On November 7, 2012, attorneys with Clarick Gueron Reisbaum LLP representing Japanese artist Takashi Murakimi filed a Complaint alleging that “…Takashi Murakami seeks to obtain a declaration that his former gallery [Marianne Boesky Gallery] may not reproduce certain original artwork of his and to recover control of his artwork from his former gallery, which has refused to return the digital media containing Murakami’s design.” Plaintiff claims that the art dealer was planning to lend a wallpaper design he created in 2003, entitled Cosmos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition entitled Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years (on display now). However flattering to see one’s work at the Met, Boesky apparently planned to reproduce the wallpaper design without artist’s permission.
From the Complaint: “Boesky considered herself authorized to create new rolls of [Murakami’s] wallpaper—apparently forever and without limitation—using a digital file she retained after she ceased to represent Murakami as his gallery. Specifically, Boesky told counsel for Murakami that, at the time her representation ceased, Murakami authorized her to create new rolls of Cosmos wallpaper upon the request of any collector who purchased an edition of the work—including herself.”
Apparently, Murakami created these wallpaper works in a limited edition of 15, meaning each work was to be sold to 15 collectors. … Each collector who purchased an edition of the Cosmos work received 20 sheets of wallpaper bearing the Cosmos design and a “Certificate of Authenticity,” … [which] provided: “If the purchaser has a project or room that requires more than 20 sheets of wallpaper to complete the installation, additional rolls can be purchased.”
Murakami terminated his relationship with Boesky in 2006 and is now represented by… you guessed it, Gagosian Gallery.
Source: Summons and Complaint, Murakami v. Boesky; New York Post.