Friday, December 14, 2018

The old case about Paul Chan and plagiarism


A few nights ago someone asked me (and incidentally reminded me) about a situation where a visiting artist, Paul Chan, copied an artwork, without permission, from a Northwestern University MFA art student. Apparently there’s not much “out there” in the ether-world on this situation, but I did find this post from Christopher Howard, with ample information on the Chan-copying controversy.

The copied artwork was of the famous George Bush flight-suit banner aboard an aircraft carrier that read, “Mission Accomplished.”

A snippet,

as a visiting artist at Northwestern in spring 2006, Chan saw a work by one student in her studio that he really liked: a banner with the words “mission accomplished” on them. He told her that she should really do something with the work, which she was unsure about. The matter dropped, at least until the summer, when a Hong Kong arts center asked him to contribute a work to a benefit. He also had a solo show there. For the benefit, he re-created that same banner. But it didn’t sell. A couple months later, in the fall, Chan was asked to participate in a group show at Serpentine Gallery in London. He made an edition of twenty, again, none of which sold. (Perhaps it was the edition in China—my memory is fuzzy.) When the work was in London, he e-mailed the student artist in order to share credit (and income, if there would be any). Responding a couple weeks later, she totally freaked out. A few weeks after that, Chan was contacted by lawyers at Northwestern.

More via Howard’s In Terms Of blog, here.


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