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