Regulating the Art Market 


US art dealers, auction houses, galleries, art museums, art fairs and art consultants may soon be subject to government financial regulation.

The government regulates various aspects of the art market, from import tariffs to artist visas. However, there is debate over how effective government regulation can be in achieving greater transparency in the multi-billion dollar art market. Some argue that government intervention is necessary to deal with problems such as money-laundering and the provenance of ownership. Others believe that the art market is best left to self-regulation, as government involvement could repel globalization and stifle creativity. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether government regulation can provide lasting solutions to the complex problems the art world faces.

Understanding Government Regulation in the Art World

Many are calling for government regulation in the art market to counter and combat the tax evasion, money laundering, price manipulation and trading on ‘inside information’. Proponents of regulation seek more open trading and greater disclosure of all aspects of art transactions, including details regarding the parties, prices and any guarantees.

Panel Discussion: Lark E. Mason, Jr., Peter K. Tompa, Clinton Howell, James McAndrew, Michael McCullough and Narric Rome

This panel is made up of Lark E. Mason, Jr. of iGavel Auctions and Lark Mason Associates, Inc.; Peter K. Tompa of Bailey & Ehrenberg, LLP; Clinton Howell of Clinton Howell Antiques; James McAndrew of Grunfeld Desiderio Lebowitz Silverman & Klestadt LLP; Michael McCullough of Pearlstein McCullough & Lederman LLP; and Narric Rome of Americans for the Arts. They will discuss:

  • Can government regulation in the multi-billion dollar art market achieve greater transparency?
  • Is regulation of all art-business transactions desirable and realistically achievable on an international scale?
  • Establishing money-laundering and Bank Secrecy Act compliance and monitoring programs
  • Can the establishment of an art-ownership register solve the problem in finding solutions to such problems as: provenance of true ownership, joint ownership, inheritance by multiple beneficiaries, legal right to sell and lend and pledge art
  • Will legislation for movement of art result in repelling globalization?
  • Dealing with “information asymmetry,”
  • Could the art market change its practices voluntarily – can self-regulation solve the problem over government intervention?
  • Looking at the possibility of ‘light regulation’ as a solution

This talk was originally filmed during The Inaugural Business of Art Observed.

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Peter K. Tompa

Peter K. Tompa is of counsel to Bailey & Ehrenberg, LLP.  He also serves as the Executive Director of Global Heritage Alliance, a 501 (c) (4) advocacy group representing the interest of antiquities collectors, dealers and museums. He has appeared in numerous trial and appellate courts. He has lobbied members of the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch in an effort to ensure that his...

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Clinton Howell

After graduating from Hobart College in 1971, I went to England where I attended the London College of Furniture learning antique restoration. Founded and published “Antique Furniture Newsletter” (1978-82) focusing on connoisseurship and restoration, contributed articles to various publications and became Contributing Editor to Art & Auction (1983-2010). Set up a restoration...

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James McAndrew

James McAndrew heads the art law practice at Grunfeld Desiderio Lebowitz Silverman & Klestadt LLP (GDLSK). Clients include museums, auction houses, public and private institutions, dealers and collectors. GDLSK practice focusses on Customs and International Trade and is recognized as the premier Customs law firm in the country. James McAndrew retired from the U.S Department of Homeland...

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Michael McCullough

Michael McCullough is a Founding Partner of Pearlstein McCullough & Lederman LLP, a law firm providing high-level services to the domestic and international art markets.
Michael McCullough’s art law practice covers a broad area of the art market. He advises galleries, auctioneers, and collectors on a variety of matters regarding consignment agreements, private sale agreement,...

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Narric Rome

Narric Rome serves as Vice President for Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts. In his role he manages federal, state, and local government advocacy with the goal of influencing public policies that advance direct and indirect support for the arts and arts education.
Narric is responsible for promoting the Americans for the Arts’ message to Congress and the Trump Administration....

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Lark E. Mason, Jr.

Lark E. Mason, Jr. worked with Sotheby’s New York from 1979 to 2003 as a Senior Vice President and specialist in Chinese art, and Director of Online Auctions for He is the founder of iGavel Auctions and Lark Mason Associates, Inc. from 2003 to the present. He was an adjunct professor at Parson’s School of Design, the New York School of Interior Design, and New York...

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