I am thankful for the article The 5Pointz Decision, March 2018, by Catherine Revland, because it offers a comprehensive distillation of a very controversial legal matter. Part Two is promised for the April 2018 issue.
The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) has been litigated in a jury trial for the first time, ending February 2018 with a $6.7 million damages award to 21 artists.
Like the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the legislation was written as a federal civil rights law, under the U. S. Department of Justice; defendants have the full weight of the federal government against them. And like the ADA, it has taken many years to work out an interpretation of what was meant in practical application of its terms.
Although I have been following the news on this for years already, I don’t think we have heard the last of this case.
Questions that come to mind are:
- From a basic property rights aspect, is the verdict that others can control your property if you tolerate their application of paint on your walls?
- From a historic preservation perspective, will an owner who wishes to restore a building to its condition prior to the application of paint, now be prevented from preservation of the building?I look forward to the next installment. Thank you for your excellent paper.
—Brian J. Pape, AIA, LEED-AP