The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

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NOVEMBER 15, 2010 Warhol Foundation Case Dismissed by U.S. Court

By order of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, dated November 15, 2010, all claims by plaintiffs Joe Simon Whelan and Susan Shaer against the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board and all other defendants have been dismissed.  Calling it a “complete vindication of both the Foundation and the Authentication Board”, Foundation President Joel Wachs pointed to the express provisions of the Court’s Orders whereby plaintiffs admit that there is absolutely no evidence, nor have they ever been aware of any evidence, of any illegal conduct by either the Foundation or the Authentication Board in connection with the sale and authentication of Warhol artwork.

“The tragedy,” Wachs said, “is that we had to spend nearly $7M defending what was nothing more than a blatant attempt to shake down the Foundation.  While it would have been easy to give them some money to go away, it was extremely important to fight to uphold the integrity of both the Foundation and the Authentication Board and to not set a dangerous precedent for others who might also be driven by greed and vindictiveness.”

Wachs praised the Foundation’s attorneys, Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, but noted that “the money we had to spend on legal fees diverted precious resources which would otherwise have been spent in pursuit of our mission to support the visual arts.  It is money that should have gone to the many exemplary arts organizations that rely upon the Warhol Foundation, particularly in times of financial crisis.”

Indeed, since its inception the Warhol Foundation has given away more than $200M to worthy artists and arts organization in all 50 states in support of exhibitions, artist residencies, curatorial research, scholarly writing, and the defense of freedom of expression.  “It is a record of which we are extremely proud,” said Michael Straus, Chair of the Warhol Foundation’s Board of Directors, “and one that is without equal in the United States.”