4/21/2011

Photographer Patrick Cariou wins infringement lawsuit against appropriation artist Richard Prince

I've always been puzzled about why, exactly, one artist would think it's OK, let alone legal, to use the work of another artist without permission. But, strange as it seems, there are many artists who do think that - so many that there's a label for them. They're called "appropriation" artists; and Richard Prince is one of them. Prince used photographs from Patrick Cariou's book Yes Rasta, to create new versions for what Prince called his "Canal Zone" series. To my eye, Prince's versions - done without Cariou's permission - look to violate Cariou's moral rights as well as his copyrights; but that may just be me. What I can say is that federal District Judge Deborah Batts has ruled that Prince infringed Cariou's copyrights. The decision was anxiously anticipated by those in the art world, and it has attracted comment in several quarters: