Street Artist Federal ruling stands despite Giuliani appeal FWD

Tom Boland (
Tue, 30 Dec 1997 20:11:55 -0800 (PST)

FWD from <>
Provided through OPENAIR-MARKET NET  6/2/97

"Street Artist Federal ruling stands:
U.S. Supreme Court rejects Giuliani appeal"

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied the Giuliani Administration's appeal of
the 2nd Circuit Federal Appeals Court decision in Lederman et al v. City of
New York. The ruling had affirmed that street artists are protected by the
First Amendment and can sell their art on City streets without a license.

Police harassment against artists continued right up until this past
Sunday, with confiscations of paintings and artist's displays, threats of
arrest and numerous tickets being issued in SoHo. Members of A.R.T.I.S.T.
staged an impromptu demonstration on West Broadway this Saturday after the
police attempted to clear the street of artists, claiming, "The landlords
don't want artists here, we have many complaints", and, "Giuliani appealed
your case, we don't have to follow the ruling".

>From 1993 until 1997 the N.Y.P.D., under pressure from City Council Member
Kathryn Freed and a coalition of landlord advocacy groups including the
Fifth Avenue Association and the SoHo Alliance, arrested more than 400
artists. Thousands of original paintings, photographs, prints and
sculptures were confiscated and sold at a monthly police department auction
or destroyed by the City.

Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists' Response To Illegal
State Tactics) issued this statement about the Supreme Court's ruling:
"This decision protects the speech rights not just of artists, but of every
person in this country. N.Y.C. officials can no longer ignore the
Constitution just to please landlords and campaign contributors. I hope
that the Mayor and Council Member Freed will carefully read the 2nd Circuit
ruling and abide by it. Street artists benefit the City. It's time for the
City to recognize the significant contribution artists make to New York's
culture and economy and to stop treating
us like second class citizens."

For the entire text of the 2nd Circuit ruling and other detailed
information on this issue visit the A.R.T.I.S.T. web site at:

The 2nd Circuit Federal Appeals Court ruling unambiguously states: "Visual
art is as wide ranging in its depiction of ideas, concepts and emotions as
any book, treatise, pamphlet or other writing, and is similarly entitled to
full First Amendment protection....the City's requirement that appellants
be licensed in order to sell their artwork in public spaces constitutes an
unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment rights...Displaying
art on the street has a different expressive purpose than gallery or museum
shows; it reaches people who might not choose to go into a gallery or
museum or who might feel
excluded or alienated from these forums. The public display and sale of
artwork is a form of communication between the artist and the public not
possible in the enclosed, separated spaces of galleries and
museums...Appellants are interested in attracting and communicating with
the man or woman on the street who may never have been to a gallery and
indeed who might never have thought before of possessing a piece of art
until induced to do so on seeing appellants' works. The sidewalks of the
City must be available for appellants to reach their public audience..."
Lederman et al v. City of New York 959089 United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit. Argued April 26, 1996. Decided Oct. 10, 1996.

For more information on A.R.T.I.S.T. call: Robert Lederman (718) 369-2111;
(212) 334-4327; E-mail
or visit the A.R.T.I.S.T. web site at:

Lawyers for the case: Wayne Cross and Randy Fox at Dewey Ballentine 212 259-8000