Groninger Museum copyright controversy (2000)

R. J. Preece
Creative Business & Entrepreneurship | 4 December 2010
This article first appeared in ARTnews, April issue, p. 44 in 2000 with the title “Moving pictures”.

Instead of touring the tulip fields, travelers in Holland have a new option— riding on the art-filled Mendini Train. Launched by the Dutch Railway Company and Groningen’s Groninger Museum, the train, designed by museum architect Alessandro Mendini, took to the rails last fall in honor of the museum’s fifth anniversary. The cars feature reproductions of museum works— including pieces by Keith Haring, Micha Klein, Mark Kostabi, and Sigmar Polke— and will ride Dutch tracks for six years.

However, all has not been smooth railing. Julia Gruen, director of the Keith Haring estate, which owns the copyright to Haring’s work, says that the museum “hasn’t contacted us” and the estate’s not very pleased.

The train was also a surprise to Klein, who says he is “not happy” with the quality of his image. Kostabi didn’t know about the project either.

Groninger director [Kees] van Twist explains, “The museum has the right to make PR activities with work from our collection.” But he concedes that it should have told more artists of its plans to take their art on the road.