"Appropriation Art, Subjectivism, Crisis: the Battle for Fair Uses"
from Cynthia Chris and David Gerstner, ed., Media Authorship, (New York and London: Routledge, 2012), 56-71.
Book description on Routledge web site
"United States District Court Judge Deborah Batts's March 2011 ruling that artist Richard Prince had infringed photographer Patrick Cariou's copyrights threw the art world into a frenzy. Rigorous debate over Prince's appropriation of Cariou's images for a series of paintings titled Canal Zone had been mounting since Cariou filed his claim at the end of 2008, but it was Judge Batts's decision that really prompted the punditry. Critics, curators, gallerists, artists and other commentators, writing in print publications, press reports and the blogosphere all—for the most part—decried the verdict, claiming that it would have a "chilling effect" on appropriation-based practices, which would likewise stifle creativity and free expression in the long-term. And with serious concern over Cariou's suit also naming Prince's exhibition organizer, Gagosian Gallery, as an accomplice, no fewer than ten distinguished museums and arts foundations, as well as--indeed--Google, filed briefs in support of Prince's appeal, which is, as of this writing, pending..."
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"The Yes Men: Parody in Aesthetics and Protest"
from MATERIAL Issue 3 (Los Angeles: Material Press, 2012), 21-34.
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"Appropriation as a critical and politically resonant practice has enjoyed something of a revival over the last decade. Much of this recent work has been categorized as "tactical media," a movement of mostly electronic art and activism that developed out
of anti-globalization sentiment in the mid-1990s. The Yes Men have been regarded as among the most prolific of these media tacticians. I will be discussing their recent legal battle with the United States Chamber of Commerce, which erupted in 2009 when the Yes Men appropriated the Chamber's intellectual property. My analysis will operate from theoretical articulations spanning different disciplines: capitalist critique via scholars Luc Boltanksi and Eve Chiapello; the notion of "tactic" as espoused
by Michel de Certeau' the legal doctrine of fair use' and scholar Linda Hutcheon's theory of postmodern parody. Let me begin here by quoting artist and scholar Lucy Soutter. Recently she writes..."
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"The Pictures Generation, the Copyright Act of 1976, and the Reassertion of Authorship in Postmodernity"
from Art & Education (New York, June 2012).
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"In the three decades since artists Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince first exhibited their provocatively infringing appropriated photographs, inexpensive reproduction technologies and distribution systems have further thrown established conventions of authorial control into disarray, and at a seemingly exponential rate. Reactionary focus, then, to both the legal regulation of image production and the prosecution of violators has been rigorous. "Intellectual property" now figures significantly as a cross-over category between legal and cultural discourse. Within the domain of art, appropriation since the Pictures generation might have been determined by artists to be a very risky endeavor. But while there has been the occasional lawsuit, there is nonetheless no doubt that the practice of appropriation in contemporary art is alive and well. There is a lot of copying going on, with, as scholar Martha Buskirk describes, 'The types of copies that appear in contemporary art...as varied as the materials artists have employed...'"
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"Fared Use: A Political Economy of the Digitally Empowered Subject"
from The Sound of Downloading Makes Me Want to Upload (Paris: Institute of Social Hypocrisy, 2010), 285-295.
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"Notwithstanding the "digital divide" barrier to entry into the networked society, well along now in its "2.0" phase, the author, it seems, has become the producer. Today's digital subject has now folded "reading" (downloading) and "writing" (producing/uploading) into one another, altering our preconceptions of the creative act, which has in turn altered the very definition of what it means to be a creator. And while Roland Barthes' proclamation of the "death of the author" four decades ago may be somewhat misguided, as I intend to argue, it cannot be denied that there has been, on an unprecedented scale, a "birth of the reader," which has consequently shifted the sites of cultural agency in contemporary society..."