Artistry and Thievary

Allegedly stolen goods are the subject of “Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age,” an exhibition at the Gaea Foundation’s Resource Center for Activism and Arts.

What do we get? Painstakingly rendered graphite drawings posing the likes of Barney Rubble and Goofy in macabre scenes; multiple heads of Colonel Sanders taking the circular shape of a mandala; a Warhol-like portrait of Liz Taylor made from $1 bills. The point: Copyrights meant to protect creators are now protecting corporate revenue and inhibiting freedom of expression.

Every exhibit has received a cease-and-desist letter (or so the article seems to imply). Seems like a good show to me.

2 replies on “Artistry and Thievary”

  1. Um… I know you just love making an issue of things, but the article goes on to say:

    “So how come “Illegal Art,” which opened here last week and was previously seen in New York and Chicago, hasn’t been shut down? Because the work on view isn’t unlawful. Most of it falls under the definition of ‘fair use.'”

    So no, it is NOT now just protecting corporations and stifling creativity. The exhibits ARE legal. Copyright law DOES allow for them.

    Sorry to break up a good party.

  2. I know you like to diffuse issues, Claire, but, as I mentioned, the article is muddled. While it starts early off by saying that the show is allowed because of fair use protections for parody and criticism, you will find if you read on that it later states that many of the works involved have generated cease and desist letters, and that some of the artists are actually in active litigation over their works. The art is being offered for sale, the article mentions, which makes the issue even more difficult. Copyright law DOES protect current corporations at the expense of creativity. Fair use is not a right, and it is being steadily eroded. This is just another example of how difficult it is to create. Even if the courts find in each case that the works are legal and non-infringing, the fact that an individual artist has to battle a large monied corporation for the right to create a very distinct and different derivitie work shows that copyright is fundamentally failing.

Comments are closed.