Home Interior Design A judge has opened two lawsuits against appropriation artist Richard Prince from photographers who say he stole their work

A judge has opened two lawsuits against appropriation artist Richard Prince from photographers who say he stole their work

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Two professional photographers have won early victories in a pair of copyright lawsuits against appropriation artist Richard Prince.

A US federal judge ruled that the prosecution may go all the way to trial because Prince did not provide enough initial evidence to prove that his controversialNew PortraitsThe series sufficiently transforms two of the photographs that he appropriates.

Prince’s works are large-scale canvas inkjet prints of screenshots he took of other photographers’ Instagram posts, which also depict comments Prince left below the images. Citing fair usethe artist requested an interim judgment in the lawsuits brought by Donald Graham And Eric McNatt, but the judge found that Prince “in effect tested the line between art appropriation and copyright infringement,” according to Courthouse News.

Donald Graham's photograph, left, and its appropriation by Richard Prince.

Original photography by Donald Graham and appropriation of photography by Richard Prince for his “New Portraits” series.

The problem is Prince’s Portrait of Rastajay92who appropriates Graham’s 1998 photograph Rasta smoking a joint. Prince captured an Instagram user’s post sharing Graham’s photo of a shirtless Jamaican man which was captioned “Real Bongo Nyah man a real Congo Nyah”. In his version, Prince added the comment “Canal Zinian da lam jam”.

The other disputed work is that of Prince Portrait of Kim Gordonwho appropriates McNatt’s photograph of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon commissioned for paper magazines in 2014. Prince said he created the work because he wanted to include Gordon, a friend, in the “New Portraits” series.

He found McNatt’s photo of Gordon on Instagram and shared it on his own account with the caption “Kool Thang You Make My Heart Sang You Make Everythang Groovy”.

Richard Prince at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills.  Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc.

Richard Prince at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc.

In his defense, Prince’s lawyers argued that the addition of the Instagram frame and comments, along with the “intentional cropping of Andy Warhol tribute images” and “absurdly proportionate scale and proportions”. Alice in Wonderland-dreamlike quality” transform the context of the images and lead to “radically different conclusions drawn by the viewer”.

The judge, however, was not convinced. He found that Prince’s edits to the original photographs were “both minimal and insufficient”, rather than transformative. He added that “the artist’s attempt to present the images as satire or parody fails, and Prince’s stated purpose in creating these portraits has been both inconsistent and of limited relevance. in light of the similarities between the original and secondary works”.

From unveiling of “New Portraits” at Gagosian in New York in 2014—where canvases sold for $100,000 each—Prince would have been the subject of at least five trials.

Apart from Graham and McNatt, makeup artist Ashley Salazar, who goes by Mynxii White, sued Prince in 2016 for using one of his copyrighted photos on the show. The lawsuit, filed in California, was dismissed due to inappropriate venue and Salazar does not appear to have filed again in New York.

The series also faced backlash during a 2019 show at Detroit’s Museum of Modern Artwhen Zoë Ligon, a Detroit-based sex educator, complained that the artist’s appropriation of her red bra selfie was similar to revenge porn. (The museum’s director at the time, Elysia Borowy-Reeder, offered to remove it.)

Prince’s practice has already landed him in hot water, including his 2008 “Canal Zone” series, which used images from a book by French photographer Patrick Cariou. In 2011, a ruling found Prince guilty of copyright infringement, but the artist largely prevailed on appeal in 2013.

The case finally settled in 2014, and is considered a important precedent in the field of copyright. It is expected to play an important role, for example, in the United States Supreme Court decision whether a portrait of Andy Warhol of the musician Prince, base on a Lynn Goldsmith photo, constitutes fair use. (The judges heard pleadings in October, and a verdict could come at any time.)

The judge in Prince’s current disputes with Graham and McNatt also cited the Cariou decision, noting that the artist’s edits to Instagram images “certainly don’t begin to approach the edits found to be legally transformative in Cariou.”

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