Since 2015, artist Brian Andrew Whiteley has run Miami’s Satellite tv for pc Artwork Present, a low-cost, artist-friendly honest coinciding with Artwork Basel Miami Seashore in December.
Amid the more and more celebrity-driven, price-obsessed circus that surrounds Artwork Basel Miami Seashore, Satellite tv for pc, which has taken place in deserted accommodations, vacant parking heaps, and delivery containers, can appear to be a breathe of recent air.
However the metropolis’s two largest festivals, Artwork Basel and Artwork Miami, aren’t proud of Satellite tv for pc—and each have despatched Whiteley cease-and-desist-letters.
Whiteley first attracted Artwork Miami’s ire when he despatched an electronic mail to some exhibitors on the honest and its sister occasion, Aqua Artwork Miami, bluntly arguing for why they need to take into account exhibiting with Satellite tv for pc in 2023.
“Right here is the reality about Artwork Miami/Aqua,” Whiteley wrote. “The paintings has change into formulaic, anticipated, and redundant. In some circumstances it has change into merely insufferable (Crystal lined skulls, Warhol portraits, Cartoon/Anime Artwork, and many others.) There isn’t any conceptual framework to the expertise, apart from these in search of champagne.… it’s primarily a commerce present.”
An legal professional with Informa Markets Artwork LLC, the proprietor of the 2 festivals, referred to as Whiteley’s letter “defamatory and deceptive,” and particularly objected to the “no conceptual framework” language.
“It’s illegal so that you can make deliberate statements that hurt a enterprise or a person’s repute with out factual proof,” the lawyer continued. “Your emails represent unfair competitors, misleading commerce acts and practices, and misappropriation of the precious goodwill, repute and enterprise property of Informa.”
Whitley allowed that “possibly my electronic mail was somewhat too harsh,” he advised Artnet Information. “However that is the primary time that reaching out to galleries about exhibiting with us got here with a stop and desist. I’m fairly certain that each artwork honest does the identical course of.… possibly [Art Miami] ought to go on Yelp and harass anyone who left a foul remark.”
In the meantime, Artwork Basel despatched their attorneys after Satellite tv for pc in 2018, when the honest’s web site declared that the “Artwork Basel Miami utility” was now open, however appeared to be referring to their very own honest’s utility. He was utilizing a cheeky #notBasel hashtag to advertise Satellite tv for pc, which additionally didn’t please the larger honest.
“Your misuse of the ART BASEL Mark constitutes misappropriations of our trademark, causes buyer confusion, and constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competitors, and trademark dilution by buying and selling upon the goodwill and repute related to our trademark,” learn the cease-and-desist letter, which was shared with Artnet Information. “Your use of the time period #NOTBASEL doesn’t erase the confusion raised by the infringements,” the honest’s lawyer mentioned.
“The letter was a shock,” Whiteley mentioned. “We didn’t understand we have been even on Artwork Basel’s radar!”
“We began Satellite tv for pc as a method for artists have a voice throughout Miami Artwork Week,” Whiteley advised Artnet Information, likening the honest to an artwork piece in its personal proper, quite than a typical enterprise enterprise. “And [Art Basel and Art Miami] have a definite downside with that. It’s beginning to really feel like a sample of bigger festivals which have cash and muscle behind them have been focusing on us specifically. It appears like they’re not completely satisfied that we get important consideration.”
Through the years, Satellite tv for pc has held musical performances by the likes of Ghostface Killah, Denzel Curry, and CupcakKe, and introduced works by artists together with Kalup Linzy, Justin Aversano, and duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw. Different notable previous exhibitors embrace Brooklyn’s Paradise Palase, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and Home of Sure, the artwork weblog ArtFCity, and even Meow Wolf, again when it was nonetheless a Santa Fe artwork collective.
“Artwork Basel phases its 4 reveals alongside quite a few satellite tv for pc festivals throughout our host cities, with whom we work collegially and spiritedly,” a good spokesperson advised Artnet Information. The letter to Satellite tv for pc “was issued in response to an specific and unauthorized use of the Artwork Basel trademark. Our crew works to uphold our model and its identification within the public area, because it vitally displays the service we ship to our collectors, galleries, and artists in Miami Seashore and worldwide.”
A consultant for Informa Markets advised Artnet Information in an electronic mail: “Sending a stop and desist was a mandatory step to guard our model from arbitrary and defamatory remarks for the aim of solicitation.”
Up to now, Whiteley has opted not to reply to both honest’s letters.
“It appears to me prefer it’s simply saber-rattling,” he mentioned. “Generally, I hope Satellite tv for pc simply pushes [the other fairs] to do do higher, as a result of if we’re all attempting to showcase extra fascinating, rising, and difficult work, it’s gonna be higher for all of us.”
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