Laura Gilbert

Art Law

New Legislation to Protect Foreign Art Lenders From Lawsuits on U.S. Soil

When the Stedelijk Museum loans works by Malevich to the Met, a legal battle was sparked. (Photo by Eric Arnau/Flickr)

Eight years ago, while a group of paintings by the Russian modernist Kazimir Malevich was on loan to the Menil Collection in Houston, the artist’s heirs, who had been attempting to recover them, sued the city of Amsterdam, home to the Stedelijk Museum, which had loaned the works. In 2005 the U.S. federal court hearing the case ruled that even if loaned art could not be seized under federal law, the presence of the artwork in the U.S. could still provide a basis for suing the foreign-government lender for damages. The decision effectively opened up a new path to allow litigation for chasing wrongfully taken art, and some foreign governments refused to lend to U.S. museums out of fear that they would be hauled into court. Read More


The Case That Halted a Russian Ship: Chabad Now Wants to Negotiate in Museum Embargo Lawsuit

The Nadezhda, via http://www.odin.tc

On Friday, Russia ordered one of its ships used for military training purposes, the Nadezhda, not to make a scheduled landing in San Francisco, citing Russia’s ongoing dispute with the Brooklyn-based Jewish sect Chabad, which has led to an embargo on objects loaned between Russian and U.S. museums. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Russian Consul General Vladimir Vinokurov attributed the change in orders in the landing, which had been scheduled as part of a good will tour, to “a long problem” involving Chabad’s claims. Read More


Josephine Halvorson’s Radical Realism

Josephine Halvorson, "Generator," 2011, oil on linen, 34 x 28 inches. (Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.)

Josephine Halvorson makes small artworks that have a huge impact. Why do viewers stop dead in their tracks in front of her pieces—humble oil paintings that are descriptive close-ups of such unlikely subjects as a machine valve, crumbs in a cake pan or the blocked window of a salt-water taffy shack—and then linger there?

To some, this reaction might seem puzzling, because—although Ms. Halvorson, 30, at times resists the label—her work is realistic, at the very least in the sense that she sets up her easel in front of real things in the physical world and paints what she sees. A new exhibition, her second solo show at Chelsea gallery Sikkema Jenkins, opened last Friday. Read More


Metropolitan Plans 50-Artist Exhibition on Warhol’s Influence

The entrance hall of the Met. (Photo: Michael Gray / Flickr)

When it comes to contemporary art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art tends to focus on super-safe exhibitions of canonized artists deep into their careers—think Robert Rauschenberg or John Baldessari—or small shows of well-established mid-career figures like Neo Rauch and Tara Donovan. Only occasionally has it explored recent art history, as it did with its 2009 “Pictures Generation” show. Read More