Maybe it’s MGM’s Banana?

Everybody Has a Sticker on This Banana! Graphic by Cat Weaver :)

Following up on the Velvet Underground v The Andy Warhol Foundation story, Hollywood Reporter speculates similarly to The Art Machine that the famed fruit’s copyright may belong to the record label.

Hollywood Reporters’s Eriq Gardner, wondering why the Velvet Underground hasn’t used a more fail-proof strategy of claiming the copyright for themselves (instead of opting to claim trademark protection on an image in the public domain) says,

“According to the facts in record, MGM Records paid both the band and Warhol $3,000 to furnish the image for use on the 1967 album cover. If the record label paid the money as a work-for-hire agreement, the true “author” of the image, under the law, would be the record label. We asked Universal Music Group, the seeming successor to MGM Records, to comment, but so far, we haven’t heard anything.”

It is an interesting speculation and one we may wonder about: is MGM silently planning its own little coup? And, if so, was it inspired by the Velvet’s bold but transparent strategies, or by press speculation about the Warhol graphic being a “work for hire?”

Or, maybe MGM has secret plans prompted by questions from sites like Hollywood Reporter asking them questions about the graphic? How meta would that be?

MoMA’s Big Ticket Fail: #Kraftwerk

On February 22nd, at noon, tickets to the MoMA’s Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 went on sale. By 4:00 PM desperate aficionados were posting sweaty pleas on Craigslist offering to pay as much as $200 per.

The MoMA ticket portal on ShowClix, currently says “Sorry— Kraftwerk events have sold out! We appreciate your patience and understanding. Thank you!” But fans, drowning the Twitterspshere in bile were not feeling very patient or understanding, and now Craigslist abounds in ticket offers for as much as $2,000 per!

One seller, offering tickets to the best offer, writes, “Best offer gets it. No weirdness please, just cash.”



So what happened?

MoMA had apparently entrusted the online ticket sales to ShowClix, a small start-up ticketing company in Pittsburgh, which failed to anticipate the overwhelming demand they’d face when tickets to the MoMA’s tiny 1,000 seat atrium went on sale.

The band has not played in the U.S. for 17 years and has a rabid following. What’s more eight evening concerts meant only 8,000 tickets would be sold: so, with a virtual avalanche of buyers from around the word logging on at once, the ShowClix servers experienced what CEO Joshua Dziabiak called  “frequent timeouts.”  The tickets were sold out right away but successful buyers were unaware since very few of them were shown a final “thank you” screen.

Joshua Dziabiak, ShowClix CEO, offered an apology to those who “spent hours in front of your computer watching a spinning wheel—or watching the page go blank.”

Just for Fun: Hitler Meme

Fun Fun Friday

Olek: UNorthodox

“I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone” 27th January – 23rd March 2012

Congrats to Olek for inadvertently offending readers of Haolam Hacharedi,  an orthodox Jewish magazine which pulled issues containing a review of the artist’s latest coup off stands. Apparently when they decided to review Olek’s show at Tony’s Gallery in London, they were unprepared for the photographic contents of Olek’s texty wall weavings which contain intimate messages from the artist’s own mailbox, many of them of a sexual nature.

Isn’t that all men care about? Text, I mean.

Emergency measures were taken as head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London, Rabbi Padwa, knocked out a dictum forbidding sale of the issue.

Read on JR: Orthodox magazine in porn shock
By Nathalie Rothschild, February 16, 2012

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Art Trends:

KRAAAP

Postmodern denial of authorship
Burying big things
Text (see above)
Juicy Colors and Subjects
Critic Art
Ugly Ass Biomorphic Stuff
Arrested Developement Nyah-Nyah Art

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Solidly in the WTF Category

The Press Release says: “THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART PRESENTS THE FIRST LIVE RETROSPECTIVE OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC PIONEERS KRAFTWERK” and promises “Entire Repertoire of Eight Conceptual Albums Performed Live Over Eight Consecutive Evenings from April 10 to 17.”

The evening will be comprised of the albums performed in chronological order along with “elaborate staging” “3D images” and (shiver) “new improvisations.”

In case you’re a nostalgic baby boomer or a young technophile:
Tickets are $25.00 and will go on sale to the public on Wednesday, February 22, at 12:00 p.m., only at MoMAKraftwerkTickets.showclix.com. Space is limited. There is a two-ticket limit per person for the series, with each individual order limited to one transaction. Tickets will be distributed exclusively via will call, with photo ID required.

THURSDAY SPOTLIGHTS

Hidden Treasure at the Met

“Sources” told the New York Post that the Metropolitan museum of art is housing, somewhere in it’s dark nether chambers, some not-so-great works that they’d rather the world didn’t see. Awkward.

So how’d it get there?

Well, Carrie Rebora Barratt, the Met’s associate director for collections and administration told the Post that the museum will sometimes take lesser works from donors, in order to secure a work they want. But she intimated that the donors would be made to understand that the “unsolicited” works “may have to go into storage.”

I believe this is common practice, actually, and hope to unearth some more info on these and other hidden treasures real soon.

Read More: ‘OK, fine’ art hidden at Met: Donated shlock stashed in cellar
By GARY BUISO Last Updated: 5:24 AM, February 12, 2012

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HANKSY

Wince-worthy

There are those, who, like the ever gracious Matthew Collings,  think that street art is for punks:

“Do you like adolescent entertainment? Do you have the mentality of a teenager? Do you find Cézanne a bit overrated? If the answer is yes, yes and yes, then I don’t know what to do with you. You are a childish philistine literalist. Get down to Bonhams (one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques) next Tuesday for their first-ever dedicated sale of “street art” – this is the experience for you.”
~ Matthew Collings

And then there are those who agree.

Also there are those who don’t give a shit.

Hanksy, who’s debut show at the Krause Gallery was, according to the gallery, a great success says,

“The internet and the general public know me as Hanksy. Some call me a street artist, others call me a bad pun. I take iconic images from the UK street artist Banksy and mash it up with a reference from Academy Award winning actor, Tom Hanks.”

Read More: An Interview with Hanksy By EA Hanks | February 8, 2012

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Kickstarter “Project” is very simply a store

Joshua Harker seems like a sweet guy, so I’m glad his Kickstarter project,  Crania Anatomica Filigre: Me to You, got 77,000 dollars worth of  “backing” —but, honestly, he beat the system.

Kickstarter is supposed to fund “projects” and is therefore not to be used for “for profit” business endeavors. Yet one of it’s most successful “projects” to date is, in all honesty, just a store.

This “3rd most funded Arts project ever”  was touted as a way “to help get [the arist’s]work seen & collected by more people.”

“The idea is to offer my work for a limited amount of time directly without the extraneous exhibition costs & markups…a sort of pre-release.”

“Backers” received sculptures in return for, money.

You know: like in a store.

Sarah Sze and Jean Shin: Going Your Way

Sze's digital rendering of the proposed 96th Street station design

The MTA’s Second Avenue subway line will not begin functioning before December 2016, but already digital renderings of it’s 36th and 96th Street stations are showing up online. Arts for Transit , an MTA arm which commissions public art for the subway and commuter railways, chose artists Jean Shin and Sarah Sze to adorn the sizable hubs with their engaging site-specific works.

 

Jean Shin Celadon Remnants, 2008

Jean Shin is not new to the MTA. Her ceramic and glass mosaic, “Celadon Remnants, 2008,” currently engages commuters who use the LIRR’s Broadway Station in Flushing, Queens. Shin’s a good fit for the MTA as her intensely intimate works are all about connections and interactivity, often calling for public donations of vast amounts of ephemera, disposables, and memorabilia. These very involved works, made especially for the people and the places they will keep company with, put the specific in site-specific.

Brooklynophiles may know of Sarah Sze’s “Still Life with Landscape(Model for a Habitat)”, created for the for the Brooklyn Highline. A charming bird, butterfly and wildlife feeder/shelter, it incorporates

Sze's Stillife with Landscape; photo from Sarah Sze's site

Sze’s complex and delicate aesthetic with an ambitious and functional bit of architecture that captivated tourists and locals alike last summer. Repped in New York by keen-eyed Tanya Bonakdar Gallery  Sze is a daring choice for the pinball machine atmosphere of a busy subway station. But her works which are lacy with negative space, lend themselves to the play of our spotty attention spans, as well as our longer more contemplative stares.

Commuters will welcome both artists, I’m sure.

Keeping up with Cariou v Prince

cariou-prince-compare-600On Wednesday photo licensing services Getty Images and Corbis filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of photographer Patrick Cariou’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the artist Richard Prince, whose “Canal Zone” paintings incorporate Mr. Cariou’s photographs of Rastafarians.

Read the rest of this story “Getty, Corbis File Amicus Brief in Cariou v. Prince” by Dan Duray on GalleristNY

Banana Fanna Faux

Google Velvet

It’s complicated.

In 1966, when, then producer and manager, Andy Warhol created and signed the now famous banana graphic for the Velvet Underground’s debut album, copyright laws were different. An unregistered copyright could result in a loss of copy rights. Apparently by the time the album, The Velvet Underground & Nico appeared in 1977, Andy Warhol who never did register the logo, did not hold intellectual property rights to it.

What is more, he was paid for the design by the record label, which can mean that the banana was actually a work for hire. In that case, the copyright would have belonged to the Velvet Undergound’s label. But they never registered it either.

Although they disbanded in 1972, Lou Reed and John Cale say they have continuously used Warhol’s banana in marketing and promotion for various VU brand items and to promote their 1989 re-union tour and record, Songs for Drella, (their tribute to Warhol). This means that they may hold a common law trademark.

Indeed, Reed/Cale claim the image is indelibly attached to the band’s brand and is instantly recognized by the public to be an imprimatur of the Velvet Underground.
According to the band:

“The symbol has become so identified with The Velvet Underground … that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the banana design as the symbol of The Velvet Underground”

Their current trademark and unfair competition lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts (AWF), filed on Jan 11, 2012, accuses them of illegally leveraging copy rights to the image by licensing it to third parties (Apple, for one) “in a manner likely to cause confusion or mistake as to the association of Velvet Underground with the goods sold in commerce by such third parties.”

The AWF never registered the banana either. And since they have published the image many times without any official right to it, Reed/Cale claim that the AWF have “no copyright interest” in the banana, and that it is, in fact, in the public domain.

Suggesting that, with so many graphics to choose from, The Andy Warhol Foundation can only be using the banana to capitalize on its association with The Velvet Underground, the band is seeking an injunction against the AWF, to force them to cease licensing it to third parties. Reed/Cale are also demanding “unspecified damages” and a share of the profits made by the AWF from any past or ongoing licensing deals.

The suit also demands a declaration that the Warhol Foundation has no copyright interest in the banana.

Banana Fanna Faux answers questions first asked by TAM in When Is a Banana Not a Banana?

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