New York Enacts New Art Gallery Anti-Sleaze Law

Artists being lured into gallery’s “stable”

Michael Miller reports in Gallerist NY that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that makes it a misdemeanor for an art dealer to use funds owed to an artist from the sale of an artwork to pay for gallery operating expenses and creditors. The NY State Senate passed the bill in June, and Gov. Cuomo signed it earlier this month.

The bill was drafted in wake of the scandal concerning Salander O’Reilly Galleries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2007 commingled the sales proceeds that belonged to the artists, artists’ heirs and artists’ estates with the gallery’s own funds.  Millions of dollars owed to artists disappeared, having instead gone toward keeping the gallery afloat.

“This law is good for everyone,” said John Cahill, the chair of the Art Law Committee. “The only people it isn’t good for are the people who are dishonest. It’s something that helps New York continue to be the center of the art world.”

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