Thursday, June 27, 2019

Human Cells and the Readymade

First the urinal. Then the slicing of a cow. And then law as art. What’s next, stem cell research as art? Yep. At the forefront of this movement is SymbioticA, a bioart laboratory funded by the University of Western Australia. Run by Ionat Zurr and her husband Oron Catts. According to NPR, the couple has grown a replica of an ear with living human skin cells, miniature wings with the flesh of a pig and mouse cells in the shape of a tiny leather jacket.

However, “[t]here are also legal issues. Growing tissue from bones picked up at your local butcher may be legal if local land-use laws allow such activity, but working with live animals gets more complicated according to Stanford Law Professor Hank Greely.

‘Whether this art counts as research — who knows,’ Greely says. ‘The legal situation is murky in several directions, and I think it’s highly likely that not all artists are carefully advised about it.’


Does “Hate Speech” Get Copyright Protection?

Talk Radio Network-syndicated host Michael Savage has filed suit in California against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for copyright infringement, saying CAIR is using a four-plus-minute clip of Savage’s show Savage Nation for fundraising purposes.

In those excerpts, from his Oct. 29 show, Savage calls the Koran a “book of hate” and says, “I don’t wanna hear anymore about Islam. I don’t wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I’m sick of you.”

After those comments were publicized, says CAIR, a number of advertisers left the Savage show, including Sears, Universal Orlando Resorts, AutoZone, Citrix, TrustedID, JC Penney, OfficeMax, Wal-Mart and AT&T. More on this story here.


Richard Prince and Hurt Feelings

Today’s New York Times has an interesting story concerning Richard Prince’s retrospective at the Guggenheim and some of his cowboy

re-photographs. It seems that Jim Krantz, the original “commercial” photographer, has finally discovered his work hanging at the Guggenheim, but attributed to Prince and worth a few pennies more.

Krantz claims to not want money or to be considering a lawsuit. Although he believes that Prince is well within “fair use” grounds, he adds that he would like the public to know who the real–and original–photographer is.

Well, now everyone knows. But something tells us, in this age of litigation, affluent artists and cynicism, that Krantz (or a law firm), may possibly change his mind.


What Ever Happened to Fistfights?

And the power of blogging.

This is one thing we’ve been wondering about over here at Clancco headquarters: what ever happened to the Pollock’s, the Mailers, and the Rodmans of yesterday; to respect and courtesy for the old school? December’s issue of Esquire Magazine has an interesting article by Chris Jones relating the anonymity made available via blogging to the importance of bringing back the spontaneous—but necessary—fistfight.

How’d we get here? Blogs are part of it, along with the incessant frothing of TV pundits and reality-show contestants, especially that lippy midget from The Amazing Race: Everybody thinks they’re above being edited. And the saddest part is, the Jerichos are right to feel bulletproof. Somewhere along the way, we’ve evolved into a culture without consequence, taught so much hokum about the bigger man walking away.

Is society really acting more and more like an internet? Perhaps, but in the real world (Lacanians love that), there are consequences, and it seems like in the virtual as well. reports of a Tennessee defense attorney who is arguing for a change of venue in a racially charged double murder, citing that postings on Internet blogs have tainted the jury pool. In his brief, Philip Lomonaco argued that blogs “spread lies and helped create an urban legend surrounding the details of the final state of the victims’ bodies — details meant to outrage and taint any jury pool. These untruths made a heinous crime even more horrific, and has created an irreversible fog of prejudicial publicity.”

Calling the Marlboro man.


Threats of Columbine-style Attacks Not Free Speech

Leave it to someone from El Paso, Texas to claim that communicating written threats of violence are protected by the First Amendment. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals however feels quite differently.

Using Morse v. Frederick, the most recent case of student speech and its limitations, the 5th Circuit conclude that Morse allows school administrators to apply zero-tolerance rules to threats of violence and potentially other subjects of student speech. What exactly did Enrique Ponce, a Montwood High School sophomore, write in his diary? Well, Ponce described creating a pseudo-Nazi group, committing several incidents of violence against homosexual and “colored” students and planning Columbine-type shootings at several schools. The plan, which according to the diary, was fomented by Ponce’s anger which would “get to the point where [he] will no longer have control,” would be carried out on a graduation day several years later.

Wow! This is even more interesting because we assume that Ponce himself is a “minority,” and being from the El Paso area it would be safe to say that he is either Mexican-American or Chicano, so presumably these two “minority” statuses would not be covered in his diatribe of violence toward other minorities. Interesting! Anyhow, Ponce’s plan was unveiled when he told another student about his writings and supposedly showed the diary to this undisclosed snitch (another reason why one should never confide in strangers). The snitch then reported Ponce to their teacher, and, well, here we are.

Incidentally, it was another great El Paso school, Jefferson High School, which produced the notorious Richard “the night stalker” Ramirez.

The First Amendment Center has more on this story.


Private Contributions and Public Museums

A couple of interesting questions are being kicked around the “artworld” these days, and they concern (1) whether or not nonprofit art museums should, or can, accept money from commercial galleries with a clear financial stake in the exhibiting artist’s career, and in some cases in the actual artworks on display, and (2) whether financial contributions of galleries should, or can, influence what a nonprofit art museum exhibits?

The “should” aspect of these two questions is of course up for ethical debate (i.e.- appearance of impropriety). They are not new or groundbreaking issues, and have existed, let’s say, since Plato. The reason the ethical question is not that interesting, at least not at this point, is because ethical questions and dilemmas lack the power or, more appropriately, the force of law. To believe that a nonprofit museum could be ethically shamed into correcting itself is to believe that Barry Bonds was ignorant of the contents in his daily breakfast (or see MASS MoCAs treatment of Christoph Buchel).

The real issue is the first question: whether or not a nonprofit museum, with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, can receive monies from private art galleries or private collectors without these monies benefiting the private parties in more than “insubstantial” way. The reason for this is quite obvious, but just in case, the IRS Code stipulates that a party “donating” money to a 501(c)(3) organization cannot privately benefit from the acts and/or services of the 501(c)(3) because this same private party is already receiving a private benefit–a tax deductible contribution.

Read the rest of this entry »


Museum Accepts Owning Warhol Fakes

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the Moderna Museet in Stockholm has officially stated that six Brillo boxes in their Andy Warhol collection are fakes made in 1990, three years after Warhol’s death. The Museum had investigated the authenticity of its six wooden Brillo boxes, donated by its former head, Pontus Hulten, in 1995, after a Swedish newspaper claimed they were all copies.



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