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Re: Warhol Against the Supreme Court and Beyond - You Lose Chump - PAY UP!

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Alvin Bragg

May 21, 2023, 4:30:03 PM5/21/23
On 07 Dec 2021, "13% = 6x the crimes!" <> posted
some news:soonp6$kus$

> Mighty Wannabe wrote
>> Picking Prince was the first mistake. That gay fool was always a
>> piece of shit loser.

The original photograph of Prince, taken by Lynn Goldsmith in 1981, is a
standard magazine-profile shot. In black-and-white, the musician returns
the camera’s open gaze. Andy Warhol’s version, made in 1984, is a wholly
new and original thing. First, Warhol changed mediums, employing silk
screen. Second, he added colors — colors that are singular in art history.
He also made several duplications of Goldsmith’s image in what would
become known as his “Prince Series.” Each of Warhol’s Princes is quite
different from the others, as if a very slow cinematic change were taking
place, as well as from the source that inspired them.

The Supreme Court disagrees. In a lopsided 7-2 decision, the Court ruled
this week that Warhol’s Prince is not transformative enough to count as
“fair use” of Goldsmith’s Prince. The ruling inspired a passionate dissent
from Justice Elena Kagan, who warned that the Court’s narrowing of “fair
use” laws “will stifle creativity of every sort. It will impede new art
and music and literature. It will thwart the expression of new ideas and
the attainment of new knowledge. It will make our world poorer.” Justice
Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority, dryly noted that all the Court
is asking the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to do is pay
Goldsmith “a fraction” of the proceeds from the licensing of the “Prince
Series”; it isn’t banning such appropriations outright. Still, Kagan had a
point when she declared, “It is not just that the majority does not
realize how much Warhol added; it is that the majority does not care.”

Even a cursory glance at the “Prince Series” is enough to establish that
Warhol transformed Goldsmith’s work. Just look at those highly polarized,
Day-Glo colors. Before Warhol, no one had thought to combine them this
way. Now, these color combinations are in the ads we watch and the designs
we purchase. This was a revolutionary formal leap. Even the cropping
radically alters the image, with Prince’s disembodied head floating
against a bright backdrop as if he were a cutout. The original image
exists in a totally different universe, in humdrum reality.

For Warhol, Goldsmith’s photograph was material as malleable as clay,
which itself is a comment on the images that form the visual landscape of
our lives. Anyone who has taken “Art History 101,” as Kagan notes, knows
this. And everyone does it. The Court seems oblivious to one of the great
imaginative engines of art of the past 150 years, planting itself, as
Kagan writes, “in the ‘I could paint that’ school of art criticism.” Think
of Elaine Sturtevant and Robert Rauschenberg. Think of all those artists
who use photographs as inspiration or jumping-off points, combining them,
drawing or painting on them, sculpting them. Jeff Koons turned a
photographic image into a gaudily painted wooden string of puppies.

But he too had to share the profits for using the original found
photograph. And here’s the interesting wrinkle about the Court’s decision:
The art world may be on its side.

Remember Richard Prince’s series “New Portraits,” created in 2014? Each
painting is an inkjet image of someone else’s Instagram page printed on
canvases measuring about six feet by four feet. The process involved his
adding a comment or two on the page, then taking a screengrab with his
iPhone and emailing the file to an assistant. The file was then cropped,
printed, and stretched, and presto: It’s art. Richard Prince’s art.

It drove people around the bend with anger. The fact that Prince was an
older man using images of younger, often scantily clad women contributed
to the outrage. But the group mind came down hard on Prince for
appropriating other people’s images without permission. In an Artnet
article titled “Richard Prince Sucks,” Paddy Johnson wrote that Prince’s
art was “thin offerings for anyone who is in possession of a brain” and
that “copy-paste culture is so ubiquitous now that appropriation remains
relevant only to those who have piles of money.” My late compadre Peter
Schjeldahl wrote that it made him “wish to be dead,” which was “the surest
defense against assaults of postmodern attitude.” Anti-appropriation is a
common theme these days. Artists, photographers, and influencers are now
claiming strident ownership of their images, even when those images are
embedded voluntarily into social networks.

The renewed obsession with copyright and proprietary notions about art
comes at a time of deep artistic insecurity. Copyright is all but dead in
practice, with AI creating images daily based on tens of millions of
“remembered” images. The idea of originality is changing, expanding, and
there’s no way to put all these genies back into the bottle. In the face
of this existential challenge from computers, the creative industries
could allow human interpretation and adaptation to flourish instead of
fearfully putting rings around what they’ve already made. Goldsmith told
Hyperallergic, “This is a great day for photographers and others who make
their living from licensing their art.” She added, “I hope this SCOTUS
ruling is a lesson.” I’m afraid it is, just not the one Goldsmith thinks.


Governor Swill

May 22, 2023, 12:02:34 AM5/22/23
Warhol should have taken his own photo. Modifying someone else's work in this way is not
fair use. Had it been a public domain photo or an extraordinarily famous image that had
become a cultural icon (like Monroe standing on the subway grate), he might have got away
with it.

Democrats make me feel ashamed of being American.
Republicans make me feel ashamed of being human.

Heroyam slava! Glory to the Heroes!

Sláva Ukrajíni! Glory to Ukraine! Putin is a condom!
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