untangling the awkward relationship between art and money

Prince and Gagosian up the creek without a paddle, part 2

A small addenda to yesterday’s post about the finding against Richard Prince and Gagosian Gallery. Patrick Cariou, who successfully challenged Prince for infringing his rights as an artist, has given an interview to Andrew Goldstein of ArtInfo about the case, available here.

It’s an interesting view from the other side of the fence… of the law itself, Cariou observes: “In my opinion copyright law is badly done, because there is one word in that law that makes everyone really confused, and that word is “transformative.” It took me over a year to understand what that meant, it was explained to me and I didn’t get it, and I don’t think I’m but I didn’t get it. . It has to be transformed for a purpose, that’s what it is, and that’s what the judge is saying, and it’s going to bring some sanity into the appropriation world. You can comment on the original work, or you don’t copy it, or you get a license — it’s a really simple thing.”

Not surprisingly, there’s no love lost between the parties in the case. Cariou says: “I don’t think artists should be offered a different standard from anyone else. When you’re 12 years old your parents tell you “Don’t steal the candy,” and we all try to apply that rule, and if you don’t people sometimes end up in jail….To me Richard Prince is more of an art director than an artist. I think he’s a good art director, and a great thief…. I was in the room when Prince and Gagosian were deposed and they have an overwhelming sense of power. They think that they’re untouchable. Prince got away with it for 20 years, and when he got into the courtroom he was like, “What am I doing here?” What [using my work] was, at the end of the day, was a quick fix where Gagosian could make a few million and then move on to something else.”

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