Legal Decision Just Upheld a $6.75 Million Victory for the Street Artists Whose Works Were Destroyed at the 5Pointz Graffiti Mecca Art Exhibitor Sues European Insurers for Seized Paintings Global Art Exhibitions Inc. claims that a group of European fine art insurers owes coverage for 12 paintings attributed to Amedeo Modigliani and Moïse Kisling that were seized by the Italian government under claims of forgery. The art exhibitor, which stands by the authenticity of the artworks, claims that the policies in question must cover artwork recovery costs.
Law360: Exhibitor Says Insurers Owe Coverage for Seized Paintings Collector Sues Princeton University After an Art Sale Falls Through New York City−based art collector Vincent Fay is suing Princeton University for failure to pay the second of two payments for the purchase of 17 artworks in a $1 million art sale. According to the complaint, the university raised questions as to the works' provenance, authenticity and value, but their concerns were allegedly not "documented or...