Moral Rights in Street Art: The 5Pointz Story


On this month’s podcast we discuss the non-economic “moral rights” of artists in the context of the famous 5Pointz aerosol art mecca in Long Island City, Queens that was whitewashed and torn down in 2013.  In the ensuing litigation, the aerosol artists asserted violations of their moral rights under the Visual Artist Rights Act, the U.S. moral rights statute.  In a surprise to many, they recently won $6.7 million in damages after succeeding on these claims.  The art, however, was permanently lost.  Steve and Katie discuss the origin and contours of moral rights, how they fit into U.S. copyright law, the story of 5Pointz and the laws around street art and graffiti.  They are joined by famous aerosol artist Jonathan Cohen (Meres One), 5Pointz event planner and artist representative Marie Cecile Flageul, and Renee Vara, the artists’ expert in the 5Pointz trial.

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What Can Science Tell Us About Art?


On this month’s podcast we discuss the role of science in fine art.  Specifically, what can science tell us about a work of art’s origin and authenticity?  Can science help us discover fakes and forgeries undetected by traditional connoisseur style observation?  We are joined by the famous art scientist Jamie Martin to discuss these issues, recount famous forgery scandals, and delve into his techniques and practices.

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Bonus Episode: Update on the Berkshire Museum Saga – the AG and Museum Agree to Sales


Katie and Steve give listeners an update on the Berkshire Museum deaccessioning controversy.  The Massachusetts Attorney General and the Museum have reached an agreement, pending approval by the Supreme Judicial Court, permitting sales of up to $55 million with the famous Norman Rockwell painting Shuffleton’s Barbershop going to an undisclosed museum.  The Rockwell sons have dropped out of the litigation, but the other plaintiffs oppose the compromise and are still fighting.

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Can a Museum Sell Your Art?: The Berkshire Museum Saga As a Cautionary Tale


In our first full-length episode, we discuss the Berkshire Museum’s controversial decision to sell off 40 works of iconic art from its permanent collection to raise funds to rebrand itself as a science and natural history museum, and build a large endowment.  Only after the regional museum had signed an agreement with Sotheby’s auction house to deaccession these works, did the museum announce its plans to the public.  Museum and cultural groups, the fine arts community, and certain local constituents have passionately opposed these plans.  Other stakeholders and commentators have strongly supported the museum’s efforts to monetize its collection and rebrand.  We will discuss both the ethical and legal issues around deaccessioning and the Berkshire Museum’s actions in particular.  We are joined by the financial and art-market journalist, Felix Salmon.

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