Saturday, November 16, 2019

“Graffiti is art” appeal continues in the 2nd Circuit

Apparently (some) federal judges have bought into the argument that spraying aerosol on walls is art, or hell, not just art, but art blessed and protected by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act.

If you’ve been keeping track of the 5Pointz lawsuit pitting property owners against graffiti “artists,” here’s an update. And yes, I do know that in this particular case the property owner consented to daily alterations of New York’s “Guernica.”


Just in case we change our minds…

What the hell is going on in San Francisco? The heehawing by the San Francisco School Board on what to do with an alleged “racist” mural gives credence to the belief that sniffing glue in the San Francisco region is a daily and welcome event (albeit not frightening).

The Board has recently reversed their decision to destroy art and instead voted to cover the mural with “solid panels.” I suppose this is a belts and suspenders approach just in case the future brings a different type of snowflake, one that would be emotionally damaged by the covering up of art.

Here’s the Board’s rationale,

“Where we all agree is that the mural depicts the racist history of America, especially in regards to African Americans and Native Americans. It is important that we all share the agreement and acknowledgment of racism, discrimination, and the dehumanizing of people of color and women in American history,” SFUSD President Stevon Cook said in a press release.

Apparently we should erase the history of racism in the U.S. and pretend it never happened. Who was it that said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”?

Of note also is how Cook’s use of “especially” designates a list indicating which groups of people have been discriminated against more than others.

Article here. Previous post on Roberta Smith’s thoughts on this cluster fuck, here.


Can performance art be owned?

So asks LA Times reporter, Deborah Vankin. The short and easy answer to her question is, yes.

Guggenheim curator, Nat Trotman speculates that “the fact that some museum stakeholders may balk at paying money for something intangible[.]” Initially this makes sense, but it does seem odd considering that many board members profit from speculation and intangible property. So why is “intangible” art any different?


Assault rifles and moral rights

Probably not a good idea to be brandishing and shooting an assault rifle at this moment in time, even if the weapon is being used to alter and destroy works of art.

On one evening last November, musician Ryan Upchurch carried a couple of paintings into has backyard in Tennessee, propped them up against a some greenery and shot them repeatedly with an assault rifle.

The artist, Jacob Aaron LeVeille, is now suing Upchurch for violating LeVeille’s moral rights under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

More here.


Roberta Smith on San Francisco’s Disputed George Washington Murals

In a democracy, destroying a work of art is never a solution to any offense it may give. Once art has been made and released into the often choppy flow of life, it should stay there. It will live on anyway. To dictate its elimination is an implicitly autocratic move, similar in spirit, if not scale, to the deliberate demolition of ancient art and artifacts by the Taliban and the Islamic State.

More here.


Exhibition about censorship is…censored

The organizers of the trienniale shut down the exhibition “After ‘Freedom of Expression’?” at the Aichi Prefecture Museum of Art in the city of Nagoya after organizers said they received numerous threats objecting to a controversial work in the show.

Artnet has more here. Artnews here.


Sixth Circuit: Parody is protected speech, so lawsuit against police department and officers proceeds

Novak’s [mock Parma Police Department Facebook] page delighted, disgusted, and confused. Not everyone understood it. But when it comes to parody, the law requires a reasonable reader standard, not a “most gullible person on Facebook” standard. The First Amendment does not depend on whether everyone is in on the joke. Neither is it bothered by public disapproval, whether tepid or red-hot….

That’s part of the Sixth Circuit’s reasoning. Eugene Volokh has more here.


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