HYPERALLERGIC | By LAURA C. MALLONEE
Art authenticators can finally breathe a sigh of relief: on Monday, the New York State Senate passed much-anticipated legislation that protects them from frivolous libel lawsuits. Act S1229A states that only “valid, verifiable claims” against authenticators will be allowed to proceed in court. It also stipulates that they be compensated financially for their legal expenses should they win. Though the bill has cleared one major hurdle with the State Senate’s approval, it still needs to be voted on by the State Assembly before it passes into law.
The bill amends the existing Arts and Cultural Affairs law to address an enormous problem. In recent years, art authenticators have increasingly become victims of some of the art world’s biggest bullies. Those who formulate opinions about artworks that collectors disagree with have found themselves served with bogus libel lawsuits, forced to bear the financial burden of crippling lawyers’ fees even when the suits get thrown out.
It’s also been detrimental to art historical scholarship. In 2012, for instance, the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat stopped providing certificates or opinions of authenticity in order to avoid any legal repercussions. That same year, researchers at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art cancelled a conference about a group of alleged Francis Bacon drawings for the same reason.
Thanks to the new law, that sad era in contemporary art may finally be relegated to the history books. … Read the rest of the article at Hyperallergic
And from artnet News: Art Authenticators Harassed by Lawsuits and Death Threats Get New Legal Protection