It took about thirty years for Smith to get his law

In a review of the exhibit “Like Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body” at the Met Breuer, published in the April 2, 2018 issue of The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl notes that the ideal of a monochrome surface for sculpture persisted well into modern times and mentions that in the 1960s Clement Greenberg in his capacity as executor of the estate of David Smith had paint removed from a number of Smith’s sculptures. Until reading this, I had been embarrassingly ignorant of Greenberg’s actions. However, I found article by Hilton Kramer in the September 13, 1974 issue of The New York Times (“Altering of Smith Work Stirs Dispute” ) in which Rosalind Krauss is quoted as writing that the trustees had allowed several of Smith’s sculptures to be “deliberately stripped of paint—sandblasted, allowed to rust, then glossily varnished” and that others had been “left outdoors, unprotected over the years; their surfaces are flaking off under the pressures of heat and cold, rain and sun.”
A number of years before his death, Smith had complained about the removal of paint from one of his sculptures in letters to art journals writing, “This willful work of vandalism causes me to deny this work and refuse any future sale to any of those connected with this vandalism. Possibly we should start an action for protective laws.” It took about thirty years for Smith to get his law— the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.