studioNotes Blog
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
  Art For Real - Art Reviews

Art For Real - Art Reviews states that its purpose is to "provide a platform for artists, writers, thinkers and art appreciators to review and read about current art events. We want to make art accessible through plain direct language."

Since its inception in Spring 2003, there has been about one review a week. 
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
  Comment: You Can't Sign Away Your Rights

The local art center recently hosted an open show for their members. Because they had let their liability insurance lapse, they required artists who wanted to be in the show to sign a document saying that the center would not be liable for theft, loss or damage.

At the opening, a piece broke beyond repair. The center sent out an email requesting $420 in contributions from the artists to pay the maker of that piece. An artist who runs the local email list was the first to step up to the plate, pledging $100 and asking the members of his list to each chip in $5. Another artist followed up with a $100 contribution.

All very generous of the artists, of course, but unnecessary, and in the long run probably not that helpful to artists in general. The art center charges its members to belong and garnered a 33 percent commission on sales, of which they had a few. It is also supported by grants from the city, other donors and a non-artist membership. But the real issue here is that they remain liable for loss theft or damage unless caused by something that normal safety and security practices could not have prevented.

That fact that they did not have insurance is irrelevant. Insurance is simply a way to, well, insure that there is money available to cover an incident. Not having insurance does not relieve an organization of its responsibilities.

If you suffer loss or damage at the hands of an art organization or gallery, it is up to you whether you try to collect for your loss or let it go because you have more money than they do. If they have asked you to sign a document that they are not liable, that document isn't worth the paper it's printed on and requiring you to sign is either naive or disingenuous. With very few, rather obscure, exceptions, you can't sign away your rights. It's that simple. 
Art information from the publishers of studioNOTES, the journal for working artists of all styles, media and geographic locations. Includes practical stuff like art opportunities, marketing and promotion for artists, as well as "deeper" stuff like the role of art, the worth of art history, and the use or non-use of mind-altering techniques and substances. Some humor, quotes, oddities and other material for your mental collage.

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