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Kobel's Art Weekly

not copyrighted in the US: AI generated images
not copyrighted in the US: AI generated images
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 38 2023

Help for the earthquake victims in Morocco through the sale of artworks is organised by the Artists for Morocco initiative, presented by Monopol. So far, 27 motifs by artists such as Hanane El Ouardani or Yto Barrada can be purchased at a net price of 125 euros each. According to Chinma Johnson-Nwosu in The Art Newspaper, the art fair 1-54 is also preparing a benefit action.

At first Niklas Maak grumbles a bit about Berlin Art Week in the FAZ, but in the end he is somewhat reconciled: "Berlin has a lot of art, but no big fair. Time and again there have been attempts to turn the capital into a place where art is not only produced but also bought: There was the Art Forum, the abc, the Art Berlin; only the Gallery Weekend, which takes place at the beginning of May, and the small fair Positions, which has been around for ten years and is currently again offering a forum to galleries from twenty countries in the former Tempelhof Airport, have survived. It, too, is part of Berlin Art Week, where art can be seen in more than a hundred museums, exhibition spaces, project rooms, discos, hotel ruins and galleries until the end of this week. One can find the concept of the festival, which is organised by the state-owned Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH, richly endowed from several senate budgets, chaotic and the money not well spent in all cases. But of course there's always a lot to discover at such a large-scale event." Christian Herchenröder compresses the art marathon Berlin Art Week on one page in the Handelsblatt, and he even accommodates the Positions fair: "Running parallel to the gallery programme in Tempelhof is the "Positions" fair, which in its tenth year makes no bad impression. The best of the 100 or so exhibitors can be found in Hangar 6."

Brita Sachs visited the gallery events Various Others and Open Art, which started the previous week, for the FAZ: "Various Others is still offering a dense programme of artist talks, guided tours, concerts and performances until October and this time has put a strong focus on openings of museums and institutions. The 35th Open Art, which started at the same time, is an initiative to which most of Munich's 50 or so galleries belong, will benefit from this."

Annika von Taube at Monopol (Paywall) views the concentration in the field of art fairs with unease: "The fact that monopolies also dictate prices and that monopolists can decide for themselves whether and in what form they further develop their products is irrelevant in the case of fairs, one might think - after all, it is the task of art to further develop itself and not that of sales platforms. It's just that these platforms decide on the programme by selecting the participating galleries, based on the imprints and visitor preferences created within their infrastructure. But selection and homogenisation do not produce diversity, but a creeping narrowing of the offer."

Very inconspicuously, the Geneva trade fair company Palexpo has parted company with Thomas Hug, the initiator and director of Art Genève and Artmonte-Carlo. A press release, which at least did not go to the trade press and is not available online, dates back to August. It merely states that the previous number two Charlotte Diwan will be the new director, assisted by Philippe Davet of the Geneva-based art consultancy Blondeau & Cie in the organisation of the next edition of the fair in Geneva and the "creation of a steering committee". Nothing could be learned about the circumstances of Hug's separation, even when asked. Is this still Swiss discretion or just bad style?

The most expensive jumper in the world today belonged to Lady Di, reports dpa. The first picture painted by Bob Ross in the cult TV series "The Joy of Painting" is being offered by a gallery in Minneapolis at a price of 9.85 million US dollars, reports Carlie Porterfield in The Art Newspaper.

Brave old new world: According to Dalya Alberge in the Guardian, two parties of experts are arguing about the attribution of the "de Brecy Tondo" in Great Britain to Raphael, as it strongly resembles the "Sistine Madonna". Expert disputes are nothing new, not only in art history. What is new, however, is that both sides rely on the judgements of the AI they each use; according to the article, one says 97 per cent yes, the other 85 per cent no. One could smile about this if the matter did not foreshadow unpleasant conditions in the near future. For example, expert opinions and counter-opinions produced with the help of AI, which judges outside the field might be more inclined to rely on in trials because of their supposed objectivity than those produced by humans. Art is even one of the more harmless fields.

In the case of copyright law in connection with AI, something like a line is emerging, at least in the USA. The Copyright Review Board of the United States Copyright Office has published a decision on the case of the AI-generated image "Théâtre d'Opéra Spatial", which caused a stir last year because Jason M. Allen had won a competition at the Colorado State Fair without making it clear that it was not a human-made work. Alex Greenberger explains the case at Artnews: "Allen had attempted to create a case that he had played an organic role in his creation. After generating the image in Midjourney, he said, he made changes to it in Photoshop, then scaled it up using Gigapixel AI. In the Board's view,' the decision said, 'Mr. Allen's actions as described do not make him the author of the Midjourney Image because his sole contribution to the Midjourney Image was inputting the text prompt that produced it.'" In future, it will probably be up to the courts to clarify in individual case decisions how extensive human intervention must be in order to obtain copyright and not just ancillary copyright in the human parts of a computer-generated work. Wages and bread for many lawyers are thus guaranteed. Amusing side note: Although the article explains that and why the image is not copyrightable, there is a copyright notice below the image.

Minister of Culture Claudia Roth wants to "tie the funding of cultural institutions and projects to compliance with certain sustainability standards", reports Monopol: "She said this at a panel of Monopol magazine and the E.ON Foundation at the Berlin Art Week. According to Roth, intensive consideration is being given to how ecological sustainability, but also social criteria such as diversity, could be part of funding programmes. Everyone involved is certainly already looking forward to the additional forms.

According to Hasso Suliak at Legal Tribune Online, former constitutional judge and chairman of the Advisory Commission on Nazi Looted Property Hans-Jürgen Papier is calling for practicable and enforceable legislation on restitution claims: "The Commission set out its ideas for such a legally regulated restitution process in detail at the beginning of the month in a memorandum: The 'main obstacle' to comprehensive processing of looted art cases is currently that the descendants of the victims do not have the opportunity to initiate the process unilaterally on their own. The Advisory Commission therefore calls for victims and their descendants to be given the opportunity to initiate proceedings before the Commission without having to rely on the voluntary cooperation of the cultural institution in whose care the cultural property is located. It is also criticised that up to now, cultural objects in public ownership have been the subject of the proceedings almost without exception and that the possession of looted art by private individuals and private institutions is not touched. Private institutions and private individuals who own Nazi looted art should also be included in restitution proceedings', it says."

Once again, a German museum has been broken into, and once again the institution has to put up with unpleasant questions. According to dpa, burglars stole nine Chinese porcelain objects worth millions from the East Asian Museum in Cologne: "According to police investigations so far, the perpetrators levered open a window on Wednesday night and stole the objects from their display cases. An employee of the museum had heard loud noises at the front of the building around midnight and thus became aware of the burglary. He had seen two men, one of whom was said to be carrying a grey, square backpack. The perpetrators are on the run and police are looking for witnesses." According to the Handelsblatt, however, these are not the first incidents at the museum this year: "On 23 June there was another incident. This time, unknown perpetrators smashed a side window on the museum's outer façade. However, they apparently did not enter the exhibition rooms and nothing was stolen. The window was apparently secured with a makeshift wooden panel. The burglars apparently removed this board during the night of Wednesday".

Guy Wildenstein has to stand trial again in France on charges of tax evasion, reports Aurelien Breeden in the New York Times: "French prosecutors are on their third attempt to convict Mr. Wildenstein, 77, whom they say hid significant chunks of his family's storied art collection and other assets in a dizzying labyrinth of trusts and shell companies when his father, Daniel, died in 2001, and after his brother, Alec, died in 2008. The motive, according to the prosecutors, was to avoid paying hundreds of millions of euros in inheritance taxes. Mr. Wildenstein, the Franco-American family patriarch and president of Wildenstein & Co. in New York, was acquitted of the tax fraud and money laundering charges in 2017. That ruling was upheld by a higher court but then overturned in 2021 by France's top appeals court, which ordered a new trial to be held, beginning Sept. 18."

semi-automatically translated


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