Monday, March 21, 2011

Art and Theft

The controversy of Richard Prince and his case spread like wildfire through my Facebook and friends. Photographers tended to lean towards one side, as did copyright lawyers. But artists, we were all over the place.

It’s rare that someone gets bugged by my use of magazine images (some including art reproduction), but it has happened. It’s never been from the actual photographer though. It’s always been from a jealous artist.

But from the very commencement of my collage endeavor, I saw it as a creative force which must fight to survive. I had very little money and a lot on my mind. Cutting and pasting was the quickest way to get my voice and over the years, it’s been the most consistent (private diary writing aside).

This access is the very thing that kept collage for so many years on the wrong side of the tracks as regards The Art World. You know, Cut with a Kitchen Knife and all that. In fact history now reveals that it was Victorian women who made the first collages (not Picasso). So I find it very amusing that someone stealing images could make so much money at it, get so far and then of course get sued. It's all about the money.

Not that I’m a big fan or anything. I didn’t give him much thought, have no books on him, etc. I liked the nurses. And I think the Marlborough Man is completely fair game. After all, the MM has been after us for years, penetrating our psyche. That was his big ambition in life. He was asking for it.

And that’s how I feel about advertising in general. Those cosmetic and beauty ads have been hounding me since I got out of the womb. My mom was an artist, a beautiful woman AND an Avon Lady. That I should eventually cut those images and welcome them to my world is completely satisfying to me.

Someone in his FB said that both the Rasta and the MM seemed ethnographic and that without the voices of other artists, Prince had none of his own. But I think that might be the point. I don’t know that Prince feels singular or unique at all. It falls not that far from the Reality TV show, where no one and everyone is special.


CAP said...

I agree it’s all about the money. I’m most definitely not a fan, but I know similar issues arise when you pirate/sample music for video clips – for which you can’t possibly afford the permission and copyright clearances – and when you consult a lawyer the advice is always the same – “It’s not going to be an issue until/unless you make LOTS of money. It’s not worth them suing you if it costs them more in lawyer’s fees than you’ve got.”

Well Prince has certainly pumped the market in recent times – and quite suspiciously in my view – so I don’t feel bad about him losing a small fraction of it to bottom feeders. He’s rich enough now to restage/rephotograph anything he wants and avoid these pesky loopholes.

BTW – Was sort of expecting a post on Liz Taylor…?

Eva said...

I know, CAP, I should have posted on Liz Taylor. I've made 6 Targets on her and actually, my best stash I've yet to cut. It's like it was too perfect to cut. So I don't know if the moment has passed on her or not. I thought Charlie Finch was very clever in writing about Liz and the Prince verdict within one essay.