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916 Retrospective Works and Exhibition Catalogs

916 Retrospective Works and Exhibition Catalogs


Retrospective works are published books, websites, or other works that review or look back on the career of a visual artist. Exhibition catalogs are catalogs, brochures, or other works that contain copies of works featured in a particular exhibition or other works by the same visual artist(s). Both retrospective works and exhibition catalogs typically contain both new and preexisting authorship.


The new authorship is usually prepared expressly for the retrospective work or the exhibition catalog, and may include elements such as an introduction, critical essays, photographs, annotated bibliographies, chronological timelines, and the like.


As for the visual artist’s works, retrospective works and exhibition catalogs usually contain (I) works that were published before they appeared in the new work, and (ii) other works that have never been sold or otherwise published or publicly exhibited before they appeared in the new work.


When a previously unpublished work is first published in a retrospective work or exhibition catalog, the fact that the work has been published will affect the subsequent registration options for that work. For this reason, artists may want to consider registering their pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works prior to authorizing their depiction in a retrospective work or exhibition catalog.


To register a retrospective work or exhibition catalog, the applicant should limit the claim to the new content that was prepared specifically for that work, such as new artwork, essays, photographs, indexes, chronologies, bibliographies, or the like. Any artwork that was previously registered, published, or in the public domain should be excluded from the claim using the procedures described in Chapter 600, Section 621.8.


In all cases, the applicant should anticipate that the registration specialist will raise questions about the ownership and first publication provenance of artwork depicted in a retrospective work or exhibition catalog. Therefore, when completing the application, the applicant should provide as much information about those works as possible.