Friday, December 29, 2006

Risky Business

DMV area artist Afrika Midnight Asha Abney posted the bad news in about one of her works being stolen from a restaurant in Adams Morgan in DC, where they were being exhibited.

I responded to Afrika and passed to her my regrets that her art had been stolen, and also let her know that it has happened also to me in the past.

Let's examine this from both aspects:

First of all: stealing is a crime, so for someone to commit a crime over a work of art speaks something about how much they liked that art. When my work was stolen many years ago from an exhibition in Portsmouth, VA, I took a small breath of pride in knowing that artwork caused a person to risk getting caught and possibly going to jail. I know that it may have been a kleptomaniac, willing to steal anything, but I'd like to think that it was someone who wanted the art so badly, that they were willing to risk becoming a thief over it.

Now for the legal issues: Unless the artist has a signed contract with the exhibition venue (including galleries and museums) where it says that the venue is responsible in the event of damage or loss, then the artist eats the loss.

Warning: this can also happen in a "regular" art gallery - in fact most art galleries do not have insurance (or contracts for that matter), as art insurance is quite pricey.

You can also get (privately) what is called "event insurance" which insures your artwork just for that exhibition or event. There are several companies that advertise for event insurance in Sunshine Artist magazine.

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