Monday, June 5, 2023

“As if the cleverness of the theft excuses the theft itself.”


Although probably dismissed by the all-appropriation-is-fair-use posse, here’s a very poignant (feminist) take on (white male) appropriation artists.

As if the cleverness of the theft excuses the theft itself. These loopholes benefit the thief, have you noticed? They rely on this power, and they’ve habitually used it only to profit on the backs of people less powerful, with much more to say. It’s a reflection of art history at large, upheld by art law itself. You know what? Art law is misogyny. It defends the abilities of those already in power. Of course it doesn’t defend me and other women who’ve had our work appropriated. Of course Richard Prince and his children of the corn will get away with this. It’s written on the walls. How many women artists have been erased from museums through pre-Instagram modes of re-appropriation: their works attributed to male colleagues in their studios, their mentors or their lovers or more visible friends. How many women only get into museums by being muses, and never the artist themselves?


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Comments: 3

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  • BGko

    There is no work of creativity that doesn’t build, or “steal,” from the works that preceded it. Where would this person have the line drawn? What makes them the arbiter of what is “inspiration” and what is “theft”? At what point does it stop being a protection of rights and become a stifling of ideas?

  • stephan

    A few thoughts:

    In their rush to create a binary, they’re fundamentally misread Prince’s work.

    Andrew Gilden has written more persuasively on this subject.

    Both the original photograph and the new collage work are derivative and uninteresting.

    And fair use isn’t a “loophole”, but a fundamental protection of free speech. The problem is one of legal procedure; if anything, the substance of speech protections in copyright do not extend far enough.

  • Alex

    show me an appropriation artist who doesn’t have more to say than those they appropriate from.

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