Art Law Report

The Art Law Report Named to Above the Law’s 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on December 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I was pleasantly surprised to learn today that Above the Law had published an article entitled “The 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014,” and right there at Number 1 was none other than the Art Law Report. As Colin O’Keefe and Cara McDonald wrote:

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Topics: Omar A. Lucia Jeffrey A. Soble, the Auto Industry Blog, Retail Law Advisor, Trademarkology, Bob Law’s Law Blog, Stites & Harbison, Nazi-looted art in Munich, Walker O’Neill, ownership intellectual property, authentication, the Goulston & Storrs Retail Group, Above the Law, Gray Reed & McGraw P.C., Gurlitt Collection, BeLabor the Point, Covington & Burling LLP, R-T Specialty LLC, Charles Sartain, art, Canna Law Blog, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Stit, the Art Law Report, Gurlitt, Restitution, Canna Law, David Smyth, Kevin LaCroix, Colin O'Keefe, Goulston & Storrs, Cady Bar the Door, First Amendment, Hilary Bricken, The D&O Diary, Jim Walker, Cruise Law News, Harris Moure, Foley & Lardner, 12 Awesome Law Blogs of 2014, Brooks Pierce, Inside Privacy, Cara McDonald, Energy and the Law

The Art Law Report Turns Three: the Training Wheels are Off

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on September 15, 2014 at 5:36 AM

As I have before, I wanted to mark the third anniversary of this blog since we posted three articles on September 15, 2011. In the last year, you (the reader) have helped the Report grow beyond our most optimistic hopes. We have done our best to cover significant events like the Gurlitt saga and restitution issues, the Detroit bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Corcoran Gallery merger, auction houses and privacy in New York, the Beastie Boys GoldieBlox and copyright/fair use, the “flea market Renoir” case, and so much more. Our monthly traffic in year three has almost surpassed the readers in all of year one, and the sky is the limit. As always, the goal remains to present a fresh perspecive on these legal issues affecting the visual arts and its institutions, of use and interest both to the lawyer and non-lawyer alike.

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Topics: Deaccession, Gurlitt Collection, Cy Pres, the Art Law Report, Gurlitt, Restitution, GoldieBlox, Copyright, Detroit Instiute of Arts, Corcoran Gallery, Beastie Boys, Detroit Bankruptcy, Fair Use

United States Abandons Finally Its Effort to Seize Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer in St. Louis, Egypt’s Plans Unknown

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on July 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

The Department of Justice has made public its plans to let the deadline pass for seeking rehearing or further review of the June, 2014 decision affirming the dismissal of its efforts to seize the Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer in the St. Louis Art Museum by civil forfeiture. In an interview with St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United States Attorney Richard Callahan stated that “The Department of Justice will take no further legal action with respect to the mask.”

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Museums, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

What Happens to St. Louis Art Museum Suit Against the U.S. over the Mask of Ka Nefer Nefer—Will Museum Dismiss its Case Voluntarily?

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM

On the heels of the St. Louis Art Museum’s victory against the civil forfeiture action over the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, the question arises what the museum will do with the lawsuit it filed in 2011 concerning the mask. That lawsuit, The Art Museum Subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District of the City of Saint Louis and the County of Saint Louis, (the “SLAM Case”) filed before the civil forfeiture action that was the subject of last week’s opinion(United States vs. Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, hereafter the “Forfeiture Action”), sought a declaratory judgment on several issues. This tactic is not uncommon when two parties disagree over a claim; essentially the party who would ordinarily be the defendant (here the possessor of the property, the museum), seeks offensively a declaration about the parties’ rights. Because of its recent victory in the Forfeiture Action, the museum’s best move may be to dismiss the SLAM Case now, rather than litigate ownership questions that it no longer has to answer.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, Mohamed Ibrahim, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Customs, Minister of Antiquities, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

Appeals Court Rules Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer Will Stay at St. Louis Art Museum Because Government Missed Deadlines

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on June 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

The Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the U.S. government’s attempt to seize the Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer from the St. Louis Art Museum. Despite the government’s persistent characterization the mask as stolen before it entered the country, the civil forfeiture case has been rebuffed. The narrow issue was whether the trial court had properly denied the government’s request to amend its complaint after an initial challenge, but as the 8th Circuit put it, “Underlying that issue is an attempt to expand the government’s forfeiture powers at the likely expense of museums and other good faith purchasers in the international marketplace for ancient artifacts.” That latter question will have to wait another day, because the case was resolved on the government’s missed deadlines and nothing more.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, Department of Justice, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), the Art Law Report, Restitution, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, United States, Antiquities, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

Last Call: "Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" on Monday

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

A last reminder that on Monday, there will be a panel discusion at Columbia Law School entited "Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" From the event description:

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Topics: Johnson Museum of Art, Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Deaccession, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Cornell University, Graham W. J. Beal, Richard Levin, Frank Robinson, Pippa Loengard, the Art Law Report, Events, Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning, Williams College Museum of Art, Nicholas O'Donnell, Rhode Island School of Design, New York Times, Detroit Bankruptcy, Samuel Sachs II, Detroit Institute of Art

"Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" at Columbia October 28, 2013

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on October 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM

A reminder that two weeks from Monday, I will join a panel discusion at Columbia Law School entited "Selling the Museum's Collection: Is Deaccessioning Ever Appropriate?" From the event description:

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Topics: Donn Zaretsky, Roberta Smith, Deaccession, Pippa Loengard, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Law Report, Events, Columbia Law School, Nicholas O'Donnell, New York Times

St. Louis Art Museum Prevails Against U.S. Claim to Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM

The St. Louis Art Museum has defeated the federal goverment's efforts to seize the Egyptian Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer under U.S. customs laws.

The Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer is a funerary mask of an ancient Egyptian noblewoman. The St. Louis Art Museum purchased it from a dealer in 1998. Sometime later, the United States began to seek its seizure, arguing that it was stolen property. The museum sued the government in the first instance to seek a declaration that the attempts to seize the Mask should cease. The United States then brought a civil forfeiture action under U.S. customs laws (proceedings in which the object is the defendant, making the case United States v. The Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer; it is left to the person claiming ownership to file a claim in which she bears the burden of proof). In its papers, the government essentially argued that the fact that the Mask had gone missing in Egypt by 1973 and then surfaced in a sale in the United States decades later, meant that it could not have been imported legally.

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Topics: Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, St. Louis Art Museum, 19 U.S.C. 1595a, the Art Law Report, United States, Customs, Civil Forfeiture, Ancient Egypt

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The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities.

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