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  #1  
Old 09-17-2007, 06:56 PM
gofigure gofigure is offline
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accidental copies or plagiarism?

A couple of years ago I found in a gallery a vertical carved wooden piece about 8' high with shapes very like the stacked vase-like forms of a Brancusi. Perhaps it was no surprise that it was titled Endless Column. It was not a competent imitation but I was bothered that someone should have appropriated the image and the title. Yes, we all at some time follow another's work closely, but is it right to take the whole and pass it off as our work?

Yesterday I found in another gallery, one that was much more a serious art gallery than the first. two pieces that looked as though they had been made by David Smith. The titles?---Cubi. So here again is an instance of an appropriated sculpture plus title.

Any more examples out there? Any thoughts about plagiarism here?

--John
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:36 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: accidental copies or plagiarism?

For the cases you quoted, Gofigure, it depends on what names do the gallery mention as the artists. It would be plagarism if the plagarising artists' names are mentioned, not the original artists creating the full-scale sculpture.

But what would these be if no artists names are mentioned? Shops sell small scale sculptures of say Venus of Milo.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-2007, 10:27 AM
gofigure gofigure is offline
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Re: accidental copies or plagiarism?

Merlion---In both cases, the pieces were listed under the names of the secondary artists. That is what gets my goat.

--John
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:45 PM
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JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
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Re: accidental copies or plagiarism?

I met an artist during my time in Naples, FL who was selling his poorly executed ripoffs of a very prominent painter's work. They were pretty much verbatim in their colors, composition, etc... He was able to get away with it due to general ignorance and geographical distance it seems. As far as I know mine was the first recognition of the fact. I emailed the original artist of the plagiarism, but I'm unsure what ended up happening.

In undergrad I knew a student in the commercial art program I was in who saw nothing wrong in using established artists work as components in his own projects. From what I gathered after graduation he continued this practice in his professional life as well.

Even in my time here in and around the NYC area I have run across examples of new artists pulling directly from older more established ones...quite unashamedly.

The above sort of thing often becomes more about a plagiarism of ideas with slightly differing executions. Though these are still obvious plagiarisms, they get passed off as being an homage. When the secondary artist's whole catalogue is built on these "homages" though, it seems to me that it must be a lack of creativity circumvented by using another person's originality. Imitation being a historically respectable process of learning one's craft, at some point it should give way to assimilation and individual thought/creativity.


As much as it might rile some to say so, in my opinion this sort of behavior is only fueled by the permissive nature of "anything goes" in art today. When so many within the art community are willing to give a pass to those artists whose work shows an obvious lack of either skill, creative talent, or both, the cracks through which these sorts of plagiarisms can fall become quite large.

Having no particular boundaries, it seems to be an equally large problem in both representational and non-representational art. The number of sculptors whose work owes too great a debt to pioneering abstractionists like Anthony Caro, David Smith, or Robert Rauschenberg alone would seem to make this an unavoidable fact for the non-representational field.

Unlikely to go away in the present environment, it may just be up to those who have pride in real artistic accomplishment to ensure that their own works reflect a commitment to honestly derived originality....and let the posers steal what they can't authentically create themselves.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:26 PM
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danthoman danthoman is offline
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Re: accidental copies or plagiarism?

I generally frown on plagiarism but have to decide on a case-by-case basis. Many years ago I attended a wood turning symposium and placed several pieces in the ‘instant gallery’. One of the instructors, a well know turner, found me and asked why I was copying his work and wanted me to remove it from the gallery. I said that I did not know him nor had ever seen much less copied his work and would not remove the piece. When he started having a hissy fit, I told him to take a flying leap. He contacted the organizers of the event who looked at the bowl and laughed at him. It was an uninspired 10 inch diameter ‘S’ shape bowl (I was new to woodturning). The type every civilization for thousands of years have made. Yet this guy was trying to say the design was his.

Sometimes, the line between original and plagiarism can be very blurred.

While we’re on the subject, I have a question. I’ve been commissioned by a museum to copy a piece which they will give to someone as the ‘volunteer of the year award’. The museum is dedicated to and owned by the family of this artist. I planned not sign my name, but put “after” and the artist’s name. They want me to sign only my name, like it's an original (it's in a different medium). How confusing.
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Old 09-26-2007, 05:37 PM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: accidental copies or plagiarism?

Jason, Postmodernism - now I don't give a damn what the wikepedia says it is (he is not God)...but it is the act of reconsidering modern themes - especially art -, representing it, morphing its priorities all in the name of intellectual re-assessment. Not my bag but I have seen plenty of it that was clever, well executed and perhaps better than the work it referenced. One needs a well rounded and up to date understanding to grasp it, but its certainly as worthwhile any any other so-called "movement" or "ism". Smith changed the world, Rauschenberg and Caro did not. So all the steel guys that came after Smith are not unlike the figure guys that came after Michealangelo. Some good some not..same proportions.
A creative journey based soley on the attainment of absolute origionality is a waste of time; will end in floundering and frustration. We are all inspired and preceded and it is our job to make anything we do our own by virtue of our individual persistence and prolificity. Changes always occur during the work and you end up in your own place.

Actual copying a work is just fabrication, might take some skill but it ain't art - maybe a good exercise for a student. If you try to claim these as your own you are not an artist.

Dan, making a piece in the "spirit" of an artist you admire can be a fine thing to do, styles, mediums and processes are not the property of anyone. Sign it as you wish. I cannot imagine ayone commissioning a copy unless they cannot afford an origional. Like the old days.

One of my favorite paintings of all time is the "Raft of the Medusa" - I have only seen a very well-done copy (the Met) made shortly after the origional. It was great but a diminished thrill.
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