One of the main battles regarding current appropriation practices concerns the question of artistic intent. I certainly believe--and have been a strong proponent of--artistic intent, especially when it comes to the taking of someone else's property (the aspect of criticality logically follows intent). In his new book of collected essays, Formalism and Historicity, art historian and critic Benjamin Buchloh unleashes a critical blitzkrieg on a range of artists, many of which are responsible for the current wave of indolent appropriation practices. In his book review, PacPobric, assistant editor for exhibitions and reviews at The Art Newspaper, notes that Buchloh assaults Jeff Koons, Damien ...
[caption id="attachment_8270" align="alignnone" width="300"] Luc Tuymans’s painting A Belgian Politician, 2011 (left), and Katrijn van Giel’s original photograph of Jean-Marie Dedecker.[/caption] Deciding the law wasn't the way to fix their dispute, Luc Tuymans and photographer Katrijn Van Giel settled their dispute in a confidential out-of-court settlement. Van Giel and Tuymans stated that they decided “to settle their dispute, as artists and in an artistic way, rather than to allow it to be settled in a court of law”, and that the photographer “relinquishes her legal action”.
When is a weed a weed, and when is a weed artwork? The remarkably intelligent Judge Posner, of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, explains, "But the plaintiff's claim that the free-speech clause insulates all weeds from public control is ridiculous," Posner said. "It's not as if the plaintiff invented, planted, nurtured, dyed, clipped, or has otherwise beautified its weeds, or that it exhibits or intends or aspires to exhibit them in museums or flower shows. Its weeds have no expressive dimension. The plaintiff just doesn't want to be bothered with having to have them clipped." Clearly it's not just whether the ...
Does the public have a right to culture? After months of conversations and debates regarding the question of culture and law, a good friend of mine, Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, the director and chief-curator of the Colleción Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, asked me if I would lead an online debate concerning this same question. I of course agreed and asked five individuals I highly respect to opine on the obviously arrogant and leading question. I chose these five individuals, Lian Amaris, Joanna Montoya Robotham, Donn Zaretsky, Antonio Sergio Bessa, and Molleen Theodore based on previous conversations with them but also primarily because ...
[caption id="attachment_8257" align="alignnone" width="300"] Image: Frederick Dennstedt, L.A. Dodgers Stadium, Chavez Ravine (2006). Image is used via Creative Commons License, BY-SA 2.0.[/caption] I'll be giving an artist talk at SVA next Tuesday, Oct. 6th, from 6-7:30pm. I'll talk about my art & law projects, which focus on the analysis of property and structures through legal and cultural discourse and practices. Come on out; we'll go out for Malbec after. When: Tuesday, October 6 Time: 6-7:30pm Where: School of Visual Arts, Room 101C, 133/141 West 21st Street, NY, NY
Today, the US Supreme Court handed down the correct decision concerning free speech and the depiction of animal cruelty. The case, United States v. Stevens, involved a challenge to a federal law that prohibited the sale or possession for “commercial gain” of material that depicts living animals being “intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed.” The Court declared the statute unconstitutional on the grounds that it was overbroad. Justice Alito was the lone dissenter. Chief Justice Roberts seemed to suggest that a law limited to “crush” videos instead would pass muster.
You may remember that this was the case where UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh (The Volokh Conspiracy) and two other lawyers wrote a “friend of the court brief” (“amicus”) on behalf of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the College Art Association. The amicus focuses in part on “avant-garde and conceptual art,” Duchamp, Herman Nitsch, and Wim Delvoye’s tattooed pigs. You can access the amicus via an earlier post I wrote, here.
Readers may remember that Polaroid filed for bankruptcy twice in the past decade, most recently in 2008 in connection with a Ponzi scheme at parent company Petters Group Worldwide. The Polaroid name and assets—not including the photography collection—were acquired by a private equity firm and a liquidator for $88m in 2009. The photography collection remained behind with the defunct Polaroid Corporation, renamed PBE, and is now in the hands of PBE’s liquidators.
According to The Art Newspaper, Chuck Close has agreed to become a plaintiff in this case, hoping to stop the sale of works from the Polaroid Collection, which numbers around 16,000 works according to court papers filed in Minnesota in 2009. An auction of around 1,200 of these is scheduled to take place at Sotheby’s on June 20th and 21st in New York. Close told The Art Newspaper, “These were not Polaroid’s works to sell. [...] I gave my best work to the collection because it was made clear that it was going to stay together and be given to a museum.”
Former Magistrate Judge Sam Joyner has taken charge in trying to persuade artists in this Polaroid Collection to voice their concerns and become fellow plaintiffs. Joyner has written a concise analysis of this case outlining the relevant facts, substantive legal issues and procedural issues (Note: the analysis is from September of 2009). For background to this story, here’s my post from April 2009.
Last week, The NY Times covered The NYC Department of Parks’ proposal of new rules for street artists who display or sell art in NYC Parks. It was published in The City Record on 3/24/2010. According to Robert Lederman, president of advocacy group ARTIST, there will be a public hearing on April 23, 2010 at Chelsea Recreation Center, 430 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10010 at 11:00 AM. The ARTIST group will hold a large protest before the hearing.
The full text of the proposed rules and a link to maps showing each vending spot are located here. The most significant change is that First Amendment protected street artists will now be severely limited as to where they can set up an art display in a park and as to how many artists can set up in each park.
Last week, Clancco reader Matt Marco asked me who I liked for Justice Stevens’ seat on the US Supreme Court. I answered, albeit briefly, that much would depend on that Justice’s views on intellectual property, free speech, and cultural production.
Last week, Law.com had a good article on Justice Stevens’ legacy on IP, in particular his authoring the seminal Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios (or, the Betamax decision, which granted couch potatoes the right to videotape MTV videos and QVC infomercials and watch them any time and at our leisure, yet for personal and non-commercial use). Washington Post entertainment critic Tom Shales called the decision “one small step for man, one giant kick in Big Brother’s pants.” Law.com:
If you think art law is the new black, well, you’re wrong. It’s sexy, but not as sexy and black as fashion law.
Last week, Property Outlaws authors, Sonia K. Katyal and Eduardo Moisés Peñalver, wrote a brief but concise critique of intellectual property monopolies and the current attempt by Harvard Law Professor Jeannie Suk and Senator Charles Schumer to provide fashion designs with copyright protection. Katyal and Penalver argue that not only do we see increased litigation, but, similarly to drug patents,
creating intellectual property protection comes at a steep social cost. Providing a limited-time monopoly to innovators allows them to charge monopoly prices. While this is arguably necessary to allow innovators to recoup development costs, it also puts the protected goods out of reach of many consumers[.]
Well, for some it does.
Nate Harrison mentioned this to me on Monday, and Artforum has some succinct coverage on UC-San Diego Visual Arts Professor Ricardo Dominguez and his avant-garde shenanigans. It seems Dominguez “recently helped launch an ‘online sit-in’ against the website of University of California president Mark Yudof. The strategy had about four hundred participants visit Yudof’s website repeatedly for about ninety minutes, in an attempt to slow it down (similar to what is called a ‘denial of-service attack,’ which floods a website with traffic, freezing it), as a protest against budget cuts to the UC system and the administration’s priorities.”
Now, Dominguez is wanted for questioning by university administrators, while the professor has publicly defended himself by claiming the right of free expression.
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