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INTELLECTUAL VERSUS REAL PROPERTY RIGHTS How can living artists protect their rights to participate in a continuing intellectual dialogue through their artworksby participation in important and relevant exhibitions ?After a work has been sold, often through a third party such as a gallery, what can an artist do to be assured of some kind of access to what is still their intellectual property, even though the artist no longer owns the actual physical artwork?There has already been discussion about the artist’s right to share in future profits resulting from the rising status of an artwork . Some places, for example, California, have passed laws to facilitate this. However,as far as I know, little has been said about issues of artists’and owners’rights regarding the loan of artworksto future exhibitions. In 1982I finished a painting that was a visual translation (or “performance”)of Claude Debussy’s“Nuages,”the firstsection of his Nocturnes [11.I realized these 10minutes of music in 104ft of painting (standing 4 ft high), which I created in 27 pieces to be hung without space between them. I knew from the beginning that I would need to allow the piece to be sold in sections,although I reserved the right to decide at which points the painting would be split apart. At the time, my hope was to find three collectors who would make a consortium with the possibilityof reuniting the painting some day in an exhibition. I have since had to give up this dream. I began to show and sell the first sections of my 13-partvisual performance of Anton Bruckner’sEighth Symphony in C Minor [21. This series of works occupied me for 10years; each painting is 4 ft high and 10 to 16ft wide. I had my attorney draw up a contract to be included in all sales agreements involvingany painting from this series. I knew that it would be difficult to enforce such a contract, especially in the event of a resale, but I viewed it more as a filter for prospective collectors than as a protective document. I also assumed that anyone unwilling to cooperate would not buy the work. This system worked quite well until I had an exhibition with a galleristwho had agreed to use the contract in the event of a sale,but simply did not keep her word. She sold the third theme from the first movement to a large law firm and told me to send the contract to the firm after the sale was completed. I explained the complete project concept in letters to the firm, outlining the benefits that they would gain at no cost when the paintings were shown in major European museums, complete with a beautiful catalogue giving full credit to the collectors . In addition, I pointed out that the exhibition and catalogue would contribute to the rising value of their purchase. The initial response was not good. The firm’srepresentative (withwhom I corresponded during the following 2 years) was angry that I would try to add these “onerous”conditions afterthe sale-she replied they would not sign the contract nor cooperate with the exhibition. The end product of my 2 years of pleading was that I was to be allowed the painting for only half the time needed for the show to travel to be financiallyviable. Furthermore, I would be required, at my own expense, to provide another one of my works as a replacement. I was prepared to do the latter, but their time restrictions made the exhibition impossible. cancellation due to the departure of the museum director who had planned the opening show. I suddenly had 6 more years to prepare for the exhibition, and so I decided to paint a My second attempt toward having some control over the future of my work occurred when A new solution became possible when the exhibition of the Symphony suffered a temporary 8 1993BAST LEONARDO,Vol. 26,No.1,pp. 34,1993 3 second performance of‘the Third Themeusing all of the drawings,images and plans of’the first painting. Schwitters’s Ursonate.I am planning to make two complete performances: the first will be shown and sold in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 3-4
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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