Eric Felten has a romp through the Richard Prince case in the Wall St. Journal. He makes the excellent case that Prince is to be admired for his honesty on the stand when he offered no higher purpose to his use of Patrick Cariou’s images. He also points out that Cariou suffered real damages when he was denied a gallery show for his images because they had been exhibited already. But Felten reserves his glee for the way the ruling embarrasses the work of other artists who appropriate images in the way that Prince has:
The ruling is a major blow to the appropriationists. The prospect of losing future litigation could make gallery owners and museums more than a bit leery about presenting such work. The Gagosian Gallery made millions selling Mr. Prince’s Cariou-derived series, and the court is treating them as if they were from the sale of stolen goods. The gallery and its owner “were aware that Prince is an habitual user of other artists’ copyrighted work, without permission.” And yet they continued “their commercial exploitation of the Paintings after receiving Cariou’s cease-and-desist notice.” The judge ruled that the Gagosian defendants had acted in bad faith, and that doesn’t exactly bode well for them when it comes to the question of damages.
When Appropriation Masquerades as Conceptual Art (Wall Street Journal)