The following is an excerpt of the 2020 year-end article titled, "Art Law Issues on the Horizon: Pryor Cashman's Look Ahead to 2021" which was written by Art Law Group co-chairs Bill Charron and Megan Noh:
Like numerous other industries, the art market was dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Art insiders saw countless pre-existing deals become unsettled through force majeure arguments and increased efforts at renegotiations or outright cancellations. And yet, top-end art sales continued to perform impressively as auction houses, art dealers and fairs rapidly transitioned to online-only exhibition and sale formats, proving the adage that "necessity is the mother of invention."
Simultaneously, the art world began to reckon with social justice issues brought to the fore by the year's tumultuous events. Against that backdrop, artists in the U.S. explored legal avenues to expand their rights and increase their stake in market success. And on the global front, art and cultural heritage restitution policies continued to develop in response to equity-based considerations, with some countries in Europe expressing the intention to adopt more "balanced" approaches to resolving claims, and with the U.S. Supreme Court weighing equitable and jurisdictional matters arising out of several World War II-era art restitution cases.
In their year-end review, Pryor Cashman's Art Law Group co-chairs, Bill Charron and Megan Noh, comment on some of the key legal developments affecting the art market in 2020 and offer thoughts on the year to come.
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