The following article originally appeared in ArtNet. The author is Joy Garnett. All copyrights are retained by Garnett and ArtNet or the appropriate entities.
As is well-known, the artist Richard Prince has lost his copyright infringement suit to the photographer Patrick Cariou [see Artnet News, March 21, 2011]. The decision is now pending an appeal. The news has prompted heated commentary by almost everyone, including copyright maximalists, photographers, collage artists, painters who use appropriated imagery, New York dealers and “open source” mavens. IP lawyers have written boilerplate statements, typically devoid of any nuance or even the most basic understanding of the visual arts. Artists and photographers who either bear Prince a personal grudge, or else find his and others’ methods of appropriation suspect, have trotted out the usual platitudes: “lazy” “thief” “millionaire.” In fact, one would think from reading the comments sections of art blogs that Prince’s great crime was in being successful, and that copyright is a convenient tool for redistributing some of his wealth.
But copyright law is not about generating or artificially leveraging artists’ income. It is certainly not about redistributing deserved or undeserved wealth. Copyright is about regulating mass production. Its roots are in late 17th- and early 18th-century publishing and the globalization of the printing press (cf: Statute of Anne, ca. 1709). Long before digital technologies changed the game plan, copyright became a way to deal with the new global mass culture.
Later, photography, because it too relied on mass production and distribution, became reliant on copyright. Among other things, copyright could be wielded as a deterrent for those who might reproduce and profit from works without the permission of their authors. The problem lay in the fact that, with mass-produced works of literature, music or visual art, there is no inherent or tangible difference between an original and a copy. Obviously, this is not so for paintings, sculpture, etc. — one-of-a-kind art objects. And authors of one-of-a-kind works have not conventionally relied on copyright to collect licensing fees or royalties, since there are no mass-produced copies that can be sold — only originals. Hence, painters and sculptors have used different earning models, such as the gallery system, for selling their work.
Patrick Cariou comes out of photography culture, which is part of mass culture. Photography culture lives and breathes by licensing agreements and royalties, and through copyright. Richard Prince, comes out of a moment when artists were using “appropriation” as a tool to comment on and criticize mass production. His work has always referenced his source material, and hence mass culture itself. Part of the value of his work today, around which much of the case revolves, is based on his reputation as a critic of and commentator on mass culture.
For the disputed “Canal Zone” series, Prince took copies of photographs from Yes Rasta, Cariou’s book on Rastafarian culture (PowerHouse Books, 2000, $60). In other words, Prince re-used photographs that had been mass-produced in the form of a book, in order to make his collage-like paintings. To say that Cariou’s work was used as “raw material” is not to demean the work; it is simply a factual description of how the photographs were used. The “Canal Zone” series also incorporates works by other photographers, including some by the underground filmmaker Richard Kern. Prince took more than 40 of Cariou’s images, scanned them, blew them up, affixed them to enormous canvases, collaged and squeegeed them together with other elements, oil stick and paint, producing one-of-a-kind objects. These large-scale collaged paintings reference their sources by re-instituting them as singular objects. On that basis alone, Prince’s work is transformative — a determining factor that U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts unfortunately chose to ignore.
What leaves me breathless is one particular irony, among the many that surround this case, regarding Judge Batts’ decision in the awarding of damages, which include, potentially, the destruction of the offending works. The very existence of Prince’s “Canal Zone” series is apparently now in peril, in part because no one seems to be able to tell the difference between a painting, which is a one-of-a-kind object, and a photograph, which is by definition mass-producible.
Hence the irony. Some things cannot be easily destroyed, and whatever Prince may have done with the mass-produced copies of Cariou’s photographs, the photographs themselves remain intact. But one-of-kind art objects, once disposed of, are deleted forever.
For additional views on this matter, please refer to the WTF column in Artillary Magazine’s May/June 2011 Vol.5 Issue 5. You can also use Google to get information online.
By Jim McKinniss
Gallery 478 is pleased to present Emilio Mercado: LIFEstills, a survey that spans more than four decades of the photographer’s work. The exhibition will open on First Thursday June 2, 6 – 9 PM with an Artist’s Reception on Saturday, June 4, from 4 – 7 PM.
Emilio Mercado is poised and intuitive, understanding of his subject and medium – equally at ease on city streets and rural pastures – and capable of the recognition that transforms split-seconds into images both engaging and informative. He photographs still-life arrangements with humility and grace, landscape and architecture with Zen-like detachment, and fellow travelers with an admixture of curiosity and empathy. His work reminds us of photography’s persistent relevance and value in our lives.
Curated by Ray and Arneé Carofano, LIFEstills runs through August 26.
Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 11 AM – 5 PM, and by appointment. For visuals or additional information, please call 310-732-2150.
This exhibition is funded in part by generous support from the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles.
Gallery 478 is located at 478 West 7th Street, San Pedro, CA. 90731
By Jim McKinniss
Copyright Jim McKinniss – The Muse
“Alone in the Moonlight: Portraits of the Muse”
“Alone in the Moonlight” is a collection of photographs, each one an interpretation of the Muse, or poetic inspiration as incarnated in human form. They were taken during over the last year by over two dozen men and women, and yet the same individual appears in each image.
Featuring the photography of Don Adkins, Joelle Adkins, Annie Appel, Bob Barry, Paul Bleiden, Amy Cantrell, Ray Carofano, Deidre Davidson, Slobodan Dimitrov, Philip Earl, David Fairchild, Pauline Falstrom, Barry Fontenot, DeAnn Jennings, Michael Justice, Gary LeBlanc, Gil Mares,Jim McKinniss, John Middelkoop, Jan Milhomme, Kat Monk, Melinda Moore, Tom Sanders, Beth Shibata, Mark Tanner, Cristy Thom, Nancy Webber, and a painting by Harold Plople.
Manhattan Beach Creative Arts Center
The show dates are June 10 throughJune 29, 2011
The opening reception is Friday, June 10,7-9 p.m.
Special Concert “The Muse Music”: June 18th,7-9 p.m. Admission to concert is $10
Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thrusday2 – 6 p.m. & Saturday 1 – 4 p.m.
Manhattan Beach Creative Arts Center
1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Contact: 310-802-5440 or http://www.citymb.info
Byong-Ho Kim, known as Brad to his friend, has had his beautiful black and white imagery selected as one of the Merit winners in the 2011 B&W Magazine portfolio contest (Special Issue #84). This is not the first time Brad’s work has been selected by the magazine. His work has been shown is several previous special issues of the magazine.
Brad’s photographic portfolio includes American landscapes, children, animal studies, and street photography. Brad is known for his beautiful compositions and the exquisite tonal values in his black and white photos. Besides these technical accomplishments Brad brings a sense of connection to the subjects of his photographs.
Each of the photograph show above was selected for special issue #84.
By Jim McKinniss
Tuesday, May 24 from 7-9 p.m., the reception for the Orange County Annual High School Photography Invitational takes place at Cypress College in the Fine Arts Gallery. This is a juried competition open to all Orange County High School students. It was begun 19 or so years ago by Ellen Butler when she was the photo instructor at Costa Mesa High School. For the past few years it has been organized by Mark Tsang, the photo instructor at Mission Viejo High School. This year the jurors are Larry Vogel, John Montich, Barbara Runge, and Larry Pribble. It’s an exhibit in which artistic creativity and intent is valued in addition to craftsmanship. All of the 200 or so images entered are exhibited. As many students and their work as possible are recognized with awards including Photographer of Merit, Best of Show, the Top Ten images, 25 Honorable Mention images, and Jurors’ Choice for Excellence in Creativity being presented.
This is an opportunity to see some creative work by students with great enthusiasm and fresh perspectives who are learning their craft as photographers and on occasion create images that show ingenuity and thoughtful artistic expression. The reception begins at 7 p.m. and the awards will be presented at 7:30. The closest parking is in Lots 1 or 8. Be sure to bring two $1 bills to purchase a
parking pass for the evening, just in case.
Ellen Butler has an exhibition of her artists books at the Long Beach Public Library until the end of June. At the PhotoExchange meeting, Butler reminded the group of her offer that if you contact her before hand, she will join you at the library and provide a walk-thru narrative of her artist books on exhibition.
These are amusing, interesting and provocative artist books, usually incorporating an element of photography, collage, and text on a variety of mediums and usually accompanied by a wonderful housing for the art work. They also vary in size and complexity, each creating its own poetic narrative.
best regards, Doug
I became aware of Cole Thompson’s photography quite by accident. I saw a feature about his work, “The Ghosts of Auschwitz,” in B&W Magazine quite a while ago. Subsequently, I signed up for his newsletters and so I get updates on his current projects. Reading the current newsletter prompted me to write this brief post.
Cole’s work is beautifully mysterious and moody. He works in black and white and is a master at bring out the light and shadows in a scene.
The following is taken from his website: http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/
“While living in Rochester, NY, I stumbled across an old building associated with George Eastman, which led to my reading of his biography. Before I even completed the book, I knew that I was going to be a photographer and for the next 10 years, photography was my complete existence. If I wasn’t taking pictures or in the darkroom, I would spend countless hours looking at every book and image I could find. There was nothing in my life except photography.
Even at this early age I found myself drawn to a particular style of image, one that would literally cause a physical reaction in me. They were dark images created by Adams, Weston, Bullock and others. I knew that I was destined to create such images.
I am often asked, “Why black and white?” I think it’s because I grew up in a black-and-white world. Television, movies and the news were all in black and white. My heroes were in black and white and even the nation was segregated into black and white. My images are an extension of the world in which I grew up.”
By Jim McKinniss
M+B is pleased to announce New Wilderness, a two-part exhibition of new color photographs by artist Anthony Lepore on view at both M+B and François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles.
Show dates: May 21 – June 18, 2011 with artist’s Opening Reception: Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 6 to 9 pm
New Wilderness is a provocative series of photographs that lay bare nature as an historical construct governed by human invention and intervention. The series, comprised of numerous landscapes, undermines the commonplace distinction between the real (nature) and simulation (image), alluding to the power of politics and representation in shaping our interactions with the world. Although these photographs often suggest collage or post-production alterations, Lepore eschews digital manipulation and shoots with a 4 x 5 camera in the interpretive visitor centers of designated wilderness areas.
Both exhibitions will run from May 21 through June 18, 2011, with opening receptions for the artist on Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 6 – 9 pm. As the title suggests, Lepore’s images recast the wild as it is restaged in the low-budget theater that is the visitor center. These spaces are the vestibules to wilderness—indoor recreations intended to instruct the newcomer on the open spaces they border, asking only that they walk the distance of the parking lot. By reframing these displays, which usually incorporate other photographs, these images also reflect on our predominant way of experiencing nature—through photography.
While the work nods to the idea that we are detached from the wilderness often by the very actions we take to “know it,” it is far from aloof. Lepore neither tries to simulate the meticulous fervor of the scientific naturalist, nor does he attempt to join that dense history or polemicize it. The pamphlet, the diorama, the topographical model are the iconic result of what resembles reverence. That the artist immersed himself in these environments to get long, 4 x 5 exposures denotes his involvement. He wants to go there too. An avid hiker himself, Lepore knows first hand the achy impossibility of “capturing” the wild in a photograph. It is only the body that can experience it. And this understanding on the part of the artist—that he can and must separate the ontological urge (to be in it) from the indexical urge (to know it)—that gives way to this new body of work that manages to refer to both.
Born in 1977, Anthony Lepore received his BFA from Fordham University in 2000 and his MFA from the prestigious Yale University program in 2005. His work has been exhibited nternationally, from Shanghai to New York to Basel and is held in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, Missouri) and Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut). Lepore currently lives and works in Los Angeles, and this will be his first exhibition with M+B.
Location: M+B, 612 North Almont Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90069 and François Ghebaly Gallery, 2600 S La Cienega Blvd, LA, CA 90034
Exhibition Dates: May 21 – June 18, 2011 with artist’s Opening Reception: Saturday, May 21, 2011, 6 – 9 pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, and by appointment
For more info, please contact Shannon Richardson at M+B at (310) 550 -0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jim McKinniss
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 31st, 2011 7-9 p.m.
The Fahey/Klein gallery is pleased to present a selection of photographs from contemporary French photographer, Sarah Moon, in her first Los Angeles exhibition. This exhibition features a selection of over seventy color and black & white photographs from both her personal bodies of work, as well as her seminal fashion photography. Sarah Moon’s unique photographic style and printing techniques result in a distinctive aesthetic that blurs the line between image and object, fantasy and reality.
Sarah Moon has been a photographer, filmmaker, and artist for over 35 years. As one of the first female haute couture photographers, she has created images for designers including Chanel, Cacharel, Comme des Garçons, Christian Lacroix, and Issey Miyake. Sarah Moon’s textural and moody images transcend and redefine the genre of fashion photography. Moon’s images depict a poetic and fictional aesthetic which borders on the surreal. She manipulates and flattens her photographs’ palette to result in what she refers to as ultimately “untrue color” which vaguely suggests, rather than accurately depicts, the garments she is capturing.
“In the world of Sarah Moon, life and death are woven together in the same cloth. They are without frontiers. For both, the world is a child grown old in a day. It is not blood, but dreams, that run through her veins. Everywhere beauty is the outlet of loneliness, it is the patina.” (1,2,3,4,5, Dominique Eddé )
Although she may be best known for her distinctive fashion images, her oeuvre includes a large body of photographs and films that blend genres as she depicts haunting landscapes and captivating portraits, as well as reinvents and reinterprets classic, macabre fairytales in several of her personal projects. Moon meticulously directs and stages her photographs, and then patiently waits for the unexpected to happen- attempting to capture an elusive and fleeting single moment.
“For me photography is pure fiction, even if it comes from life. I photograph people, of course, as I do nature – trees, flowers, animals – but I charge it with some thing other than reality, with feeling, with a certain feeling depending on the day. I compare myself to reportage photographers, who make some sort of statement about life. I don’t believe that I am making any defined statement. Instead, I am expressing something, an echo of the world maybe.” (“Frocks and Fantasy”, Guardian UK)
Sarah Moon was born in 1941, she currently lives and works as a filmmaker, director, writer, and photographer in Paris.
By Jim McKinniss
I am scheduled to do Photoshop presentations again this year at the 2011 San Diego Fair. I will be having drawings at all of my events for free plug-in software, see promo below. For more information about the fair and photography exhibition check out their website, www.sdfair.com. Special note: checkout my website for information and special discount codes for purchasing select plug-in software www.lavogel.com/workshops