As the year comes to a close in a frenzy of alcohol fuelled commercialism, which most of us either fortunately or unfortunately get dragged into each festive season, I would like to consider two things: artists’ copyright and the plight of the homeless.
At first you may be lost as to any connection between these two things, but the word for me that links these two incongruent aspects of life, is ‘respect’.
In the little professional work I have done with people who live on the street, my overriding impression of what they truly desire, is respect. Yes, like all of us, they need food, warmth, safety and companionship, even love and compassion if it comes their way, but it is the respect of their fellow man that is most important. And it is this, in my impression, that they lease of all get.
Well over 40 years ago, Robert Rauschenberg fought for respect, the respect that should be due to the original creators of art works. During his working career he witnessed the mass commercialization of the art product through the 60’s to the present day, where, but for a few exceptions, virtually everyone but the artist made large sums of money from the reselling of original art works. He believed that the artist/decedents should retain the copyright of the original art work and, as in music, be paid royalties each time the work was resold. This, you may argue, is only about money, but I believe for Rauschenberg it was also about respect. (This year the USA Congress considered the American Royalties Too (A.R.T.) Act, which would give artists five percent of the purchase price when their original works are resold at auction.)
So merry Christmas everyone and lets hope we ‘all’ get a big dollop of double cream respect in 2015
As the Elgin Marbles leave our shores on a ‘cultural exchange’ to Russia the hypocrisy of the art world, governments, dealers, collectors etc. etc. concerning the whole sordid issue of the ownership/appropriation of art works is with us once more.
For millennia art has been appropriated by those who conquer, raid or gain power, the rich, the famous, museums and religious institutions in all their guises across the world. And for all the cultural criticism that ‘art’ may receive these days, it plays and has played a far more important role in our world than it is currently given credit for. Peoples stole and appropriated art not only for financial gain, but as a symbol of status: either to gain the power it held or destroy the power it gave.
So to focus on one act of appropriation as more evil than another, as an example, say, the Nazi hording of art during the Third Reich often being condemned far more than the works ‘acquired’ by the British nation during imperial rule, seems to me a little hypocritical. Do we see Heldebrand Guritt and his son Cornelius as custodians of artwork that may well have been destroyed during a time of conflict, or down right racist thieves; could the same be said of the British Museum via the British Government?
I have no answer to this, but let’s hope the Russians enjoy these magnificent sculptures and that the British Museum does the decent thing by eventually returning them to Greece. However, I think pigs may fly….
Next time… artist copyright.
I’m not sure what is more stressful; moving house or trying to get a gallery or agent to show a morsel of interest in ones work. I have just spent the last two weeks unpacking boxes and reassessing things I had kept for years, but had never taken out of storage. I did try to keep to the two year rule, i.e. if you haven’t got it out of the packing box in two years it is unlikely you’ll ever need it, but some things had to just had stay.
It is strange in the end what you decide to keep and what you discard. My mothers 78 record player was unpacked and now sits proudly open and in anticipation of being wound up and let loose with its steel needle on the complete soundtrack to Snow White. Whilst my set of 20th century cameras was brashly re-boxed and taken to the charity shop with all the other discarded flotsam and jetsam.
However, this years artistic output has not been discarded, but repackaged ready for a new assault on unsuspecting galleries in the new year. BOUND and BROKEN will find a place to be shown; they deserve it even if I do not. Catch all the images on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Carr-Armchairanarchists/199929023470475
PS. For the record, moving house is far more stressful.!!!!