Saturday, August 20, 2005

Browse the 500,000+ pictures at the recently launched New York Public Library Image Archive. The NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 337,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.

D.C. Comics has hit a Chelsea art dealer with a "cease & desist" letter for exhibiting Mark Chamberlain’s watercolors on a "gay Batman" theme. The works, which were exhibited at Kathleen Cullen Fine Art this spring (where they found ready buyers at prices starting at $200), include images of Batman and Robin exchanging a kiss, a watercolor titled Robin’s Baby Pictures depicting the Boy Wonder’s cute rear end, and a rendering of the Caped Crusader, sans shirt but otherwise in costume, striking a languorous pose. "D.C. Comics wants me to hand over all unsold work and invoices for the sold work," exclaimed dealer Kathleen Cullen (the gallery was formerly named Artek Contemporaries). "I’ve spent the last two weeks of my life consulting lawyers!" (Some works are also posted on Artnet, which has received a similar letter.)
The use by fine artists of mass-market and commercial cartoon imagery goes back decades -- both Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol were pursued by photographers for copyright violations (the artists tended to settle), and Jeff Koons famously litigated the String of Puppies case all the way to the Supreme Court (he lost). The Walt Disney Co. brought an infringement suit against Dennis Oppenheim for using small statuettes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in his sculpture Virus, with mixed results -- the artist was forbidden to sell the work but allowed to exhibit it. Karen Finley’s 1999 book, Pooh Unplugged, a rather scatological version of the children’s classic, forestalled a similar lawsuit by labeling the publication "a parody" on its cover. The issue is a hot one -- more recently, artists including Tom Sachs and Damien Loeb have been touched by copyright (and trademark) disputes - culled from Artnet

editor's note: images here.

Impressed by the wealth of amateur artwork for sale on eBay, San Francisco artist Michael Rosenthal -- former associate vice provost at Stanford University and an exhibiting artist since 1999 -- purchased dozens of "unattributed and affordable" paintings on eBay and invited 33 artists to remake, paint over and otherwise transform the works according to their own vision. Among the participants are Reed Anderson, Edwin Schlossberg, Marta Thoma and Calvin Turnwall. The resulting works go up for resale on eBay on Aug. 23, 2005. For a catalogue of images and further details, see the online catalog here

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture, the firm led by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Price-Ramus in New York, has been retained to design a new $70-million "museum plaza" near the riverfront in downtown Louisville, Ky. The planned facility combines an art museum and residential condominiums with office space and even a farmer’s market.

The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton has selected Swiss architectural team of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron to design the new home for the museum, slated for a 14-acre site in the hamlet of Water Mill on eastern Long Island. The celebrated architects designed the new Tate Modern, which opened in London in 2000, and the expansion of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which opened earlier this year, and are at work on the new de Young Museum, scheduled to open in San Francisco this October.

The Santa Monica Museum of Art is welcoming the fall season with a show of journals and collages by Exene Cervenka, a founding member of X, the pioneering Los Angeles punk-rock group. "Exene Cervenka: America the Beautiful," Sept. 17-Nov. 26, 2005, features nine journals and a series of 20 collages made between 1974 and 2005 in a show that is guest-curated by Michael Duncan and Kristine McKenna. Cervenka has scheduled a free performance at the Bergamot Café at Bergamot Station on Nov. 3, 2005.

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