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PUBLIC ART A HANDBOOK FOR ARTISTS Raemi Amanda Wood May 1 2005 Table of Contents What is Visual Art 4 Why is Protection Necessary The Problems with Publicly Displayed Art 6 What are Moral Rights A Short History from Europe to Asia and the United States 7 How Does the Visual Artists Rights Act Protect Art and Artists 8 What Are VARA s Economic Protections 12 How Do the States Protect Public Art 14 What Does the Massachusetts Art Preservation Act Provide 15 How Does MAPA Compare to the Other State Statutes 18 How Can MAPA Be Improved 22 Negotiating the Contract 23 Scope of Work 24 Schedule 25 Liability 26 Assignment 26 Defects 27 Maintenance Damage 27 Authorship Credits Copyright 28 Removal 29 Termination 29 Site Specific Artwork 30 Conclusion 30 Appendix I Visual Artists Rights Act 31 Appendix II California s Art Preservation Act 34 Appendix III Massachusetts Art Preservation Act 40 Appendix IV Pennsylvania s Fine Arts Preservation Act 42 2 Appendix V The New York Artists Authorship Rights Act 44 Appendix VI New Jersey s Artists Rights Act 45 Appendix VII Louisiana s Artists Authorship Rights Act 48 Appendix VIII Rhode Island s Art Preservation Act 50 Appendix A Sample Public Art Agreement 58 3 Artists are often approached by companies cities public institutions or a friendly art connoisseur all who share the same belief that art displayed for the public to see helps beautify the neighborhood and introduces culture to people on a daily basis It would be wonderful if you were one of those artists Your work could be seen by millions or tens depending on its location and admired by all who see it An artist though must be wary as to what he signs and agrees to Without an educated understanding of the way the nation looks at and protects public art an artist is ill equipped to negotiate terms for his artwork If you are thinking about signing onto a public art project and feel a little overwhelmed than this handbook can offer you a little insight into the major issues you should be aware of and the major negotiation points you should raise when discussing the future display of you artwork Before stepping off the threshold and into the world of art we should first look at whether this pamphlet is worth your time In a nutshell the United States separates artistic expression into visual art i e paintings drawings sculpture etc and everything else Visual art because it is often displayed is offered extra protections under the federal Copyright Statute Because most art that is displayed publicly is visual art in some form it is necessary for us to look at that artwork which is protected by the Federal Copyright Act before we jump into the whole of public art What is Visual Art The Copyright Act defines a work of visual art as 1 a painting drawing print or sculpture existing in a single copy in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author or in the case of a sculpture in multiple cast carved or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author or 2 a still photographic image produced for exhibition purposes only existing in a single copy that is signed by the author or in a limited 4 edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author A work of visual art does not include data base periodical any poster map globe chart A i technical drawing diagram model applied art motion picture or other audiovisual work book magazine newspaper electronic information service electronic publication or similar publication ii any merchandising advertising promotional descriptive covering or packaging material or container iii any portion or part of any item described in clause i or ii B any work made for hire or C any work not subject to copyright protection under this title 1 item or The Copyright Act limits moral rights protection on art by specifically defining those works which are protected under it Therefore artists seeking protection under the Copyright Act for their displayed art are limited to those individuals practicing painting sculpture drawing etc Writers musicians web designers interior designers architects etc are all left to their own devices through contract negotiation and possibly with the help of a number of state statutes to keep their work protected We will look at the state statutes in more detail later on Before we look at who else can seek protection and under what circumstance law or contractual clause it may first be wise to discuss the dangers displayed artwork is faced with and why protection is necessary at all One would suspect that because Big Bank Boston paid four hundred thousand dollars for a marble sculpture to adorn the new office building s veranda Big Bank Boston would have a valid economic interest in maintaining the sculpture s aesthetic Unfortunately this is not always so 1 17 U S C 101 2005 5 Why is Protection Necessary The Problems with Publicly Displayed Art Art can be destroyed in a number of ways many of them rather creative Often from the artist s perspective merely altering a piece of authorship is destruction especially if the inherent message the piece was meant to embody has been altered In a number of rare cases artwork is intentionally destroyed for example the recent event in Canada Interested More on that later However simple negligence can also destroy artwork and is more often the culprit An oil painting on canvas was not meant to stand the test of time but sometimes these pieces value in antiquity encourage us to preserve art long beyond its natural life As a result of our interests in preserving merited artwork negligence is often the element of destruction for today s displayed art Damage may stem from acid rain falling on marble carbon monoxide from cars and other air pollutants corroding brass or other metals or the sun s UV rays altering the chemical composition of a painting s materials and fading the paint of a famous Rothko 2 no matter the cause the result is the same destruction Artwork can also be destroyed without the intervention of our environment In the case of Lubner v City of Los Angeles the plaintiffs both local well known artists lost many of their pieces when a garbage truck parked at the top of a hill rolled down and through their home 3 There are numerous cases where cars have struck various sculpture across the country Recently in British

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