In The News

Fair use or copyright infringement?

Andy Warhol's silkscreen prints from his Prince series, circa 1984, are based on a photograph by Lynn Goldsmith.
Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints from his “Prince” series are based on a photograph by Lynn Goldsmith.

PURPLE FAME
In 2019, a federal judge ruled in favor of Andy Warhol and the foundation established after his death regarding the “Prince Series” of screenprints he made for Vanity Fair in 1984.

For $400, Vanity Fair licensed one of photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s black-and-white studio portraits of Prince from December 1981 and commissioned Warhol to create an illustration of Prince for an article published in November of 1984. He made 16 pieces in total. Goldsmith objected and sued.

However, Warhol transcended the photographer’s copyright by transforming a picture of a vulnerable and uncomfortable Prince into an artwork that made the singer an “iconic, larger-than-life figure,” the judge decided. The ruling was appealed by Goldsmith, “a pioneering photographer known for unique portraits of famous musicians,” and the case landed at the Supreme Court, where arguments have been heard. The court’s decision will likely be made public next year, in June of 2023.

Such cases fascinate me. Remember when artist Shepard Fairey was sued by the Associated Press for using a photograph of Barack Obama as the basis for his famous HOPE poster? That case was, thankfully, settled out of court. Who wants to be in protracted court proceedings for years and years? We have to wait and see what the court decides in the Goldsmith versus Warhol case.

In The News

‘Battle to save quirky house that nobody knew about until owner’s death’

“𝖨 𝖳𝖧𝖨𝖭𝖪 𝖳𝖧𝖠𝖳’𝖲 𝖮𝖭𝖤 𝖮𝖥 𝖳𝖧𝖤 𝖳𝖧𝖨𝖭𝖦𝖲 𝖳𝖧𝖠𝖳 𝖠𝖳𝖳𝖱𝖠𝖢𝖳𝖲 𝖬𝖤
to outsider art: you feel like you’re seeing art in a purer, more primal form. An environment takes it to a different level. There’s a complete, one hundred percent commitment to whatever vision they’ve got because they’re sleeping it. They’re eating in it. And that’s quite a thing to behold. With environments like these, you get a complete work of art that somebody is living in and that they’ve established the rules. It’s like a personal universe.”

In The News

Nuts!

This made me laugh, so I just had to share it. A man in Fargo, North Dakota recently discovered that a squirrel had been stashing away walnuts for the winter — around his truck’s engine. And not just a few, but 180 pounds! That is a lot of walnuts. I have been depressed lately, so anything that makes me laugh is good.

In The News · Music

The world’s first public orchestra

“Backed by a $700,000 Pew grant, the Philadelphia Public Orchestra ambitiously seeks to redefine just what an orchestra is — and what it plays.”

Pricey tickets. WASPy galas. The Philadelphia Public Orchestra is set to overturn all of those notions.

The Philadelphia Public Orchestra’s manifesto makes it quite clear that the musicians themselves will eventually and collectively steer the ship: “After the orchestra has been established for at least one season, the orchestra members ideally take control of all decision-making.”

“The orchestra should take over and let the musicians, the performers, think of who they might like to ask for a commission, what themes are interesting to them. We’re coming together to create a kind of work of art, and there is a radical power in that. Interesting things can happen.”

In The News

Art and September 11th

Artists, critics, and architects are discussing how culture responded and continues to respond to 9/11.

ARTnews has a story of how an immigrant from Korea uses intricate abstract works as a response. There is a write-up in the Village Voice on how the Tribute in Light memorial came to be. The architect of the transportation hub at Ground Zero tells Architectural Digest about how he conceived the design and how the city has changed. A piece in The New York Times looks at how art and artists struggle to contend with the horrors of that day. And, finally, a writer with the Art Newspaper spoke with artists about their memories of the event and how they responded.

“I wouldn’t say that the attacks had a big effect on my thinking so much as the amorphous and ambiguous war on terror and the authorization of military force giving the president unlimited power to wage war.”