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Post #480 • February 24, 2005, 7:08 AM • 25 Comments

Public art perpetrators getting too big for their britches - what would Gonzo do?

Bitch and parody. (Latter via Tyler.)

Copyrights ought not extend beyond the life of the creator and any work that relies on the public's generosity - such as providing space for it to exist in - ought to have low levels of protection regarding the manufacture of derivative works and reproductions.




February 24, 2005, 6:46 PM

mmm. Toast-Chee crackers.

Regarding copyrights - why shoud they end when your life ends?
Consider an untimely demise & that a spouse, children and/or
immediate heirs' livelihood might DEPEND on
maintaining the rights to (your) works...

I think Sonny Bono pushed through legislation regarding this
subject before his death & I'm sure his family is VERY grateful.

And Franklin - also consider this:
FIU,for example, is a public Institution. Can I take a photo
of a painting in a show there & make prints &
sell them since it was " the public's generosity" that
provided "space for it to exist in"?? (Maybe the keyword
you used was "relies" )



February 24, 2005, 7:52 PM

I'm tempted to say something, but I don't live in NYC, and I just can't get excited about this stuff. It strikes me as a kind of landscaping project--in other words, some sort of designer job. Whoever wants to call it art and take it seriously is free to do so, but leave me out of it.



February 24, 2005, 8:11 PM

Landscaping. That's funny, Jack.



February 24, 2005, 8:16 PM

FRC - spouses and children I could be talked into, but anything more is an insult to the commons. Right now you have to pay some corporation a buttload of money if you want to shoot a movie that has people singing "Happy Birthday" in it. And that "They also claim that all of Central Park is now 'private property'" at the Iconoduel link above is crap.



February 24, 2005, 8:20 PM

I was very sad to hear about this. It is most unfortunate that we lose so many talented people under such f---ed up circumstances. It is disappointing when it happens, one always thinks what a waste.why would he/she do it? I love characters like him, he was a little cuckoo, a little high, and so influential, its a real shame :(
Thompsons influence and contribution will not be forgotten.

As for copyrights, I think it is important for the family to be able to maintain rights to a certain extent, but you dont want to risk it and end up with another Yoko Ono situation, it would suck if they held back and we lost all access b/c a pissed off, sad, private family member got a hold of ALL rights. Artists dont spend their whole life working, to then die and be erased or forgotten b/c their loved ones might be too selfish to share.



February 24, 2005, 8:48 PM

Franklin - don't confuse legal posturing with the law.
Central Park is not private property, but it is possible
that New York City has agreed to something that
we don't know/understand the details...

I agree that the copyrighting of architecture
is problematic. So I really love your house...
in particular now that you put all that work
into it...& now I'm going to take pictures of it
and sell them - wouldn't you feel a little

Laws change all the time - but it is my
understanding that a photo or image
taken FROM public property (in plain view
of the public) has certain 'loopholes(?)' that
can take precedence over there
an attorney in the house?



February 24, 2005, 9:33 PM

I really shouldn't bother with this, but it's a slow blog day. Taken verbatim from one of the links at Iconoduel :

"We're being nice and allowing you to take pictures," Jeanne-Claude told Newsday's Audrey Tiernan.

Uh, gee, thanks SO much, Carrot Top. Now take down all the damn curtains, pack up the frigging orange arches, and get the hell out of my face.'s enough to make me appreciate Andy Warhol. At least he didn't take himself so seriously (or didn't appear to).



February 24, 2005, 10:22 PM

Where are Franklin's Gaijin calligraphy pieces which copyrights may or may not have protection? It will be entertaining (for me, at least) to see them. I am ready to write a review for Gaijin Caliigraphy. As a matter of fact, I am curious how they look like and how other Western bloggers think of them especially when they cannot read the language and do not know how their shapes are supposed to look like.



February 24, 2005, 10:31 PM

Actually I like the works of extreme obsession, such as the Gates, no matter how silly it is. I admire the nerve of shamelessness and non-stopping drive toward the achievement. When something is stupid I don’t like it, but when something is beyond stupidity, I really admire it. The stupidity has to be very intense for me to like it, though.



February 24, 2005, 10:53 PM

I think they are jealous and against "The Crackers"



February 24, 2005, 11:31 PM

Good criteria, Momoko.

"Intense stupidity"

Gives us a lot to like.



February 25, 2005, 1:48 AM

Christo and the wife aren't intensely stupid--they're intensely full of themselves. However, a case could be made that people willing to put up with this kind of high-handed BS in exchange for flapping orange (excuse me, saffron) curtains ARE stupid, or at least asking for abuse. Yes, I know, the couple financed the project themselves. So? Did anybody make them? Does anybody think they're do this sort of thing out of altruism? Do I (even if I lived in NYC) have any obligation to them? NO.

This reminds me of a pet peeve of mine. In some places, like Publix, there are parking spaces marked with green baby stroller signs, reserved presumably for people with an infant in tow. I absolutely reject this, and I have very unkind thoughts for the jackass politician(s) who instituted it without ever asking my opinion as a member of the public who has to put up with the consequences. A handicap is a misfortune; a kid is a choice, and if you choose to have one, DEAL WITH IT. I don't owe you special parking, anymore than you owe me a reserved space when I have a lousy day at work, my dog dies or I break up with someone.

Sorry. I've needed to vent on that for a long time. Carry on.



February 25, 2005, 2:08 AM

Gaijin calligraphy? Willie Mays? Baby strollers?

Is it just me, or is totally nuckin' futs today?



February 25, 2005, 2:38 AM

... as opposed to ... ?



February 25, 2005, 2:43 AM

That's right, hovig.

Futs is our life



February 25, 2005, 2:56 AM

Hovig - touché.

FRC - Copyrighting architecture is one thing - copyrighting a public park is another. I would tend not to care what the city of NY or Chicago agreed to - it's outside, for crying out loud. And I believe copyrighted material ought to be returned to the commons faster than, say, Disney would allow. (Disney has made a fortune deriving works from the public domain and then laying claim to copyright on it.) And the idea that somebody owns "Happy Birthday" just galls the hell out of me.



February 25, 2005, 4:18 AM

But Franklin, what if your father or mother WROTE "Happy Birthday"...?

Franklin as I said, I think you may just be taking legal posturing too seriously. It is highly unlikely that Central Park was temporarily designated 'private property' - the only effective way to 'copyright' the space - - actually from NEWSDAY via

"Speaking through a written statement read by a city Parks Department spokesman, Christo and Jeanne-Claude said they were "overwhelmed" by the media attention the self-financed, $21-million exhibit had generated.

"Even though we acknowledge that Central Park is public space, we hope that the press will respect our desire to enjoy "The Gates," which we have waited 26 years to see, as much as possible for the few remaining days," the statement read."

So Cental Park is not now 'private property' & it isn't copyrighted.

The issue, however - today's topic - COPYRIGHTS - is of GREAT importance to you and your audience. It is much bigger than Gates or Toastchee...and professional artists must be aware of the law and it ramifications and protections.

Here are some interesting links:

We all need to stop thinking like starving artists & learn the rules of the game...
and change them if necessary (THANKS SONNY!)



February 25, 2005, 7:31 AM

So the project cost the lovely duo $21M, did it? I had problems with the Norton charging me $17 to see a show that included El Greco and Velasquez. Ask me if I'd pay $21 for flapping orange (sorry, saffron)curtains. Go ahead, I feel like laughing in somebody's face--preferably Christo's--oh, sorry, how could I leave out Jeanne-Claude? She's even funnier, what with the bad saffron dye job--a bit obvious, no?

It's late. I have PNS (paroxysmal nocturnal snarkiness). It's incurable.



February 25, 2005, 8:26 AM

This is a quate from

"The New York Post recently reported that Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s lawyer said that while they feel they are within their rights to prohibit people from selling unauthorized images of “The Gates,” they won’t take legal action against anyone who does."

It makes sense. It is impossible to take legal action against people who do that because so many people have already took photos, and photos are all spread all over the globe. I interpreted it as selling or the use of the Gates images is okay but not legal.

I feel funny about this thing because if this is the case, then people who designed the Empire State Building should have the right to all the photos and other forms of images, that does not add up. I am sure they had a good reason for the things they are saying, and it could well be the idea of their lawyer. But since they state that they would not take any legal action against anyone, I feel that they had a need to express ethical correctness in terms of where the credit for creating something should go to.

They are not normal people, and we will never understand what they do. I consider the Gates as some kind of natural phenomenon like a lunar eclipse or a comet passing by. Moon and comets are not copyrighted. Statue of Liberty and Buddha's statues are not copyrighted...... I am getting confused. I think I am too tired to think.



February 25, 2005, 4:48 PM


I couldnt agree with you more about the special Baby Owner parking. Im so glad Im not alone, people usually think its mean of me to think this. I seriously think that the second most people have a child they lose all sense of reasoning, and fall under a special category of idiocy. For some reason they feel they deserve special treatment because theyve made this choice (notice I say most, I am not meaning to offend all parents). I am so sick of soccer moms with a hundred kids thinking you need to cater to them and their children. I am especially bothered when it happens in places that are not really appropriate for children.



February 25, 2005, 6:21 PM

To continue with the off-topic baby stroller parking decal/space, I first would like to say that though we are eligible to get one, we have not. We don't have a need, but mostly that is because we do not use a stroller the size of a Humvee, as most parents seem to (we in fact have rarely used a stroller at all). For parents of twins, or during inclement weather, I think the space would be quite helpful, and I wouldn't begruge the users under those conditions.

Typically, though, parents in enormous vehicles which require them to step up to remove thier baby and stroller seem to be the users of these spaces. It would be easier to carry the kid and/or use a collapsible umbrella-style stroller. And it would help to have a car low to the ground.

I begrudge the people who park in handicap spaces who are not handicapped. I would ticket them if I could. People who park any which way, in fact, just to make it more convenient for them, those folks own a high portion of my scorn.

I begrudge laziness. People who wait for a spot near the door even though there are open spots far from the door, they kill me.

I begrudge excess. Sport Utility vehicles for non-sporty, non-utile types. Strollers the size of riding lawnmowers. Mega-packs of comestibles. New homes which occupy nearly the entire footprint of the property, presumably in order to house the mega-packs, mega-strollers and mega- vehicles.

Jack, the baby-stroller parking spot is but the tip of the iceberg . . .

So, did anyone go to that brown bag lunch yesterday? To any of the openings last night? To the "Let them eat paint" lecture yesterday evening? To the first night of the SubTropics music festival? I couldn't! Fill me in if you did . . .



February 25, 2005, 6:45 PM

I found a lovely and stirring personal observation of The Gates at Greg Sandow's blog on I linked to his main page because there are four back-to-back posts that I think are worth a visit: "Gates," a counterbalance to Hilton Kramer's complaint above; "On judging art," an interesting reflection on art criticism in general; "Mona Lisa," in which he says the pattern of flashbulbs reflecting in the bulletproof glass may have been more artistic than the work itself; and "Also at the Louvre," which combines fine art with fine music (which is his blog's usual subject).



February 25, 2005, 7:17 PM

Kathleen, of course people who who use handicapped parking spaces illegitimately are scum and deserve whatever fine they get. And no doubt, as you note, there are are all sorts of objectionable practices and behavior going on. But to return to the baby stroller spaces, I remain adamantly opposed to them, twins or not, rain or not. Like I said, you want kids, you deal with the consequences. I do NOT owe you my parking space for that, especially when I didn't even get to vote on the matter. Every time I go somewhere and see those spaces, I want to wring the neck of whoever was responsible for passing the measure.



February 25, 2005, 10:26 PM

Hovig, I'm sure Sandow genuinely enjoyed The Gates and found the whole thing valid, but that does not invalidate the opposite viewpoint or experience, as he seems to imply. It all depends on how or from where one approaches the matter. I'm sure I could also have enjoyed the project, at a certain level, in the right context, and if it was presented to me in a certain way. However, the prima donna airs, how-dare-you-not-be-more-grateful-and-respectful Attitude, and general hype and bombast don't wash with me; they piss me off. Christo and J-C didn't do this for my benefit, nor did I ask them to; they did it primarily for theirs. That's fine, but don't hassle me with BS about copyrights and so forth, like you're the Second Coming. Like I said, to me it's creative but glorified landscaping. Don't try my patience.


Chad Harris

February 26, 2005, 1:07 AM

WOW. I agree with Jack for the first time ever! Not about the stroller parking space, that's a stupid thing to get angry about, but about Christo. Glorifed landspacing! Haha! Speaking of second comming, why is this mans name Christ with an "o" at the end?? Is this common?

This may be too late: Mokomo, this is the best quote ever: When something is stupid I don’t like it, but when something is beyond stupidity, I really admire it. The stupidity has to be very intense for me to like it, though.




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