Following outcry over its photography policy, New York’s “Vessel” changed its terms and conditions.
Interior of the Vessel. Courtesy of Michael Moran for Related-Oxford.
The Vessel, Hudson Yards’s gleaming whatsit, has been met with an overwhelmingly lukewarm reception. The Heatherwick Studio structure, oft-likened to the wealthy man’s giant shawarma, the westside’s most expensive pine cone, and the Simpsons’s Escalator to Nowhere, was under fire last week when it came out that, according to the Hudson Yards Terms & Conditions, the operators of this M.C. Escher Death Star had the rights to all photos and videos the public takes of it. According to the rules formerly in place, by creating, posting, or uploading any content depicting the Vessel, visitors were granting the Vessel the right and license to use their content however they see fit, including for commercial purposes, in perpetuity.
Following a backlash over the onerous terms and conditions, the Vessel opted earlier this week to roll back its extreme policy. The controversial “Name and Likeness” clause of the document has been wholly omitted, and the “My Content” clause has been redubbed “My Social Media Posts” and specifies that visitors retain ownership of any content they create “depicting or relating to the Vessel.” However, the revisions haven’t placated all critics of the Vessel’s policies.
Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney and former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), told Gothamist,
I think the Terms and Conditions continue to be troubling, despite less legalese in the refinement of the language. However, most of the public will continue to be in the dark about the contents of the Terms & Conditions of the Vessel. I anticipate there's no way of knowing what rights most of the people are going to be giving up unless there's some sign, some flyers [at the site ...]. Only people like me actually read the fine print to see what's there, and it's often very upsetting
Siegel went on to point out further clauses in the revised terms and conditions document that concerned him, including the ominous all-caps warning at the very bottom: “BY PURCHASING A TICKET TO OR ENTERING THE VESSEL, I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM VOLUNTARILY GIVING UP SUBSTANTIAL LEGAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO SUE THE RELEASED PARTIES.”
The Vessel at Hudson Yards. Courtesy of Michael Moran for Related-Oxford
Object & Thing, a new fair in Brooklyn charging commission instead of booth fees, revealed its inaugural exhibitors.
The venue where Object & Thing will take place, 99 Scott. Photo courtesy 99 Scott.
A theme that emerged from Armory Week in New York is that the calendar of art fairs is jam-packed. But a new fair on has a distinct approach and a fresh payment model. Opening in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood in May, Object & Thing is an art-meets-design fair where editioned objects will be sold next to sculptures, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. There’s a component called The Shop, with items that are below $100 dollars, including books and foodstuffs. It’s in a space with no booths or partitions and the items for sale are also available for purchase on an e-commerce site.
Most intriguingly, there’s no booth fee to cripple galleries, many of which are already saddled with the price of admission to Frieze New York, which runs concurrent to Object & Thing on Randall’s Island. Instead, the galleries pay a commission on what actually sells.
On Thursday, Object & Thing revealed the 32 galleries that will be paying such commissions. Many are among the world’s heavyweights, including Pace Gallery and Hauser & Wirth, alongside outfits such as London’s Herald Street, L.A.’s David Kordansky Gallery, and Mendes Wood DM, which has outposts in São Paulo, Brussels, and New York. Other local favorites include David Lewis, Bridget Donahue, and Clearing, which has a space just up the street in Bushwick.
The first court devoted exclusively to resolving art law disputes is opening in The Hague.
Image by Chris Potter, via Wikimedia Commons.
When the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA) opens in The Hague April 1, it will become the world’s first court devoted to handling legal disputes involving art. The tribunal plans to mediate cases involving everything from authenticity and restitution disputes to intellectual property and copyright claims, and cases that revolve around ownership and contract disagreements. By appointing industry experts to provide evidence and opinions on the cases it mediates, CAfA hopes to help set standards and legal precedents that hold weight throughout the global art market. However, parties in cases decided by the tribunal can stop the court from publishing the court’s decision, undercutting its aims of authority and transparency.
The market values anonymity but the objective was to have a tribunal that the market would accept. So we struck a balance in a default rule to publish but keep party names anonymous. [But] if we force parties to agree to publish, then we could lose parties to whom CAfA might be useful [...]. We view it as important to publish, but all that CAfA can do is provide a path for parties to follow that rule.
CAfA’s operations will be very different from the proceedings of a conventional court. Its judges will be experts with extensive art law experience; its hearings can take place anywhere; and it will provide its own expert to present evidence relative to each case, rather than relying on plaintiffs and defendants to hire their own. The tribunal is in the process of screening and vetting over 100 applicants to be mediators and arbitrators.
A Japanese bank created the world’s biggest contemporary art prize.
Nomura Holdings Inc. headquarters in Tokyo. Photo courtesy Nomura Holdings Inc.
On Wednesday, Nomura Holdings, Inc., a large investment bank in Japan, announced a new contemporary art prize with a purse that it calls the largest in the world: $1 million. Set to be handed over for the first time this October in Shanghai, the Nomura Art Award will give a single contemporary artist with an established body of work the funds to “support an ambitious new project that the winner did not previously have the means to realize,” as the announcement puts it.
Such a figure is indeed bigger than even the most generous prizes for contemporary art globally. When Joan Jonaswon the Kyoto Prize in June 2018, the prize was 100 million Yen, or $898,000. The Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation prize, which was created last year, comes with cash, exhibitions, and cataloguing that combined is the equivalent of $800,000. The MacArthur “Genius” Grant comes with $625,000 parceled out in quarterly installments over five years. What’s more, the Nomura Art Award will also give out two $100,000 prizes to emerging artists, and these will be handed out in Kyoto in May.
The release announcing the prize also noted Nomura’s history of engaging with the arts, even in its earliest days. The bank’s founder, Tokushichi Nomura II, is said to have been a fan of Noh theater and tea ceremony practitioner. The release also revealed that the jury for the award’s first edition is packed with curatorial heavyweights, including the recently deceased curator Okwui Enwezor. The jury consists of:
Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, M+
The late Okwui Enwezor, Independent curator, critic, author and editor
Kathy Halbreich, Executive Director, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Yuko Hasegawa, Artistic Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Max Hollein, Director, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England
Allan Schwartzman, Founder and Principal of Art Agency, Partners, and Chairman, Fine Arts Division of Sotheby’s
Artists looking to be proactive about the award will have to just sit tight for now. The jury will not be accepting any applications.