Council for Artists' Rights
Art Dealer Larry Salander Cheats Artists' Heirs, Faces 6 to 18 Years inPrison
Why do U.S. museums not face the same scrutiny when ethical shenanigans cheatingthe public is reported by the mainstream media?
August 6, 2010 Dear ally of artists' rights: Corrupt art dealer Lawrence Salander was sentenced to prison in New York the other day for cheating the heirs of some famous artists. East coast arts writer Lindsay Pollock'sArt MarketViewsand New York arts lawyer Sergio Munoz Sarmiento'sClanccoreported on it.
And what about U.S. art museums--including its fiduciary section, the board of directors andmuseum trustees--when they engage in questionable practices and further tarnish the art worldby abusing their tax-exempt nonprofit status? For example, the current King Tut exhibition is winding down its tour in the U.S. Artmuseums hosting the show have been roundly criticized because they're surrendering curatorialdecision-making to partner profit-making entities. More to the point, in 2009 the Dallas Museumof Artrefusedto turn over financial records related to the King Tut show at the request of theDallas Morning News when the museum was reported to have lost money on the show due topoor attendance. Where is the DMA's museum transparency? It certainly begs the question:Is the DMA primarily serving its King Tut profit-making partners or the taxpaying public? Whyhasn't the Texas Attorney General brought the DMA before a court of law for such behavior? Isthe DMA too big (rich) to fall? This is not the first incident involving the DMA. In May of this year Art Market Viewsreported on the $31M Rothko painting "secret sale" which was supposed to have been airrevocably promised gift to the DMA. Instead, then-DMA museum trustee, Ms. M. Hoffmanpulled it, sold it and profited handsomely! What about the irrevocably promised gift tothe DMA by Howard and Cindy Rachofsky of Jeff Koons' monumental sculpture BalloonFlower(Magenta)? That piece was taken out to the museum's future when the Rachofskyspulled it from the DMA and sold it for $25.8M. Where's the museum transparency that accountsfor the disbursement of the proceeds? How much profit did the Rachofskys reap on that deal?They originally purchased it 7 years earlier at approximately $1.2M. This is a recent samplingof the DMA's machinations, but from what I understand, a respectable Texas art historianand others know of decades old DMA scandals. Traditional journalists are land-locked in their city and probably reluctant to report on these goings-on in depth and may even fear of losingtheir jobs if they attempt to do it. However, out-of-state bloggers and others can't be retaliatedagainst for asking the hard questions.