Bloomberg Law
Feb. 1, 2021, 11:00 AM

Activist Artists Cite Novel N.Y. Win to Sue Over Threats to Work

Blake Brittain
Blake Brittain

Artists who work in public spaces are increasingly seeking court protection for their works, citing the rarely invoked federal statute behind last year’s multimillion-dollar judgment for those whose paintings were whitewashed from New York’s 5Pointz graffiti art space.

The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 is now “understood by many artists as a powerful tool of resistance to the hegemony of western, white power structures,” said art expert Renée Vara, who testified in the 5Pointz case. And legal action is becoming an “alternative path” to the ultimate goal of some artists—changing society.

“If you want to seek social justice, what ...

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