Appropriation In Art – Part of a Belief System

In recent years the word ‘appropriation’ has become a fashionable, obliquely commendatory term used in discussions of contemporary art. The implication is that making use of a borrowed image is somehow a radically original thing to do. The less you change that image, the better. In particular, used in this context, the word also implies the existence of an unspoken conspiracy between […]

Why Experts Say the Latest Copyright Lawsuit Against Richard Prince Matters

Yet another lawsuit has been filed by a photographer against a major artist, and the case could have a major impact on the interpretation of copyright and intellectual property law. Photographer Donald Graham has brought suit against Richard Prince for using a photograph of a Rastafarian in his 2014 Gagosian Gallery exhibition “New Portraits,” which […]

When Is Artist-on-Artist Theft Okay?

New York artist Jamian Juliano-Villani is being accused by another artist of having sticky fingers. Brooklyn’s Scott Teplin sees too much similarity between a small painting by Juliano-Villani, now on view at West Village gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, and a painting of his own. Juliano-Villani explained her thinking in a Facebook comment: It’s important to […]

John Baldessari’s Unforgivingly Humorous Art

When John Baldessari started creating his text paintings in the mid 1960s, only a handful of artists had ever trifled with the idea. There were Roy Lichtenstein‘s paintings from comics, and the Cubists had integrated newspaper clippings in their work, but nobody had been brave enough to exhibit paintings that simply offered text. For one […]

How Does Richard Prince’s Notorious “Canal Zone” Look 6 Years Later? Like Freedom

Is there anything left to say about Richard Prince‘s notorious “Canal Zone” paintings and their attendant legal controversy? The case was finally settled, leaving its effect on copyright law uncertain. Art-world scolds who railed against Prince’s appropriation of photographer Patrick Cariou’s Rastafarian images have moved onto new causes. The dozen or so pictures, looking as if some of them might be […]

Apropos Appropriation

In many ways the art world is a latecomer to the kinds of copyright tensions that have already played out in fields like music and movies, where extensive systems of policing, permission and licensing have evolved. But art lawyers say that legal challenges are now coming at a faster pace, perhaps in part because the […]