(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that there is a public interest in preserving the integrity of cultural and artistic creations.
(b) As used in this section:
(1) “Fine art” means an original painting, sculpture, or drawing, or an original work of art in glass, of recognized quality, and of substantial public interest.
(2) “Organization” means a public or private not-for-profit entity or association, in existence at least three years at the time an action is filed pursuant to this section, a major purpose of which is to stage, display, or otherwise present works of art to the public or to promote the interests of the arts or artists.
(3) “Cost of removal” includes reasonable costs, if any, for the repair of damage to the real property caused by the removal of the work of fine art.
(c) An organization acting in the public interest may commence an action for injunctive relief to preserve or restore the integrity of a work of fine art from acts prohibited by subdivision (c) of Section 987.
(d) In determining whether a work of fine art is of recognized quality and of substantial public interest the trier of fact shall rely on the opinions of those described in subdivision (f) of Section 987.
(e) (1) If a work of fine art cannot be removed from real property without substantial physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or destruction of such work, no action to preserve the integrity of the work of fine art may be brought under this section. However, if an organization offers some evidence giving rise to a reasonable likelihood that a work of art can be removed from the real property without substantial physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or destruction of the work, and is prepared to pay the cost of removal of the work, it may bring a legal action for a determination of this issue. In that action the organization shall be entitled to injunctive relief to preserve the integrity of the work of fine art, but shall also have the burden of proof. The action shall commence within 30 days after filing. No action may be brought under this paragraph if the organization’s interest in preserving the work of art is in conflict with an instrument described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) of Section 987.
(2) If the owner of the real property wishes to remove a work of fine art which is part of the real property, but which can be removed from the real property without substantial harm to such fine art, and in the course of or after removal, the owner intends to cause or allow the fine art to suffer physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or destruction the owner shall do the following:
(A) If the artist or artist’s heir, legatee, or personal representative fails to take action to remove the work of fine art after the notice provided by paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) of Section 987, the owner shall provide 30 days’ notice of his or her intended action affecting the work of art. The written notice shall be a display advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the fine art is located. The notice required by this paragraph may run concurrently with the notice required by subdivision (h) of Section 987.
(i) If within the 30-day period an organization agrees to remove the work of fine art and pay the cost of removal of the work, the payment and removal shall occur within 90 days of the first day of the 30-day notice.
(ii) If the work is removed at the expense of an organization, title to the fine art shall pass to that organization.
(B) If an organization does not agree to remove the work of fine art within the 30-day period or fails to remove and pay the cost of removal of the work of fine art within the 90-day period the owner may take the intended action affecting the work of fine art.
(f) To effectuate the rights created by this section, the court may do the following:
(1) Award reasonable attorney’s and expert witness fees to the prevailing party, in an amount as determined by the court.
(2) Require the organization to post a bond in a reasonable amount as determined by the court.
(g) No action may be maintained under this section unless brought within three years of the act complained of or one year after discovery of such act, whichever is longer.
(h) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1983, and shall apply to claims based on acts occurring on or after that date to works of fine art, whenever created.
(i) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.
(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1517, Sec. 4.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018