Australian uproar over bull carcass artwork

David Walsh is no stranger to controversy. The multimillionaire professional gambler and founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Australia has been shocking visitors with his private art collection since it opened to the public in 2011. It comes as no surprise then that Walsh’s latest project, which involves the use of a bull carcass to perform a “bloody, sacrificial ritual” has stirred up a maelstrom of protest. Continue reading

Bagels and graffiti: McDonald’s in another street art row

A New York City graffiti artist collective is threatening to sue McDonald’s for unauthorised use of their work in a Dutch advertising campaign.

Images of street art by the Bushwick Collective appeared in a video entitled “McDonald’s Presents the Vibe of Bushwick NY” promoting the fast food mega-chain’s latest addition to its menu, the ‘New York Bagel Supreme’. The four-minute video features six graffiti artists from the Collective hired by McDonald’s to paint its new bagel burger in various locations around the Netherlands.  Continue reading

Tate Modern taken to court over nosy gallery-goers

When Tate Modern’s new Switch House extension opened to the public in June 2016 it dazzled the critics with its bold design and panoramic views over the London skyline. However, according to a claim filed in the High Court, not everyone has been left starry-eyed over the architectural addition to the South Bank.

Residents of neighbouring apartment blocks are suing Tate Modern for having turned their flats into ‘goldfish bowls’ after nosy tourists were spotted peering into their homes from the gallery’s 10th floor viewing platform. Voyeuristic visitors to the pyramid tower platform were even said to have photographed the interior of residents’ glass-fronted apartments and posted them on social media. One image captures a pet cat at the window while in others, residents are snapped chatting on their phones and relaxing on their sofas. Continue reading

Study to lift veil on art theft in post-war Germany

Researchers expect a host of new restitution claims will arise out of an investigation into the expropriation of art in post-war East Germany.

The German Lost Art Foundation, the organisation established by the German government in 2015 to fund research into art theft perpetrated by the Nazis, is to receive public funding to investigate the looting of cultural property during the  Soviet Occupation and the Cold War. Continue reading

‘Fearless Girl’ and ‘Charging Bull’ lurch towards courtroom showdown

Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl”, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday (12 April) in response to the allegation that the beloved statue violates copyright and should be removed.

‘Fearless Girl’ appeared opposite the iconic ‘Charging Bull’ statue in NYC’s Financial District this year to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. It was installed by financial firm State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) and advertising firm McCann New York to raise awareness of the underrepresentation of women in Wall Street boardrooms. Originally intended for temporary display, the bronze statue has been allowed to stay until March 2018 by Mayor de Blasio after New Yorkers adopted her into their hearts. Continue reading

Knoedler forgery update: Seventh lawsuit settles

The Swiss art historian facing fraud charges after he acted as an agent in the sale of a fake Mark Rothko painting by the now defunct Knoedler Gallery in New York has settled with the buyer out of court.

Casino magnate Frank Fertitta who purchased the work from the once-prestigious Knoedler art dealership in 2008 accused Oliver Wick, a Rothko expert, of misleading him about the forgery. The terms of the settlement filed in Manhattan federal court on 11 April remain unknown. Continue reading

Guelph Treasure lawsuit to proceed in US court

Following a historic court ruling, Germany will have to defend itself for the first time in the United States against a claim for the restitution of an important collection of medieval art and artifacts known as the Guelph Treasure.

In a judgment handed down on March 31, the US District Court for the District of Columbia held that Germany cannot claim immunity from suit over the return of the Nazi-looted treasure under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The Act prohibits lawsuits from being filed against other countries except where the government takes property in violation of international law. US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly held that Nazi looting of Jewish property “constitute[s] genocide and genocide… is a clear violation of international law”.  Continue reading

Late artist’s window cleaner robbed boss of prized paintings

A window cleaner jumped at the chance to steal £500,000 worth of art from the home of late Scottish painter Alan Davie, a UK court has heard.

Daniel Pressland had cleaned Davie’s windows and performed odd-jobs for him since 2002. Aware of a first floor window in the artist’s Hertford home that could not be closed properly, Pressland burgled the house several times in the months following Davie’s death in 2014.   Continue reading

Missing oil paintings resurface a stone’s throw from the crime scene

In a remarkable act of daring, eight missing oil paintings were stashed just an hour’s drive from the quiet Danish residence where they were stolen over sixteen years ago.

On March 14, the Art Loss Register (ALR) announced that all eight paintings had been recovered. The key to their rediscovery was a valuable portrait of a seated young woman reading her book by Danish painter Carl Vilhelm Holsøe. One of the eight paintings burgled from the private home in December 2000, it put Danish police on the trail of the remaining works. Continue reading

Christie’s defeated in court battle over artist’s royalties

In a landmark judgment, a French court held on 24 March that art sellers must pay artist’s resale rights.

The ruling from the Versailles Court of Appeal marked the culmination of an eight-year legal battle between Christie’s auction house and two French associations of antique dealers and galleries. The battle began when the Syndicat National des antiquaires (SNA) and the Comité des galeries d’art sued Christie’s for unfair competition and abuse of its position. Christie’s had insisted that buyers pay artist’s royalties for works sold during an Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé sale in 2009.  Continue reading