Rhea Myers

Art And Commerce, But Not Vice Versa

A little while back, Lessig (rightly) praised The Andy Warhol Foundation for their permissive stance on artists re-appropriating Warhol’s media appropriations:

Wired: When Theft Serves Art

But he didn’t pick up on the fact that they don’t let anyone else use Warhol’s work without the usual licensing fees. Even a book like “Dear Images”, which is an academic work and with its frequent mention of Warhol and appropriation art can only add to the value of Warhol’s ouvre, had to licence its cover image through DACS.

Why have the Foundation taken this position? Warhol appropriated from commerce. Why shouldn’t commerce appropriate from Warhol? What higher moral status are we claiming for art, even anti-art, that this is a one-way door here?

An example of a living appropriation artist going all Warhol Foundation on an alleged commercial appropriator is Jack Pierson:

NEWSgrist - where spin is art: Appropriation, Advertising and Misplaced Blog Outrage

Do read the comments below the Tom Moody weblog entry that Joy links to. Artists seem to view this sort of thing differently to lawyers and legal foundations. :-)