Friday, March 25, 2011

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts New York files amicus brief in Visual Artist's Rights Act case: Chapman Kelley v CPD

Amicus brief champions an artist's perspective; primes 7th Circuit Court Appeals justices as they prepare to cast votes on whether or not to rehear the case "en banc"

         On March 22, 2011the appeals process surged forward via an arts-friendly court filing.

        In the wake of the adverse appellate decision regarding Kelley's Chicago Wildflower Works--handed down by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on February 15, 2011--savvy arts professionals realized a far reaching anti-artists' rights precedent had been established. 

        Keenly aware of the long term negative effect the precedent would have on the U.S. art world, especially impacting painters and sculptors, on March 22, 2011 the nonprofit Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts - New York, filed its amicus "friend of the court" brief.  The team who authored VLANY's amicus brief are: Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Dena Bouchard and Anna Kadyshevich.         
          VLANY, as advocate for the arts community, recently represented Swiss artist Christoph Büchel in the Visual Artist's Rights Act dispute Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art v Christoph Büchel.  In the Art & Design section of the New York Times, Randy Kennedy wrote about the case on January 28, 2010, "[Visual] Artists Rights Act Applies in Dispute, Court Rules."  VLANY was successful in convincing a New York appeals court panel of justices to reverse a district court's ruling to find in favor of the artist.
          The perception is that in Kelley's hometown of Dallas, Texas, news media, arts organizations, arts patrons and even artists themselves are reluctant speak out about this important artists' rights cause.  Perhaps folks are nervous about being labelled as rabble-rousers; other people may fear being ostracized after getting drafted into an often crippling art museum, gallery, art dealer, or social blacklist.
          Whatever the reason, it is just plain wrong to have so many art lovers remain passive...silent.  But let us be clear:  it is supremely uplifting to know VLANY is standing tall by doing the right thing for artists' rights in the USA.  ¡Que viva VLANY! 
          The VLANY amicus brief springs from an artist's viewpoint--Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is an artist and art law counsel--and its thrust is particularly important to the art community.  Read the incisive brief here.

          Should a rehearing en banc be voted down by the justices of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kelley will plead for relief in the Supreme Court of the United States.

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