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Another major departure from Sotheby’s

Rauschenberg Foundation Eases Copyright Restrictions | The Met Settles Ambiguity over its ‘Recommended Donation’ | Richard Prince Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit | The Weekend’s Best Comment & Reviews

29 February 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Henry Wyndham to Leave Sotheby’s | In the latest of a string of high-profile departures, Sotheby’s Europe Chairman Henry Wyndham is to leave the auction house after 22 years, he informed staff in an internal e-mail. In his own words, he has been mulling over leaving Sotheby’s for ‘at least a year’, and is now planning to take a six-month break for ‘rest and travel’ before deciding on his next career move. He will chair his last auction for the company – the sale of the Duchess of Devonshire’s collection – on Wednesday. See Colin Gleadell’s article in Telegraph Luxury for an analysis of the announcement.

Rauschenberg Foundation Eases Copyright Restrictions | The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is relaxing its approach to the reproduction of the late artist’s images under fair-use rules. Under the new policy, royalty fees and permissions will be waived for non-commercial uses of Rauschenberg’s work, as well as in commentary, criticism, and reporting. The move is partly to prevent the circulation of sub-standard reproductions of Rauschenberg’s work; the Foundation recommends that anyone wishing to obtain images should approach it directly. It also hopes that other artists’ estates will follow its lead. ‘The system [of access to artists’ images] has created barriers for the wrong people,’ says Rauschenberg Foundation Chief Executive Christy MacLear, who adds, ‘There’s a lot of fear that has grown up around the use of images for things that we should all encourage, like education and scholarship and museum work.’ According to the New York Times, the Foundation expects to lose nearly half its image-rights income from the initiative. A small price to pay for so bold a step.

The Met Settles Ambiguity over its ‘Recommended Donation’ | The Metropolitan Museum has settled a three-year-old class action suit brought by plaintiffs who claimed its ‘recommended admission’ of $25 to enter its galleries was misleading to the public. Though the museum operates a ‘pay what you wish’ policy, its critics complained that visitors are led to believe that the ‘recommended’ sum is compulsory (and thus prohibitive to people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds). The result of the settlement is that as of March, the Met will change its signage to read ‘suggested admission’.

Richard Prince Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit | Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by photographer Donald Graham, reports The Art Newspaper. Graham believes that the artist has infringed his copyright by appropriating one of his photographs for a work created for his 2014 show ‘New Portraits’. For their part, the defendents claim the work in question is a ‘commentary on the power of social media to broadly disseminate others’ work’.

The Weekend’s Best Comment & Reviews | In the Observer, Laura Cumming (quite rightly) lavished praise on Mark Wallinger’s double exhibition at Hauser + Wirth Savile Row, while just several pages prior to the write up, Wallinger divulged his own cultural highlights. There was an interesting piece in the Independent on Sunday about the involvement of John Piper and other British artists in textile design in the 1950s while in the Sunday Times (£), Waldemar Januszczak enjoyed Tate Modern’s ‘Performing for the Camera’, while puzzling over the origins of the word ‘performative’.

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