IAL in New York City – Event on international exhibitions

Posted on: March 11, 2020 by

Bright lights, big city. On 27 February, the IAL partnered with the Art Law Committee and European Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar Association to present an event on international art exhibitions in New York. The proceedings ran in the Main Hall of the Bar’s neo-classical headquarters on West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan, providing an elegant backdrop to an evening of discussion on art exhibitions.

The first speaker was an old friend of the IAL, Derek Gillman. Since we published the first edition of his book The Idea of Cultural Heritage in 2006, Derek has been busy, serving as Director of the Barnes in Philadelphia, Chairman of Impressionism and Modern Art at Christies New York and more recently as Professor at Drexel College. Derek spoke about international exhibitions from a museum’s perspective – a most practical and eye-opening commencement – noting dryly that lawyers tend not to get invited to the party until two years after an exhibition has been planned out (thankfully, the lawyer-heavy audience didn’t appear particularly offended by the remark). After the stage was set, a panel of lawyers then presented on the legal arrangements needed to run exhibitions smoothly. This included Megan Noh of Pryor Cashman, providing a US perspective on managing international loans, and Rudy Capildeo of Charles Russell Speechlys, providing the UK perspective; they were followed by Chair of the European Affairs Committee Jonathan Halpern who went over the existing EU instruments that can have an impact on the international movement of cultural goods.

The event coincided nicely with a project now underway at the IAL, the thorough updating of our co-founder Norman Palmer’s classic book Art Loans (1997). The update will offer practical and tailored guidance on loans, examining the many relevant areas of law from contracts to copyright, and insurance to indemnities. We were able to announce the project at the event. Anyone interested in the project – who may want to order the book once released – can express their interest through this link.

After the break, our second panel delved into the more contentious side of art loans, that is when things turn sour or third-parties get involved. Two of our panelists covered the problem of title disputes arising in the context of loans and the availability of immunity from seizure protection: Nicholas O’Donnell of Sullivan & Worcester did so from a US perspective, while Eleni Polycarpou of Withers talked about protective schemes in the UK, France and Germany. They were joined by Anne Rappa of Huntington T Bock Insurance to discuss commercial insurance coverage for loaned art.

Thankfully the proceedings were recorded by the team at the City Bar Association, so those who weren’t able to join us in New York can listen in here. I was happy to be at the event, to host the second panel, and to introduce the American audience to the work we’re doing at the IAL. We hope the event will be but the first among many that IAL can help run in the US. Thanks to Diana Wierbicki for organising the event and to Amanda Rottermund for taking over (at the last minute) to chair the first panel. As the recording can attest, all speakers and panelists did a tremendous job. Happy listening, everyone.