News Recap: August 2, 2019

A weekly update of art world news.

Artist Sues Walmart and Ellen DeGeneres for Infringement
Street artist Julian Rivera has filed suit against Walmart and Ellen DeGeneres for alleged copyright infringement of his signature symbol, “love” which appears in DeGeneres’ apparel line sold by Walmart. Rivera uses the design of a heart with the word “Love” in cursive as a signature or a logo in his artwork, as well as on pieces he sells in his online shop. The claim indicates that Walmart’s “love” symbol lacks the paint drips found in Rivera’s work. In the filing, Rivera says he sent a cease and desist letter to Walmart in May. He received a response from the company’s lawyers in July that argued Rivera’s design was “only minimally creative” and Walmart’s graphic was different.
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

British Art Dealer Timothy Sammons Pleads Guilty to Fraud
On Tuesday, British art dealer Timothy Sammons pleaded guilty to fraud and grand larceny in the New York State Supreme Court. Between 2010 and 2015, Sammons neglected to tell collectors that their works had sold, ignoring them when asked for the return of their works. He also deliberately misinformed clients about the timing of sales, using his clients’ works as collateral so secure millions of dollars in personal loans. Supreme Court Justice Ann Scherzer said Sammons “refused to take responsibility or express remorse” and sentenced him to four to 12 years in prison for defrauding his clients of millions of dollars.
Read the full story (The Art Newspaper)

The Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt Catches Fire
On Monday, on-lookers watched smoke billow from the roof of the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. Authorities determined that the fire started in an elevator control room. The cause of the fire and the building damage is not yet known, however, the museum’s current renovations meant that that it was empty of visitors and artwork. A museum spokesperson has confirmed that no art was damaged.
Read the full story (ArtNet News)