January 2014
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Ten Steps on How to Become a Slacker

Ten Steps on How to Become a Slacker

Being a slacker does not mean just being apathetic and aimless, it is taking the path of least resistance to avoid that which is abhorred. Becoming an accomplished slacker is no mean feat and for those young aspirants to the position I have outlined ten steps that can be easily followed.

First of all you should get the basics:

1. Buy a bean bag: What kind of slacker apartment or basement is going to be complete without a beanbag chair? It is a most excellent accessory.

2. Buy a video game: One of the ultimate slacker household motifs, a video game will provide you with an activity while eating snacks and in no way be productive.

3. Buy a hammock: This is another piece of the ultimate slacker furniture. It is also easy to sleep in, and if you have any visitors you can say “I was just resting my eyes”.

There are a few things to learn:

4. Learn to play a musical instrument: Okay, starting this one takes a lot of initiative but once the instrument (preferably an electric guitar) is purchased you can leave it in the corner until someone comes over, then sit in your bean bag and play it without plugging it in. Awesome.

5. Learn origami: This is a really great way to make people think you are doing something important and they will almost always give you space when you are practicing folding paper.

6. Become a follower of Zen: Zen Buddhism is the ultimate slacker religion. The followers get to sit around all day looking at walls. If anyone complains you are not doing something, tell them you are busy meditating. Tell them a slacker koan if they don’t believe you.
If you need anything it is okay to beg. It is more than okay; it is your duty as a follower of Zen. Actually the hero of the Great Lebowski, a slacker hero, was not a follower of Zen, he was a pseudo-Taoist. Close enough.

There are also a few miscellaneous activities:

7. Arrange a source of income: This needs to be passive. What kind of slacker wants to get up every day and go to the pizza store (or mall, office, whatever) when there are so many more important/alternate things to do? Passive income can be earned from a parent or any relative, a spouse, or even from investments if someone funded the thing properly from the beginning.

8. Do not support the war effort (pay taxes): Actually this bit of slacker philosophy is practiced by some of the richest people in the world who would shudder at the thought of being called slackers. (They also survive on residual income, don’t they?) According to Wikipedia, the word slacker was used to describe someone back in World War I who would not support the war effort and who dodged the draft. (Being against the war effort is not the same as being against soldiers.) According to this definition Thoreau was a slacker, since he practiced civil disobedience and refused to pay taxes that would support slavery. Was Phaedrus a slacker as he travelled around the US on his motorcycle?

9. Start a blog: Okay, I admit I did not come up with this but I had to include it as it is the ultimate slacker excuse. If anyone complains about the amount of time you spend in front of your PC (you can be playing games, looking at porn, whatever) you can say you are working on your blog. Some non-slacker will surely ask you if it has made any money yet, but you can always tell them you are just waiting for enough traffic and are in the process of using several strategies to develop an income.
But most important for every slacker:

10. Don’t do anything in this list: The greatest part of being a slacker is the refusal to follow the rules. You do not have to buy a bean bag and a hammock, smoke pot, play a guitar, or deliver pizzas while living in your mom´s basement. Slackers can start huge web sites and multibillion dollar IPOs, can be great visionaries, or they can waste away in the basement. It is really up to the slacker to decide.

Are you ready to become an underachiever in the eyes of society?

What makes a bad movie enjoyable?

What makes a bad movie enjoyable?XANADU

Keith: In high school and college, my friends and I watched a lot of movies, which more or less fell into three categories: films we thought would be good, films we thought would be weird, and films we thought would be so bad, they were good. Looking back, there was a lot of blurring between those categories. I think we picked up TNT Jackson, my first exposure to the blaxploitation genre, because it looked weird. But by the time the movie was over, we felt like we’d seen something kind of awesome, and that kicked us off on a long stretch of watching blaxploitation films. (A lot of them made TNT Jackson look lame in retrospect, but that’s getting off the topic.) Then there are films like Troma’s offerings and Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes, which looked like they’d be weird, but were actually just hollow attempts at cult oddness. But a lot of stuff fell into the so-bad-it’s-good column for us back then: putrid comedies like Ghost Fever, the cat-and-dog-have-adventures movie Milo & Otis (we imagined the Japanese production company responsible for it went through a lot of Milos and Otises during its making, and sadly, we might have been right), and one dreadful horrorfilm after another. Good was good, but oftentimes, bad was even better.
I never thought I’d lose my appetite for bad movies, and in many ways, I haven’t. I kind of like it when I get the chance to review something that looks intriguingly poor. But a lot of times, when I’m seeking out less-challenging fare in my free time, I want films that aren’t necessarily badso much as pitched at the lizard-brain part of me that wants to see Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx shoot rocket launchers on the lawn of the White House, or Keanu Reeves inform people that they owe him a life. Maybe that’s a professional hazard. I see plenty of bad movies over the course of the year. But it also feels like watching bad movies by choice—unless they’re a rare, transcendently bad movie like The Room—is something most people age out of after a certain point.
One of my favorite podcasts, The Flop House, looks at films the hosts imagine will be bad, and grades them on a scale of “bad-bad movie, good-bad movie, or movie you kind of liked.” Not many get the “good-bad” movie stamp, and I think that has a lot to do with the scarcity of films that are truly so bad they’re good, or so bad they demand to be seen. From recent years, the Nicolas Cage-starring remake of The Wicker Man comes immediately to mind, and not much else. So am I just getting too old for this shit? Or am I turning my back on a whole world of unintended hilarity by not seeking out more bad movies for pleasure?
Tasha: It’s possible you’re getting too old for this shit, like the man profiled in one of my all-time favorite Onion stories, “Aging Gen-Xer Doesn’t Find Bad Movies Funny Anymore.” It’s a great piece because while it’s telling a story, it’s also surreptitiously outlining the different perspectives on hate-watching. People who still enjoy watching bad movies for ironic fun can chuckle at the old stick-in-the-mud fogey who can’t muster the joy to laugh at Xanadu, while people who think hate-watching is a waste of time (whether they grew into that attitude, or held it all along) can chuckle just as much at those suckers blowing their lives on The Boy In The Plastic Bubble—or at the pitiful dismay of the guy who’s come around to only liking things he actually likes.
But as the piece implies, calendar age isn’t necessarily what makes people “too old” for bad films. Appreciation for awful stuff has more to do with how much time you have free to spend on it—and possibly more importantly, how easy it is to schedule time with your friends, which gets harder as people acquire spouses, jobs, homes, and kids. There are a lot of factors that make a terrible film fun to watch, but I’d argue that the primary one is the company in which you see it: For most people, bad-movie watching just isn’t as much fun as a solo activity. It’s a shared experience in “Can you believe what we’re seeing here?” So maybe the problem isn’t that you’re old, Keith, it’s that you’re having a harder time getting together with a bunch of people in the right mood, with the right mood-enhancers (alcohol is a big one), and with the right amount of obligation-free time.
Here’s my evidence that it isn’t just age: When I was in college, I had no interest in deliberately watching schlock. College was where I discovered great cinema, and I bonded with other film fans over our self-piloted film education. We were Serious Business, and we didn’t have time to waste on crap. But as I’ve gotten older, that sense of youthful urgency over seeing all the great films has faded somewhat, and I’ve come to appreciate the joys of terrible movies as party fuel. Over the past few years, I’ve even had a little Crap Cinema Club spontaneously form around me, to my surprise. (Hi, Kevin, Noah, and Sarah! CCC for life!) With that in mind, I’ll say that yes, you are missing out on some glorious bad movies of recent vintage: One of my favorite “watch this with friends” experiences of the last decade was M. Night Shyamalan’s profoundly awful The Happening. 2013’s Upside Down was an amazing experience in bad-movie watching. The second Twilight movie is hysterical with the right group. (The others, not so much.) I heartily recommend the Korean-American hybrid Dragon Wars for impenetrable exposition (delivered by poor, game Robert Forster) and giant screaming snakes. The Jessica Alba vehicle An Invisible Sign, in which Alba makes animated numbers fall out of things by knocking on them, and brings a gift-wrapped axe to a grade-school classroom, is an immense hoot. There are many more, and I have some theories about what unites them. But first, Matt, what about you? Do you think Keith is, like, really old? More importantly, how much do you think time of life matters in what makes a good bad movie, as opposed to any other factors?
Matt: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Tasha (not about Keith; he isn’t that old): A bad movie is only as entertaining as the people you’re watching it with. My particular bad-movie habits jibe more with Keith’s—I watched a ton of terrible movies in my early 20s, and watch a whole lot less now—but I wouldn’t blame it on getting older or more mature (my wife confirms; I have not), but rather on drifting apart from my own bad-movie buddies. For the most part, we’ve stayed friends, but we’ve dispersed to different locations all over the country. Bad Movie Night with Chris and Mo and all my pals was a party. Watching all but the most egregiously bad movies by myself is kind of a chore.
For example, part of this conversation was sparked by the new movie I, Frankenstein, which I haven’t seen because it didn’t screen for critics. But it looks particularly bad, even by the standards of the dreck regularly dumped into theaters in January and February. (Feast your eyes on thishilariously awful clip.) Would I go see this movie alone? Hell no; you’d have to kill me, then reanimate my corpse to get me in the theater. But if a bunch of friends were interested in coming with me? I’d be there faster than you could say, “Wait, is Frankenstein’s monster wearing a hoodie?”
This is surely why a list of bad movies that became cult classics (Plan 9 From Outer SpaceRoad HouseThe Room) is also a list of midnight-movie favorites; because midnight movies, no matter their quality, are a communal experience. Nobody’s favorite midnight movie is the one they saw alone in a quiet, reverent theater; it’s the crazy oddity they enjoyed while passing around a bottle of cheap champagne someone smuggled into the theater.
As for the movies themselves, what do you guys think are the essential qualities that define something so bad, it’s worth watching? Besides Frankenstein’s monster in a hoodie, obviously.
Keith: Quotability has to figure into it, right? Not to dwell on Ghost Fever—though I could—but a line from that remains currency among the people I saw it with, from the moment when a female character (possibly one of the Landers sisters) dances with the spirit of one of her ancestors: “Why, great-great-granddaddy, you’re a great, great dancer.” Cheapness doesn’t hurt. A film where the seams show is innately more hilarious than one a slick one. (Now, even the worst films that see wide release more often feel deadeningly professional rather than endearingly slapped-together, which has made this sort of film something of an endangered species of late.) Outré performances certainly don’t hurt. Without the over-the-top acting of Judge Reinhold, Nicolas Cage, Marissa Tomei, and others, Zandalee is just another early-’90s erotic thriller. But with it, it’s something special. Flat-out bad acting doesn’t hurt, either: Jane March’s work in Color Of Night has been seared in my brain for reasons beyond her copious nudity. (To explain why would spoil a delightfully overheated bad movie.) What else?
Tasha: Self-importance and deep-seated earnestness are often important aspects of a really classic bad movie. Movies that are trying too hard to be cult hits often don’t take themselves seriously enough: They wink at the audience, or elbow it in the ribs with a tone of “We’re all having fun, right? Look at this wacky thing we just gave you to laugh at!” My favorite bad movies don’t wink: They stare at the audience with Nicolas Cage intensity. Plan 9 From Outer Space, the Wicker Manremake, Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park—they all drip with a seriousness that suggests the filmmakers thought they were creating masterpieces. A lot of bad films have a noticeable gap between their ambition and their execution, but in a really great bad film, that gap is immense, and the creators often don’t seem to realize that they didn’t bridge it. The more ambition a bad film has—the more the filmmakers are trying to do something really huge and daring—the more likely that it’ll be daring enough to be entertaining.
Also, I don’t necessarily require my bad movies to be completely batshit insane, but it certainly helps. Films like The AppleThe Forbidden Zone,Death Bed: The Bed That EatsZardoz, The Room—they’re all so much fun because they’re so phenomenally weird, with nothing following logically or sensibly from what came before. An ordinary bad film is boring and draggy; a great one keeps surprising the viewers.
Matt: I’m not sure anyone has ever described a good-bad movie better than Susan Sontag’s definition of camp from her famous 1964 essay on the subject. “The essential element,” she said, “is seriousness, a seriousness that fails.” To Sontag, only movies that had the right blend of “the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve” could achieve what she called “pure camp,” and we might call a “good-bad movie.”
Anyone can churn out mediocre trash; Hollywood aims low dozens of times a year, and most of the results are not worth wasting time on. As Tasha says, it’s ambition that separates the wheat from the chaff. The thing that guys like Edward D. Wood Jr. and Tommy Wiseau have in common (besides embarrassing filmographies) is that passion to communicate something profound. Okay, so maybe their execution leaves something to be desired. They’re still trying really hard.
The filmmakers who reach for something far beyond their grasp are the ones that wind up producing bad movies that exceed their flaws. In doing so, they arguably achieve their goals, albeit in a roundabout way. These men and women strove for greatness. In failing so spectacularly to get there, they achieved a different kind of greatness.
Keith: I’ve never quite gotten my head around that Sontag essay, which I recall contradicting itself quite a bit. But maybe your distillation of it works for our purposes, Matt, since the truly, transcendently bad movies I know do have lofty ambitions of which they fall far, far short. (Which is why I don’t think Forbidden Zone fits the definition, even ifZardoz does, if you think it’s a bad movie. I don’t. But I also promised not to derail this piece arguing what’s bad and what isn’t on a title-by-title basis. Even if I just kind of did.)
On the other hand, with that definition, could a failed comedy somehow qualify as a good-bad movie? Or if a film, good or bad, gets a laugh out of viewers, does that laugh “count” no matter what? Similarly, if I get scared during a “bad” horror film, one that’s otherwise been entertaining for all the wrong reasons, is it still “bad”? Are we narrowing the definition too much when we eliminate all but those undone by their own ambition?
Tasha: Well, the ambition to be funny is still an ambition. In theory, what makes a film “bad” is the gap between intention and execution, so I’d like to think a comedy can be so bad at what it does that it becomes hilarious. (And no, that doesn’t wrap it all the way back around to good. I think we all have some idea of the line between unintentional and intentional comedy.) But at the same time, I can’t think of a single pure comedy that hits the great-bad-movie sweet spot. There are plenty of wonderfully, enjoyably awful romantic comedies—When In Rome,Camille, and Valentine’s Day come to mind—but when I think about what makes them funny, it’s more how they utterly fail at drama and romance than how they fail at comedy. Can either of you think of a great-bad comedy? Because the more I think about it, the more I think a great-bad film is one that fails so much at doing whatever it’s trying to do that it perfectly becomes its own opposite. My absolute favorite terrible films (The Happening, for instance) are failing so hard at being serious and scary that they become laughable. But a film that fails really hard at being funny is more likely to be boring than accidentally grave and serious.
This may speak to the same point from a different angle: I was talking to my partner about this Conversation this morning, and he suggested that a movie can be bad enough to be campy fun even if it does one thing well, as long as that one thing is action, comedy, or suspense. (Dragon Warsis a hilariously fun terrible movie with some fairly well-managed dinosaurs-vs.-the-army action, for instance.) But a film can’t do tragedy well without deflating the mood entirely. Real, believable suffering takes the fun out of laughing at a bad film. The experience of laughing at a bad movie is predicated on schadenfreude and contempt, both of which are hard to maintain in the face of characters you actually care about, or feel for. That suggests to me that seriousness—whether it comes from competent drama direction, or incompetent comedy direction—is more than the fragile great-bad movie experience can sustain.
Matt: If a horror film scares you, isn’t that a “good” horror film? In my mind, even if that horror movie is “entertaining for all the wrong reasons,” but it also gives you nightmares, that qualifies it as a good horror movie—or at least a middling one. I’d have a hard time saying a horror film that terrified me is so bad it’s good.
The question of so-bad-they’re-good comedies is a tougher one. I’m racking my brain trying to think of one, but nothing’s jumping out. Maybe it is the fact that comedies rarely have the sort of grand ambition that defines most camp classics. Their aims are smaller, and their failures are too. Tasha’s formulation that good-bad movies attain greatness by achieving the opposite of their intended effect seems plausible to me in this context, because there’s nothing more tragic than an unfunny comedy. Truly awful comedies—something like, say,The Internship from last yearnever make me laugh at their incompetence. They just bum me out.
Keith: And yet, like Tasha, I’ve more than once turned turned to a subpar rom-com for my bad-movie needs, which tend to be either hardened in their clichés to the point of self-parody (may I recommendLeap Year?) or whacked-out in a way that makes them queasily compelling. (May I recommend Simply Irresistible, magic crab and all?) So maybe at the end of all this, it really does come back to company, and maybe any bad movie, even one that would be soul-deadening taken solo, can be fun as a communal experience. So carry on mocking, bad-movie fans. And enjoy your time together. I would only caution that you choose your targets well. There’s no need to take on movies that do half the work for you by trying to be bad—yourSharkanados and such. And please be open to the possibility that even a film that looks terrible might have something genuinely worthwhile to offer. There is plenty of true awfulness in the world of movies that only laughter can defeat. Learn to recognize it.

Appropriation (art)

Appropriation (art)

Composition with Fruit, Guitar and Glass. 1912. Pablo Picasso.
Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them.[1] The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literaryvisualmusical and performing arts).
Appropriation can be understood as "the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work."[2] In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of human-made visual culture. Notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp. Other strategies include "re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel... pastiche, paraphrase, parodyhomage,mimicryshan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke."[3] The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work[2] (as in 'the artist uses appropriation') or refers to the new work itself (as in 'this is a piece of appropriation art').
Inherent in our understanding of appropriation is the concept that the new work recontextualises whatever it borrows to create the new work. In most cases the original 'thing' remains accessible as the original, without change.


Marcel Duchamp is credited with introducing the concept of the ready-made, in which “industrially produced utilitarian objects…achieve the status of art merely through the process of selection and presentation.”[4]Duchamp explored this notion as early as 1913 when he mounted a stool with a bicycle wheel and again in 1915 when he purchased a snow shovel and humorously inscribed it “in advance of the broken arm, Marcel Duchamp.”[5][6] In 1917, Duchamp formally submitted a readymade into the Society of Independent Artists exhibition under the pseudonym, R. Mutt.[7] Entitled Fountain, it consisted of a porcelain urinal that was propped atop a pedestal and signed "R. Mutt 1917". The work posed a direct challenge to traditional perceptions of fine art, ownership, originality and plagiarism, and was subsequently rejected by the exhibition committee.[8]Duchamp publicly defended Fountain, claiming “whether Mr.Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view-- and created a new thought for that object.”[8]
In the early twentieth century Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque appropriated objects from a non-art context into their work. In 1912, Picasso pasted a piece of oil cloth onto the canvas. Subsequent compositions, such as Guitar, Newspaper, Glass and Bottle (1913) in which Picasso used newspaper clippings to create forms, became categorized as synthetic cubism. The two artists incorporated aspects of the "real world" into their canvases, opening up discussion of signification and artistic representation.
The Dada movement (including Duchamp as an associate) continued with the appropriation of everyday objects. Dada works featured deliberate irrationality and the rejection of the prevailing standards of art. Kurt Schwitters, who produced art at the same time as the Dadaists, shows a similar sense of the bizarre in his "merz" works. He constructed these from found objects,[citation needed] and they took the form of large constructions that later generations would call installations.
The Surrealists, coming after the Dada movement, also incorporated the use of 'found objects' such as Méret Oppenheim's Object (Luncheon in Fur) (1936). These objects took on new meaning when combined with other unlikely and unsettling objects.
In 1938 Joseph Cornell produced what might be considered the first work of film appropriation[citation needed] in his randomly cut and reconstructed film 'Rose Hobart'.
In the 1950s Robert Rauschenberg used what he dubbed "combines", literally combining readymade objects such as tires or beds, painting, silk-screens, collage, and photography. Similarly, Jasper Johns, working at the same time as Rauschenberg, incorporated found objects into his work.
The Fluxus art movement also utilised appropriation:[citation needed] its members blended different artistic disciplines including visual art, music, and literature. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s they staged "action" events and produced sculptural works featuring unconventional materials.
Along with artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Claes OldenburgAndy Warhol appropriated images[citation needed] from commercial art and popular culture as well as the techniques of these industries. Often called "pop artists", they saw mass popular culture as the main vernacular culture, shared by all irrespective of education. These artists fully engaged with the ephemera produced from this mass-produced culture, embracing expendability and distancing themselves from the evidence of an artist's hand.
In 1958 Bruce Conner produced the influential 'A Movie' in which he recombined existing film clips. In 1958 Raphael Montanez Ortiz produced "Cowboy and Indian Film', a seminal appropriation film work.[citation needed]
In the late 1970s Dara Birnbaum was working with appropriation to produce feminist works of art.[citation needed] In 1978-79 she produced one of the first video appropriations. 'Technology, Transformation : Wonder Woman' utilised video clips from the Wonder Woman television series.
The term appropriation art was in common use in the 1980s with artists such as Sherrie Levine, who addressed the act of appropriating itself as a theme in art.[citation needed] Levine often quotes entire works in her own work, for example photographing photographs of Walker Evans. Challenging ideas of originality, drawing attention to relations between powergender and creativityconsumerism and commodity value, the social sources and uses of art, Levine plays with the theme of "almost same".
During the 1970s and 1980s Richard Prince re-photographed advertisements such as for Marlboro cigarettes or photo-journalism shots. His work takes anonymous and ubiquitous cigarette billboard advertising campaigns, elevates the status and focusses our gaze on the images.
Appropriation artists comment on all aspects of culture and society. Joseph Kosuth appropriated images to engage with philosophy and epistemological theory. Other artists working with appropriation during this time with included Jeff KoonsBarbara KrugerGreg Colson, and Malcolm Morley.[citation needed]
In the 1990s artists continued to produce appropriation art, using it as a medium to address theories and social issues, rather than focussing on the works themselves. Damian Loeb used film and cinema to comment on themes of simulacrum and reality. Other high-profile artists working at this time included Christian MarclayDeborah KassDamien Hirst[dubious ] and Genco Gulan.[9]
Other contemporary appropriation artists include the Chapman brothersBenjamin EdwardsJoy GarnettNikki S. LeePaul PfeifferPierre Huyghe.[citation needed]

Appropriation art and copyrights[edit]

Despite the long and important history of appropriation, this artistic practice has recently resulted in contentious copyright issues which reflects more restrictive copyright legislation. The U.S. has been particularly litigious in this respect. A number of case-law examples have emerged that investigate the division between transformative works and derivative works. Many countries are following the U.S lead toward more restrictive copyright, which risks making this art practice difficult if not illegal.

Campbell's Soup (1968). Andy Warhol.
Andy Warhol faced a series of lawsuits from photographers whose work he appropriated and silk-screened. Patricia Caulfield, one such photographer, had taken a picture of flowers for a photography demonstration for a photography magazine. Warhol had covered the walls of Leo Castelli's New York gallery in 1964 with the silk-screened reproductions of Caulfield's photograph. After seeing a poster of their work in a bookstore, Caulfield claimed ownership of the image and while Warhol was the author of the successful silk screens, he settled out of court, giving Caulfield a royalty for future use of the image as well as two of the paintings.
On the other hand, Warhol's famous Campbell's Soup Cans are generally held to be non-infringing, despite being clearly appropriated, because "the public was unlikely to see the painting as sponsored by the soup company or representing a competing product. Paintings and soup cans are not in themselves competing products", according to expert trademark lawyer Jerome Gilson.[10]
Jeff Koons has also confronted issues of copyright due to his appropriation work (see Rogers v. Koons). Photographer Art Rogers brought suit against Koons for copyright infringement in 1989. Koons' work, String of Puppies sculpturally reproduced Rogers' black and white photograph that had appeared on an airport greeting card that Koons had bought. Though he claimed fair use and parody in his defense, Koons lost the case, partially due to the tremendous success he had as an artist and the manner in which he was portrayed in the media. The parody argument also failed, as the appeals court drew a distinction between creating a parody of modern society in general and a parody directed at a specific work, finding parody of a specific work, especially of a very obscure one, too weak to justify the fair use of the original.
In October 2006, Koons won one for "fair use." For a seven-painting commission for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, Koons drew on part of a photograph taken by Andrea Blanch titled Silk Sandals by Gucci and published in the August 2000 issue of Allure magazine to illustrate an article on metallic makeup. Koons took the image of the legs and diamond sandals from that photo (omitting other background details) and used it in his painting Niagara, which also includes three other pairs of women's legs dangling surreally over a landscape of pies and cakes.
In his court filing, Koons' lawyer, John Koegel, said that Niagara is "an entirely new artistic work... that comments on and celebrates society's appetites and indulgences, as reflected in and encouraged by a ubiquitous barrage of advertising and promotional images of food, entertainment, fashion and beauty."
In his decision, Judge Louis L. Stanton of U.S. District Court found that Niagara was indeed a "transformative use" of Blanch's photograph. "The painting's use does not 'supersede' or duplicate the objective of the original", the judge wrote, "but uses it as raw material in a novel way to create new information, new aesthetics and new insights. Such use, whether successful or not artistically, is transformative."
The detail of Blanch's photograph used by Koons is only marginally copyrightable. Blanch has no rights to the Gucci sandals, "perhaps the most striking element of the photograph", the judge wrote. And without the sandals, only a representation of a women's legs remains—and this was seen as "not sufficiently original to deserve much copyright protection."
In 2000, Damien Hirst's sculpture Hymn (which Charles Saatchi had bought for a reported £1m) was exhibited in Ant Noises in the Saatchi Gallery. Hirst was sued for breach of copyright over this sculpture despite the fact that he transformed the subject. The subject was a 'Young Scientist Anatomy Set' belonging to his son Connor, 10,000 of which are sold a year by Hull (Emms) Toy Manufacturer. Hirst created a 20 foot, six ton enlargement of the Science Set figure, radically changing the perception of the object. Hirst paid an undisclosed sum to two charities, Children Nationwide and the Toy Trust in an out-of-court settlement. The charitable donation was less than Emms had hoped for. Hirst sold three more copies of his sculpture for similar amounts to the first.
Appropriating a familiar object to make an art work can prevent the artist claiming copyright ownership. Jeff Koons threatened to sue a gallery under copyright, claiming that the gallery infringed his proprietary rights by selling bookends in the shape of balloon dogs.[11] Koons abandoned that claim after the gallery filed a complaint for declaratory relief stating, "As virtually any clown can attest, no one owns the idea of making a balloon dog, and the shape created by twisting a balloon into a dog-like form is part of the public domain." [12]
In 2008, photojournalist Patrick Cariou sued artist Richard PrinceGagosian Gallery and Rizzoli books for copyright infringement. Prince had appropriated 40 of Cariou's photos of Rastafarians from a book, creating a series of paintings known as “Canal Zone”. Prince variously altered the photos, painting objects, oversized hands, naked women and male torsos over the photographs, subsequently selling over $10 million worth of the works. In March 2011, a judge ruled in favor of Cariou, but Prince and Gargosian appealed on a number of points. Three judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right to an appeal.[13] Prince’s attorney argued that "Appropriation art is a well-recognized modern and postmodern art form that has challenged the way people think about art, challenged the way people think about objects, images, sounds, culture" [14] On April 24, 2013, the appeals court largely overturned the original decision, deciding that the paintings had sufficiently transformed the original images and were therefore a permitted use.[15]

Artists using appropriation[edit]

The following are notable artists known for their use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them:


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