'Heartbroken' appeals judge removes misunderstood Monet reference from opinion

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A woman and child walk by graffiti at the now-gone 5Pointz graffiti mecca in Queens. Image from Shutterstock.com.

A judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York says he removed a Monet reference from an opinion after it was misconstrued as a criticism of the artist.

“I love Monet, and I’m very heartbroken that I was misunderstood,” Judge Barrington Parker Jr. told the New York Law Journal. “It was easier to just change it.”

Courthouse News Service also has coverage.

Parker said he had used the reference to explain that even lesser-quality works by great artists such as Monet would be protected under a federal law that bars destruction of art work with “recognized stature.”

Parker had written in his Feb. 20 panel opinion: “Since recognized stature is necessarily a fluid concept, we can conceive of circumstances under which, for example, a ‘poor’ work by a highly regarded artist—e.g., anything by Monet—nonetheless merits protection from destruction” under the law.

That passage was removed in an amended opinion posted the next day, according to the New York Law Journal.

The decision upheld a $6.7 million judgment for graffiti artists who sued a building owner for whitewashing their art. The artists had contended that their 45 works of graffiti art on the 5Pointz warehouses in New York had recognized stature that gave them protection under the Visual Artists Rights Act.

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