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Critic Declares Warhol Not Lame

from The New York Times

Warhol a Lame Copier? The Judges Who Said So Are Sadly Mistaken.

An appeals court ruled that Andy Warhol violated a photographer’s copyright by appropriating her image for a silk-screen he did in 1984. Our critic disagrees.

By Blake Gopnik

Andy Warhol’s ”Prince,” which became the subject of a court case over copyright issues.
Andy Warhol’s ”Prince,” which became the subject of a court case over copyright issues. Credit…The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A few years back, a bevy of art critics declared that Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 sculpture called “Fountain” — a store-bought urinal he had presented, unchanged, as art — was the most influential work of the 20th century. Andy Warhol’s 1964 Brillo Boxes — copies of scouring-pad cartons presented as art — could easily have come a close second. The philosopher Arthur Danto built an illustrious career, and a whole school of thought, around the importance of those boxes to understanding the very nature of artworks.

Last month, three federal appellate judges in Manhattan decided they knew more about art than any old critic or philosopher: Whether they quite meant to or not, their ruling had the effect of declaring that the landmark inventions of Duchamp and Warhol — the “appropriation” they practiced, to use the term of art — were not worthy of the legal protection that other creativity is given under copyright law.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on April 10, 2021 by Editor

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