Tuesday, November 8, 2011

copy that?

What is excellence in the arts?  A provocative question, and one that Franklin Einspruch addressed in a keynote speech he delivered October 21 at Augusta State University.  Not only is his essay, entitled "High and Low: What is Excellence in the Arts?", an interesting read (it was included in the College Art Association's online newsletter last week), it contains a passage that speaks to previous blog posts regarding copying another artist's work:

"And because excellence is a dynamic, it’s impossible to know how many traits or which traits are the right ones to copy or not copy. The problem is nearly paradoxical. The only way to relive the experience that good art gives you is by making things that are different from that art, and it’s usually not obvious as to how the new art should be different. At this point, a lot of artists chicken out.

... Figuring out how to make something good and different, when it’s not obvious how to do so, requires courage."

Forger Wolfgang Beltracchi, left, in court, and the alleged forged paintings by Derain (centre) and Leger (right).  Photo courtesy of The Art News Paper Issue 229, November 2011
Published online: 03 November 2011 
Ah, copying, a topic which brings me to point out another intriguing article I came across in The Art News Paper regarding art forgeries. Apparently, the German media is treating a family of forgers with kid gloves, including likening their actions to that of Robin Hood, where the ultra rich are taken to give advantage to the poor.

Finally, in addition to wanting GC::VA blog readers to muse as I did about these two seemingly unrelated stories, I would like to guide you back to the same issue of CAA News.  It has a link to an article in the Stranger that asks whether U.S. visual artists should be entitled to royalties.  (The responses are quite thought provoking.)  

So, in trying to put all of my musings about these articles into some sort of summary, I came up with this:  some artists appropriate excellence and some artists (?) fake it, and other artists (in California) get paid when their originals are re-used.  Do you copy?

1 comment:

GC::VA said...

There definitely were some super interesting comments on that article in the stranger. I laughed at the guy that compared foreign cars and video games to fine art.
I think the idea of visual art royalties is super interesting. I also think it is a funny contradiction of mentality and logic to excluded prints and editioned photographs from the law when music is sold only in unlimited quantity of reproduction and the recording artist still get royalties. Me personally, I would not push for artist royalties in terms of resale but only in the area of use or reproduction. I couldn't image the headache of trying to keep up with each sold work and who bought it sold it and to what end would you chase it.