Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Graphic Content

WARNING: Graphic Content, Philly's Print Center Annual Auction will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2007 from 6:00-8:00pm with an Exclusive Champagne Preview at 5:00pm.

The Print Center, one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most prestigious nonprofit cultural institutions, has set the goal to raise $35,000 with this year’s auction to support its outstanding visual art exhibitions and educational programs. Board of Governors President, Hester Stinnett said, “This will surely be our biggest and best auction in years. It’s going to be a great party, and we want not only to attract members of the art community, but individuals interested in visiting us for the first time.” Uninhibited bidding is welcome!

The Print Center Auction includes work by a large number of renowned local and international artists, including Thomas Brummett, Alida Fish, Carl Fudge, Guerrilla Girls, David Graham, Ann Hamilton, Daniel Heyman, Henry Horenstein, Jane Irish, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Virgil Marti, D.W. Mellor, Bruce Pollock, Stuart Rome, Dieter Roth, Ron Rumford, Lawrence Schiller, Shelley Spector, Amanda Tinker and Richard Torchia.

Proceeds from The Print Center Auction fund group and solo exhibitions featuring local, regional and international artists and The Print Center’s continuing education program. Tickets are $25 by November 30, $30 on the day of the event December 1, and include delicious hors d’oeuvres and libations. The Exclusive Champagne Preview begins at 5:00pm and tickets are $100. Online bidding will begin November 19 at www.printcenter.org. For more information or tickets, please call Ashley Peel Pinkham, Assistant Director, at 215.735.6090 x2.

Californication: Thinking Out Loud

Today I heard on the radio that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were suing Showtime over the title of the Showtime TV series "Californication," which is the same title as the RHCP song.

And pretty much the same title as my 1978 pen and ink drawing "Kalifornication: The Rape of the Earth," done while I was a sophomore at the University of Washington School of Art in Seattle, Washington.

The "K" instead of "C" was a cool thing at the time - for example, some artsy people used to spell "America" as "Amerikka," etc. The drawing was done as a reaction to the huge changes taking place in downtown Seattle at the time, as the city revived slowly from enormous urban decay.

As I recall, I got a crappy grade for the drawing from Bill Ritchie, who was my drawing professor at the time. Nonetheless, I had 25 reproductions prints made from the drawing and sold them all during the four years that I sold my artwork at the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, where the Kalifornication was taking place. I still have the original.

Kalifornication, c. 1978 by F. Lennox Campello

"Kalifornication - The Rape of the Earth" c. 1978 by F. Lennox Campello
India Ink on Paper. 9.5 x 9.5 inches

I don't have any plans to sue either Showtime or the RHCP over the use of the made up word, but it got me to think about the lawsuit-happy society that we have become... and about Abu Ghraib imagery.

Musicians can "sample" music from the vast set of all music ever written to create "new" works. And many artists "appropriate" images to incorporate them into their work, although I am not sure how the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 reacts to that issue. Visual copyright appears to be a different aspect of the whole "sampling" or "appropriation" issue.

Which got me to thinking about Botero and the Abu Ghraib paintings currently on exhibit at the Katzen Arts Center in DC.

As we all know by now, Botero based the works on the infamous photographs taken by the mutants in charge at the prison.

Their photographs.

And thus my question: does the copyright to those photographs and associated imagery belong to whoever took the photos?

Do they have the right to sue the countless newspapers and news agencies worldwide who published the photographs without permission or payment?

Do they have the right to sue Botero?

Or, since the photographs were part of a heinous crime, do they forfeit the right to the copyright?

Who "owns" these images and the copyright to them?

An issue for a legal opinion; email me.

PS - If the RCHP want to send me 10% of whatever they get from Showtime or if Showtime wants to give me a free membership for life, I wouldn't turn it down and I would watch Dexter all the time!

Update: A Boterotista clarifies that:
"the paintings are all from the point of view of the suffering of the victims. He imagines them based on photos and written accounts but there is a huge difference. The photos are more like souvenirs taken by the poor dumb guards who mugged for the camera and took the wrap for the CIA and George II."
Good points!