Last May, a former Columbia University student sued the university over the circumstances around Emma Sulkowicz’s widely publicized “Mattress Project,” in which Sulkowicz vowed to carry a mattress around campus so long as the plaintiff, a man named Paul Nungesser whom Sulkowicz had accused of sexual assault, remained on campus. Nungesser’s lawsuit was dismissed on Friday. In addition to the interesting tactical aspects of the case—most prominently Nungesser’s decision to sue Columbia, but not Sulkowicz, who if Nungesser is to be believed has been defaming him—the dismissal is an important result in the growing campus battles over efforts to try to enforce prohibitions against expression or restrict the ability to give offense. In that sense the dismissal is a welcome result.
Columbia University has been at the center of the growing conversation about campus life and sexual assault in the past year, and now is the target of a new lawsuit by a student accused of misconduct. The case spotlights the collision between free expression and disparagement and the often uneasy balance between them. It also raises some questions about the level of intimate detail included in the documents in a case that is not actually about that conduct, but rather about an educational atmosphere. Nothing in the following article should be read as an adoption of any particular version of events.
Topics: sexual assault, Jon Kessler, Columbia University, Mattress Performance/Carry That Weight, Performance Art, Title IX, Paul Nungesser, motion to strike, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Litigation, university disciplinary board, First Amendment, U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Right, The Mattress Performance, Emma Sulkowicz
The Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Committee of the International Bar Association (of which I am a member) will be sponsoring an event March 26-27, 2015 at Sotheby’s in London. The IBA Individual Tax and Private Client Committee is also a co-sponsor, in connection with the IBA European Regional Forum. Sotheby’s is located at 34-35 New Bond Street in London.
Topics: Raul-Angelo Papotti, Farrer & Co, Karen Sanig, Daniel Simon Collyer Bristow, Helly Nahmed Gallery, The Princely Collections, Lucian Simmons Steven Thomas, Art Finance, Mary Romano, Rina Pantalony, Philip Hoffman, International Julius Baer, Luke Dugdale, Helly Nahmad, UGGC Avocats, Studio Legale Jacobacci & Associati, Mark Cornell, UK Government Art Collection, ICOM, Daniel Tunkel Howard Kennedy, Peter Polak, David Arendt, Adrian Parkhouse, Diana Wierbicki, Paris, Guy Simonius, Bloomberg, Johann Kräftner, Art Cultural Institutions and Heritage Committee o, Columbia University, Geneva; Wendy Philips, Herrick, ARIS Title, Melanie Gerlis The Art Newspaper, Jasper Sharp, Sandrine Giroud, Cadell & Co, Scotland Yard, Lalive, Jean-Francois Canat, Houston Francesca von Habsburg, 1858 Ltd Art Advisory, Viola Reikhel-Bolot, UCLA School of Law, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Stephen D Brodie, Fine Art Wealth Management, The Fine Art Fund Group, Marlborough Contemporary, Los Angeles, Randall Willette, Events, Massimo Sterpi, Luxembourg, Sherri North Cohen, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, Le Freeport, Kunsthistorisches Museum, LIECHTENSTEIN, Adrian George, Fabrizio Moretti, Alfredo Perez, Mishcon de Reya¸ George Bailey, TEFAF Maastricht, Mark Stephens, Dick Ellis, IBA Individual Tax and Private Client Committee, Goldsmiths London University, Andrew Renton, Withers, Sotheby's, Legal Issues in Museum Administration, Vaduz, Zürich, IBA, Vienna, Pure Love of Art versus Mere Investment, New York
Reflecting on the recent argument by the Detroit Institute of Arts that the city of Detroit cannot legally sell, let alone be forced to sell, the artwork in the museum to satisfy creditor, some overlapping terminology creates the possibility of an important confusion. Particularly in the realm of deaccessioning, this distinctions are quite important. Meanwhile, the state of Michigan today approved its part of the “Grand Bargain” to subsidize the bankruptcy to avoid sale or encumbrance of the artwork.
Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Rose Art Museum, Lee Rosenbaum, Columbia University, Deaccessioning, Detroit Institute of Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Association of Art Museum Directors, Michigan, Albright-Knox Gallery, New York Times, Detroit Bankruptcy, AAMD, Edward Hopper, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, grand bargain, Brandeis University, Barnes Foundation