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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Christoph Buchel vs. Mass Moca... PART II

Continuing from yesterday with notes taken at the motion hearing (START HeRe for all the stuff before the break) -

After hearing arguments from Mark Elliott (for Buchel) and someone, maybe it was Kurt Wm. Hemr (for Mass Moca), Judge Ponsor called for a fifteen minute break.

40 Minutes Later -

Judge Ponsor returned and ruled that Mass Moca can show the materials, saying "nothing in VARA or in the copyright prohibits Mass Moca from exhibiting the materials assembled in Building 5", and that the museum must include with any exhibition a disclaimer, making no reference to Buchel, that the materials "constitute an unfinished project that does not carry out the installation's original intent."

Buchel has until 5pm Monday to add any language to the disclaimer, after which the museum is free to do what it wants with the materials in Building 5.

Judge Ponsor stated that he is "solidly convinced that VARA does not apply to this situation", and that "even if VARA did apply, that what Mass Moca wishes to do does not constitute a distortion to any work of art created by Mr. Buchel".

MORE from Judge Ponsor, in discussing his ruling -

- (it is a) "large complex installation", which "not only involved, but required, a large degree of lengthy and detailed collaboratation between Mr. Buchel and the museum" - this is "not a situation in which there is a co-authorship" - "an evolving organic construct that was the product of the intent, intelligence, vision, of persons other than Mr. Buchel" - "Mr. Buchel has abandoned the project. He has foresworn it" - "Mass Moca is willing to make it clear Training Ground For Democracy was never finished and should make that proviso explicit if it were to exhibit the materials" - "I doubt that this decision is going to have a great deal of precedential value" - "both parties exhibited a fair amount of naivete"... "very few businessmen that would get involved" in something of this nature without a contract - "I don't think what's going on here represents a distortion" - "after monday the museum will be free to exhibit the materials".

The judge then warned the museum "not to be over comforted by my declaratory relief... it will be scrutinized afresh" in the event of an appeal. Mark Elliott requested a stay, emphasizing possible harm to Buchel's reputation, but the stay was denied.

Judge Ponsor - "the harm to the museum is greater than the harm to the artist here"... "there is no risk to Mr. Buchel's reputation".

Marke Elliott - "we likely will appeal this".