Friday, April 29, 2016

Artist Says He Shot 4 of Mapplethorpe’s ‘Self-Portraits,’ Files $65M Copyright Lawsuit

On April 7th, 2016, the poet, actor, photographer, and makeup artist James R. Miller filed a lawsuit against the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (RMF), claiming copyright to four photographs that have been shown and sold for decades as Mapplethorpe’s work.

More via Hyperallergic.


Vincent Award Suspended Due to Legal Dispute

The Vincent Award, one of the most prestigious prizes for contemporary art in Europe, has been cancelled this year after two artists pulled out—one citing a legal row between the Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo and the Dutch art collector Bert Kreuk.

Something tells us that there’s more to this story than immediately meets the eye. More here.


Ibrahim Mahama Countersues Simchowitz, Ellis King

Apparently the Kumbaya moment was short-lived.

Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in California against dealers Stefan Simchowitz and Jonathan Ellis King, who served the artist with a lawsuit last year.

The lawsuit alleges infringement of Mahama’s right under the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act, and is a countersuit to legal action taken by Simchowitz and Ellis King, filed in June 2015, that alleges that Mahama’s effort to disown work he sold to the defendants for $150,000 could cost them $4.45 million—the total price the dealers believe they can sell the almost 300 works for.

The new suit filed by Mahama claims that he insisted that the work not be sold part and parcel, but as a complete work.


Ivy League Students Protest Installation of Henry Moore “Monstrosity”

Apparently, when it comes to Ivy League culture, it’s more popular to parade around campus with a mattress than it is exhibit modernist sculpture. But what else would these Ivy League babies be doing if not protesting the removal of abstract art? After all, it’s not like there’s a Vietnam War going on.

File under “Political Correctness.”


Lawbreaking In Photography

What a wonderful idea for an exhibition. From the Met Fifth Avenue:

Since the earliest days of the medium, photographs have been used for criminal investigation and evidence gathering, to record crime scenes, to identify suspects and abet their capture, and to report events to the public. Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning March 7, explores the multifaceted intersections between photography and crime, from 19th-century “rogues’ galleries” to work by contemporary artists inspired by criminal transgression. The installation will feature some 70 works, drawn entirely from the Met collection, ranging from the 1850s to the present.

Exhibition ends on July 31, 2016. If you’re really interested in photography and its relation to crime and law, a must read is Allan Sekula’s The Body and the Archive.


On Copyright and Crossword Puzzles

Is attribution all authors care about?


The Getty and LACMA Team Up for Mapplethorpe Exhibit

More than twenty-five years after the landmark trial over exhibiting Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the J. Paul Getty Museum are opening their joint retrospective, “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium.” The exhibition, devoted to the late US photographer, will show photographs from Mapplethorpe’s X Portfolio.

The X Portfolio was part of the 1990 trial that sparked a debate over obscenity and government funding for the arts. On trial facing obscenity charges were the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati and its then director, Dennis Barrie. The defense focused on convincing the jury that Mapplethorpe’s work was art, and the prosecution countered that it was pornography. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting the CAC and Barrie.

Getty curator Paul Martineau explained that in the exhibition he wanted to both humanize Mapplethorpe, making him more approachable to the average person, while not avoiding any challenging art.

Richard Meyer, an art history professor at Stanford University, explained that, “What Mapplethorpe understood is that you’ll never get rid of censorship altogether, but when censorship of art happens, it’s used as an opportunity or forum for public dialogue about why art matters in a democratic culture.”


“Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium” runs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from March 15 to July 31.


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