ORPHAN DOGS OF THE ART KIND
So before I went to New Hampshire, I challenged myself to make a super quick zine. It started with a beautiful phrase I came up with at work: Dogs in the Public Domain. I googled dogs in the public domain and found some beauties. I also cut some shapes out of paper, they are in crystal shapes. All together, it is called DOGS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND ALSO SOME CRYSTALS.
If you would like the zine, it is $2. I think I did a great job on it.
I would like to say that the public domain is a wonderful thing, because copyright is a tricky thing. I think it is important, but at its worst it mostly just provides an excuse for the litigious to cause suffering to the under-cautious. It makes people do foolish things, like sue moderately well-intentioned artists who in turn lie about their source material. There is a balance that is impossible to strike between protection and use, especially in the case of orphan works (hostage works), and I am therefore ambivalent about it. Reform is necessary, especially with the proliferation of images and other material over the internet.
While I was making DOGS, I realized something about appropriation art. For nearly 10 years, I have said that I hate Sherrie Levine and all she stands for. As I googled these dogs and then purposefully removed (most) traces of provenance, I realized that I AM SHERRIE LEVINE. Except with dogs instead of Walker Evans. I (like to) think we both were, in our own ways, writing love letters to the Public Domain. For a long time I thought Levine’s work degraded Evans’. First of all, that’s dumb. Second of all, it wasn’t so much that she was demonstrating anything about the quality or content of his images, or her awareness of them. It was that she could do what she did– –without recrimination, because Evans’ FSA photos are in the public domain, as government works, and you can write to the Library of Congress and get a print, and do whatever you want with it. They’re not prints that Evans would have approved, but they’re an official iteration of his work.
As I now am ok with Sherrie Levine, I am really markedly annoyed by this fucking article on Hyperallergic that’s been floating around, My Chuck Close Problem, by artist Scott Blake. I know I’m not the only one. And I wrote about it yesterday but today I’m redacting what I wrote because I just want this story to go away! Read Chuck Close’s “response,” which I find perfectly reasonable, here. It all brings up some issues about copyright and fair use, but Blake is handling it in a very strange way. I wonder what’s really going on there.
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Tags: copyright, copyright blog 2k12, zine