I recently read a post by another art teacher where two of her students made these above works and they looked similar enough that she knew they were based on an artist's work but couldn't find an the artist through google. She was able to find out that the original artwork is by Harumi Hironaka.
Question 1: Do you think that Student 1 and/or Student 2 work is to close to the artist original work? Why or Why not?
Question 2: Think of an example of something you consider to be a “rip-off” and something you think is an innovative repurposing of another’s work. Give examples. What makes them different? Could your conclusions be shaped by your own interests?
Answer the two questions above and respond to the questions in case study 1 and 2. Also, Please read the two linked articles.
Article to read: What is Appropriation in art?
Article to read: When is Appropriation just Copying?
1) Did Christina Fallin do something ethically prohibited in posing in a war bonnet? Does it make a difference that she claims to love and respect Native American culture? Fallin wrote, “Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.” Do you view her act as innocent or not?
2) How should educators teach students about cultures other than their own? Do you think it is possible to avoid perpetuating stereotypes of other cultures?
3) What if Fallin’s record label asked her to pose in the war bonnet to gain publicity for her music? Would it make a difference if this were simply a business decision to sell records?
4) Would it make a difference if the photographer of this image intended to hang it in a gallery as “art?” What if the goal of the artist was to make viewers mad or uncomfortable? What if the artist created this image as a way to engage viewers in critiquing both Native American and non-Native American cultures?
5) Is cultural appropriation always a bad thing? Why or why not?
Artists commonly appropriate, or borrow, objects or images and include them in their artwork. Andy Warhol, for example, is well known for appropriating images of Campbell’s soup cans for his pop art. Typically, the original object or image remains recognizable, but the new work of art transforms or recontextualizes the borrowed image or object in order to generate new meaning. Many artists believe that without artistic appropriation, creating new art would not be possible. On the other hand, the line between copyright infringement and fair use is not always clear. In 2008, Shepard Fairey appropriated an Associated Press (A.P.) photo of Barack Obama to create his well-known “Hope” image of the presidential candidate. In 2009, Fairey filed a preemptive lawsuit against The A.P., requesting that the court declare protection from any copyright infringement claims on the basis of fair use. Fair use is the copying of copyrighted material for limited “transformative” purposes, such as criticism, parody, or commentary. Fairey acknowledged that his image was based on a 2006 photograph taken by A.P. photographer Mannie Garcia. The A.P. claimed that any use of the photo required permission and asked for credit and compensation. Anthony T. Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project and one of Fairey’s lawyers, said that Fairey only used the original image as a reference and transformed it into a “stunning, abstracted and idealized visual image that created powerful new meaning and conveys a radically different message.” Paul Colford, spokesman for The A.P., said, “[The A.P. was] disappointed by the surprise filing by Shepard Fairey and his company and by Mr. Fairey’s failure to recognize the rights of photographers in their works.” Mannie Garcia argued that he actually owned the copyright to the photo, not The A.P., according to his contract at the time. He stated, “I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can… But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation… If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had.” After two years in court, Shepard Fairey and The A.P. settled the case with an undisclosed financial agreement. Fairey also gave up fair use rights to any other A.P. photos, and both sides agreed to share the rights to make posters and merchandise based on the “Hope” image.
1) In general, do you think artistic appropriation is a positive or negative practice? Why? Does it matter what medium the artist works in?
2) Is appropriation only ethically questionable when money or popularity are involved?
3) What differences do you see between Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s soup cans and Fairey’s use of Garcia’s photograph? Is one less problematic than the other? Why or why not?
4) Do you think Fairey’s preemptive lawsuit against the Associated Press was a legitimate maneuver for protecting his fair use rights or an admission of copyright infringement? Defend your position.
5) Do you think moral intent matters in instances of artistic appropriation? Or, does it only matter whether the new work sufficiently recontextualizes the original piece?