Friday, October 31, 2014

What the heck is going on in the Ninth Circuit on the resale royalty case?

I'm the first to admit I'm not a commerce clause expert (dormant or otherwise), but it has always seemed to me that the resale royalty case was pretty simple and straightforward.  That's certainly how it seemed in the recent oral argument on the appeal.  Now, however, it seems the Ninth Circuit has ordered an en banc review, on account of "a potential conflict in circuit precedent on Commerce Clause applicability to state actions."  Nicholas O'Donnell has some thoughts here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

More on my deaccessioning puzzle

Michael Rushton offers up a speculative, tentative, cautious, possible answer to the deaccessioning puzzle I presented last week.

It's basically a "capture" theory -- that, as with all large, complex nonprofit organizations, the general direction of major art museums is determined by their "knowledge workers" (i.e., the curatorial staff), and the deaccession policy that we see is the one they prefer.  Like anything Rushton writes, it's worth thinking about, and I will do so, but in the meantime, let me offer two quick reactions:  (1) I'm not sure it's true.  I've linked before to a number of curator-types who have publicly questioned the wisdom of the standard view on deaccessioning; I've heard many others do the same in private conversations.  And (2) even if true, all this would do is explain where the rule came from; it wouldn't tell us whether we ought to give it any weight.  So curators want more and more art.  Big surprise.  Why is that the end of the discussion?

But more importantly, notice how nuanced ... subtle ... creative Rushton's answer is.  This is in stark contrast to the way the AAMD and its accomplices among the Deaccession Police talk about it.  For them, it's a simple, black and white issue.  There is no puzzle, there is nothing to be explained or defended.  It's a simple matter of "common sense."  It's the "coin of the realm."

In fact, the Deaccession Police don't have an answer at all.  What they do, instead, is pretend the question doesn't exist.

Ain't it grand!

The Atlantic: One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Inching Closer

The hedge funds are on board in Detroit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Detroit could make $25M selling copper from old streetlights"

Are streetlights held in the public trust?

If not, why not?

Is everything valuable a city owns held in the public trust and therefore not permitted to be sold?  If not, why not?  What makes art different?  When does the magic fairy dust get sprinkled on?

Monday, October 20, 2014

"The Feud That’s Shaking Gallery Walls"

Robert Frank had a piece in the Times this weekend on the Perelman-Gagosian lawsuit.

The story leaves out that the bulk of the case was thrown out earlier this year.

Felix Salmon boils it down:  "I really don't understand what the Perelman beef is here.  Larry set a price, Ron voluntarily paid it."

"He was taken into custody by police after he struggled with the museum’s security guards."

New York Times:  Vandal Strikes Koons Exhibit.

Breaking non-news: Banksy has not been arrested

Artnet doesn't have the news.