‘Put everything into writing’ is the clear and consistent message in this collection of articles from 1977 to date.
Early pieces give examples of contractual terms and conditions that were being asked for in the 1970s and 1980s, but later pieces revisit the subject with a different approach, offering basic structures and checklists for negotiating and constructing terms and conditions appropriate to individual circumstances.
Common contractual relationships are dealt with, including bills of sale; gallery and agency deals; exhibition agreements and public and private commissions. Common contractual problems are also dealt with, including: damage to work; tracing lost work;disclaimers from liability; severance of contractual relationships; insurance and valuation; loans and gifts and fakes.
There are numerous case studies charting contractual successes and failures, including:
Alan Smith’s Long Roof project (1981)
Stephen Conroy’s gallery deal litigation (1988)
Robyn Denny’s dispute over damage to one of his pictures on loan (1994)
Lilianne Lijn’s Dragon’s Dance commission (1995)
Anna-Livia Lowendahl-Atomic’s A selection of interesting secrets from various stages in my life – the law of contract and confidentiality (2001).
The contractual situations and issues over the three decades covered by these pieces continue to arise today. And, although much progress has been made during that period, it is still clear that many artists still feel awkward or inhibited about introducing formal written contracts into the commercial dimension of their practices. Evidence demonstrates abundantly clearly that, because the ‘unwritten contract’ will always come into play in circumstances where things go wrong, there is no cogent argument for written contracts not being used in a confident manner for all commercial dealings.
For useful introductory videos about using contracts, see the Contracts Store YouTube channel.
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