“Art vs. property rights”

One reason not to commission a mural for your building: the federal Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, which with some exceptions “prohibits the intentional alteration, mutilation or destruction of artworks without the consent of the artists” and gives the offended artist a right to sue. Lawsuits under VARA have not been numerous, but have raised questions of fairness to art owners as well as of unintended consequences. (Daniel Grant, Wall Street Journal Leisure & Arts/OpinionJournal.com, May 27; Cynthia Esworthy, “A Guide to the Visual Artists Rights Act”, NYArtsAlive.com, undated; IvanHoffman.com.

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