Here is the mostly glowing review of the 2nd edition of the book "Art Law and the Business of Art" by our returning author
European Trademark Attorney, Mediator, Partner at Starks IP and International Trade Law firm
Book Review: "Art Law and the Business of Art" (2nd Edition) by Martin Wilson
I recently had the pleasure of delving into the second edition of "Art Law and the Business of Art" by Martin Wilson, and I must say that this updated version proves to be an even more comprehensive and indispensable guide for anyone involved in the art world. As someone who had previously read the first edition, I was eagerly anticipating this new release, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Martin Wilson's journey in the art business began at Christie's auction house and later led him to the esteemed halls of Phillips. At the start of his career, the concept of an art lawyer was yet to take shape. However, over the subsequent 20 years, the industry underwent a significant transformation that completely reshaped its landscape. Motivated by his deep passion for art and armed with these years of experience leading legal departments in renowned auction houses, in "Art Law and the Business of Art," Wilson paints a vivid portrait of the art landscape, where creativity and commerce intertwine. With every page, he illuminates the legal complexities surrounding the creation, collection, valuation, and transaction of art, offering invaluable insights into this captivating realm. In fact, due to the comprehensive nature of the content one could almost envision it being presented as an engaging art law course, effortlessly capturing the attention of an audience from start to finish.
The book focuses on the UK perspective, yet Wilson astutely recognizes the variations in national regulations and encourages readers to consult local laws when applicable. While as one absorbs the contents of this book, s/he gains a clear understanding of the pivotal questions to pose and the crucial issues to contemplate, thus enabling them to navigate also their specific legal circumstances with confidence.
One of the notable strengths of the book lies in its accessibility. Wilson skillfully breaks down intricate legal concepts and terminology, allowing readers from diverse backgrounds to easily grasp the subject matter. However, it is worth emphasizing that this book extends beyond the realm of legal discourse, as the author delves into the practical functioning of the art business and the auction world in particular, shedding light on the unique blend of commercial and ethical considerations that shape this industry.
The book encompasses a wide range of legal and commercial issues pertinent to the sale and purchase of art in various contexts. Wilson's meticulous examination of each topic showcases his keen attention to detail. From exploring aspects of ownership and authenticity to providing insights into the complexities of importing and exporting artworks, the author leaves no stone unturned. While the inclusion of dedicated chapters on artists' rights, art disputes, and crucial elements like confidentiality and data protection ensures that the book comprehensively addresses all relevant aspects of the art world.
What sets the second edition apart from its predecessor are the new additions and revisions that reflect the evolving art landscape. Wilson's thorough guidance on new anti-money laundering requirements is particularly valuable in a world where financial regulations are continuously tightening. Moreover, the updated discussions on the impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic likewise added timely and relevant insights.
The inclusion of the chapter on the NFTs is likewise appreciated, yet a more extensive exploration of the legal implications and unique challenges surrounding NFTs would have been beneficial. Similarly, the book's coverage of digital art seems somewhat overshadowed by its incorporation within the NFT chapter and would highly benefit from more insights.
Another area where the book falls slightly short is in the chapter on graffiti. While it is commendable that the chapter has been noticeably expanded compared to the first edition, the inclusion of more varied case examples that illustrate the tensions that can (and do) arise in this context would add a lot of value here. Additionally, given that the graffiti field has given rise to many famous artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Banksy, and KAWS, there is much more to explore from an art law and art business/market perspective.
Furthermore, the first edition's graphical indication of examples, denoted with a pictogram and a different type font, was a much better choice in my perception. In the second edition, the examples are integrated in line with the main text, which, in my view, is less convenient. In other words, I found that the graphical representation of examples in the first edition facilitated quick reference and enhanced the overall user experience.
Lastly, to mention a repeated oversight concerning the spelling of Dmitry Rybolovlev's name. The mistake, referring to him as "Dimitry Rybolovalev," sadly remains unchanged also in the 2nd edition. While this may be a petty detail, in my opinion, it is important for a comprehensive and accurate resource such as this book to maintain precision in referencing.
Despite these minor imperfections, "Art Law and the Business of Art" remains an exceptional resource that I found to be a joy to read and wholeheartedly recommend to anyone intrigued by the captivating intersection of art and law. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a curious art enthusiast, "Art Law and the Business of Art" is well worth your time. It will not only expand your understanding of the legal dimensions within the art world but also leave you inspired and equipped with the tools to navigate its intricacies.