Greetings, art world. We are the Unknown Artists.
We urge you to investigate the economic conditions of the art world.
Rebuild the Dream is planning an event on March 31, 2012 at Ace Museum in Los Angeles called “All in for the 99%” (allinforthe99percent.org). This event is intended to unite art and activism to “create awareness, discussion, and enthusiasm for the issues that inspire the 99% movement.” But the Ace Museum does not represent the 99%!
Ace Museum’s Chief Executive Douglas Chrismas has had well over 55 legal disputes with artists and collectors for financial fraud including stealing artwork and refusing to pay artists. A quick Google search will turn up countless examples. (Please see links to the right.) Douglas Chrismas has lost lawsuits charging that he stole famous artworks, sold smuggled artwork while claiming it was ‘free and clear of claims’, failed to pay rent and taxes, failed to pay artists for artworks that he sold, and failed to deliver artworks to collectors. He has used bankruptcies to avoid paying claims on at least 7 occasions. One art collector had Chrismas arrested when his bankruptcy filing protected him from paying the money that he owed. Chrismas is currently being sued in a class action lawsuit for “failing and refusing” to pay artists 5% royalties on secondary market sales. Secondary market sales bring in millions of dollars of profit for dealers. Refusing to pay artists 5% for the work they made is clearly exploitative, selfish and greedy. Artists fought hard to win 5% resale royalty rights in California, but art dealers like Chrismas make this law useless.
Ace Museum’s board member Bruce Karatz was the CEO and Chairman of KB Homes from 1986 to 2006. He was the 4th highest paid CEO in the US in 2006. But he resigned from KB Homes in 2006 because he was charged with 20 felonies related to executive stock options. In 2010, Karatz was convicted of four felony charges for backdating executive stock options in order to make them more valuable without disclosing that information. In this way, Bruce Karatz overstated his earnings and the earnings of KB Homes and then covered it up.
Ace Museum’s Chief Executive and some of it’s board members consistently break the law and rip people off to make money. A simple Google search reveals a long list of offenses against artists and the 99%. Many of the artists in the show have constructed a persona that is purportedly critical, but their involvement shows that they are either okay with this activity, or did not bother to do the simplest research. If these artists want to pretend to be critical while being tools for the 1%, we are okay with that–just don’t do it under the banner of the 99%. For the artists and others involved who actually do want to stand for the 99%, we urge you to withdraw in protest and find another location that stands with the 99%. The 99% is not a marketing tool for you to promote yourselves or other people’s economic interests.
Make no mistake: Ace Museum represents the interests of the 1%! Rebuild the Dream should not work with the Ace Museum or it will help to whitewash it’s economic crimes.
We are the Unknown Artists.
We expose economic interests.
We increase transparency.
We aim for the distribution of wealth and information.
We will not be censored.
We will not be stopped.
FUCK AUTHORSHIP, FIX THE SYSTEM!
Please sign our petition asking Rebuild the Dream to relocate the show and stop helping Ace Museum whitewash its economic crimes: http://www.change.org/petitions/ace-museum-all-in-for-the-1
Please read the exchange between MoveOn and Unknown Artists by clicking on the comments for this post.