Volume 6, Number 1, Jan. 1984, pp.13-14

In the News


First Challenge To California's Art Preservation Act (Senate Bill

No. 668, Section 987 of the California Civil Code) The California Art Preservation Act which was signed into law 1 August 1979 states, "The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the physical alteration or destruction of fine art, ...is detrimental to the artist's reputation, and artists therefore have an interest in protecting works of fine art against such alteration or destruction, and that there is also a public interest in preserving the integrity of cultural and artistic creations." Peter MacDonald, a law clerk from San Diego, has been accused by Vicki Cole, an Escondido artist, of destroying one of her paintings when he removed 54 dollar bills which were sewn to the canvas. The painting is titled When It Comes To Small Change, Baby The Buck Stops Here. Cole originally donated the painting to KPBS, the public broadcasting station, for its annual fundraising auction where it was sold to a La Jolla woman. Vivian Pratt, one of the auctioneers, bought the painting for $350 as a spontaneous gesture, with the intention of giving it to a friend. The next day she decided that it wasn't the kind of art her friend would like and she donated it to the Combined Arts and Education Council (COMBO) for its 1982 auction. Peter MacDonald bought the painting for $120 and planned to sell it for $900 to pay off his tuition. He thought the painting's double entendres were "hilarious." Among the statements painted on the canvas were the words, "There will be penalties for early withdrawal." Evidently the painting was dismantled after not selling at Cole's six week summer show at the Maple Creek Gallery in San Diego where the price was set at $1,500. MacDonald, who is an active volunteer for COMBO, contends that although he took the money off the canvas and spent it on living expenses, that the artwork covered the entire canvas and so the canvas was undamaged when he returned it to Cole. MacDonald says that Cole has been trying to get publicity at his expense. Cole is furious and has retained the services of Peter Karlan of La Jolla who specializes in art law. Mr. Karlan says that MacDonald has violated the California Art Preservation Act and that if this case goes to court that it would be the first tried under the 1979 legislation. Although Cole says that she is not interested in the money and just wants MacDonald to take a docent tour, an art appreciation class, or work in the San Diego Museum's Restoration Department; her lawyer has sent a letter to MacDonald requesting a $2,500 out of court settlement. MacDonald doesn't understand why Cole is still upset because he returned the canvas to her. Meanwhile Palomar College's Boehm Gallery director, Russell Baldwin, has convinced Cole to restore the painting for a solo show scheduled in the spring. As of December the case had not come to court and there might be a threat of countersuit from MacDonald based on the possible inappropriate use of Federal currency by Cole. Reference: San Diego Union, Thursday 29 September 1983 and Artist Equity News, San Diego Chapter, October 1983. additional keywords: artists' rights, droite morale


Los Angeles Times 30 October 1983, "An Explosion of German Expressionism" discusses LACMA's exhibition "German Expressionist Sculpture" which displays 120 works by some well known artists who are not necessarily well known for their sculptures. Of the 33 artists whose works are on display, most are better known for their woodcuts and paintings. The exhibition will travel accompanied by LACMA's object conservator, Billie Milam.

Old Master Drawings

Los Angeles Times 30 October 1983, "Old Masters at UC Santa Barbara." "Old Master Drawings from the Feitelson Collection", a selection of 70 works, mostly Italian, dating from the 16th through l9th centuries was recently on exhibition at the Santa Barbara University Art Museum. All of the drawings were treated by paper conservators Victoria Blyth-Hill, Robert Aitchison and Marc Watters.

"Crimes Against the Cubists"

On 16 June 1983, The New York Review published an article by John Richardson. The first paragraph reads, "In an article on the great Picasso retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (The New York Review, 17 July 1980) I complained about the way restorers have unwittingly ruined the surfaces of Cubist paintings. Since these objections are apparently shared by others in the field, I would like to investigate the matter more fully in the hope that familiarity with the artist's expressed intentions will prevent restorers and their clients from committing further abuses, and not just of Cubist works." On 13 October The New York Review published an exchange from Caroline Keck, as well as Mr. Richardson's reply. Mrs. Keck begins, "I presume Mr. Richardson to be a connoisseur of cubism, sensitively concerned with the accurate presentation of this particular style. He is, however, not very knowledgeable regarding materials which compose paintings and not at all familiar with the processes of competent conservation."

The "Temporary Contemporary"

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles held opening events for its temporary facility in downtown Los Angeles on 18 November.

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