An exhibition that examines and beautifully illustrates
U.S. Fair Use laws as they pertain to artists.
May 26, 2012 - July 22, 2012
Opening Reception: May 26, 5:00-7:00pm
I've long believed that collage is one of the most important concepts in art in the last hundred years.
Maybe the notion above is an original thought of mine, but maybe I read it somewhere; I can't really be sure . . . does it really matter?
Many think of collage as an elementary school pursuit perpetrated by pre-pubescent punks armed with safety scissors and Elmer's® Glue, but it's much, much, much bigger than that. It's the 2 Live Crew taking a piece of Roy Orbison's classic "Pretty Woman" and spinning it into their own song or the Beastie Boys sampling out the wazoo on the game-changing "Paul's Boutique," it's William Burroughs literally cutting sentences out of other people's books and arranging them to create his own piece of literature, it's Georges Braque incorporating glued-on pieces of wallpaper to the surface of his drawings. It's even Marcel Duchamp taking a commercially-produced object and simply attaching a different thought to it. All of these are forms of collage, and since all of them borrow from existing pieces of art or commerce, all of them are subject to U.S. copyright law under the doctrine of Fair Use.
Fair Use or a big FU?
Fair Use is an important and codified part of U.S. Copyright law that allows certain uses of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holder.
If you're an artist engaged in any kind of collage, you will most likely, at some point or another, create something that uses parts of something else and when you do, you'll be subject to these laws. That which the arts community calls "appropriation," the legal community calls either "infringing" or "transformative" and others might just call "theft."
So. Thieving or borrowing? Is it a great compliment of flattering usage or is it a major F.U. to the originating artist? Come decide for yourself at the WFG gallery in Woodstock starting this Memorial Day Weekend.