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US: Artist to appear in court in US$100M suit against NYC museums

 |  December 11, 2018

On Monday, December 17, at 10:00 am, Judge John Koeltl will hear oral argument in the case of Cenedella v. Metropolitan Museum of Art et al on the museum defendants’ motion to dismiss New York City artist Robert Cenedella’s lawsuit, in which he alleges an antitrust conspiracy against outsider artists such as himself. Instead of deciding the motion on the legal briefs submitted by the attorneys, Judge Koeltl will convene the parties and their attorneys to hear arguments and ask questions in court.

In February, the painter known as the “Art Bastard” hit the art establishment with a US$100 million proposed class action, accusing The Met and four other New York City museums of conspiring to artificially raise prices for some galleries’ work and restricting access to the market.

Robert Cenedella, known as the “Art Bastard” said private collectors, galleries, and auction houses play a large role in determining which works end up in museum collections, creating a system that drives up prices for a small group of select artists while shutting out others who “do not carry the imprimatur or financial cache of the contemporary artists within the closed system.”

“The system today—put in place by galleries, auction houses, and art critiques—has nothing to do with talent, development of skill, or maturation of the art world,” said Cenedella, a teacher at the Art Students League of New York.

Cenedella sued the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, calling the group a “corporate museum cartel” that manipulates the market for its own benefit.

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