Re: [rumori] Re: advertising & collage

From: Don Joyce (
Date: Sun Mar 04 2001 - 18:05:38 PST

You are once again confusing art with advertising. They are NOT the same
thing, no matter how much or little "art" either may contain. I am not
against making different laws for oranges than we do for apples.
I would NOT allow an ad that parodies to appropriate without clearance even
under fair use guidelines as they stand! Because it's NOT free expression.
Ads are attaching somebody's work (the ad agency, other art, etc) to a
THIRD party's interests - not for the sake of the ad agency's art work in
itself, and not for the sake of the art used, but for the sake of the
product paying for it. This makes ads advertising, not art. It's the third
party in the chain of appropriation that distinguishes art appropriation
from ad appropriation.

Fair use should exist for works in themselves which exist as ends in
Works that are ends in themselves (collages for instance) can use from
other works all they please, including from advertising, but advertising,
being a business, not an art, is not in the business of making works in
themselves for their own sake, but making propaganda for commerce (neither
"free" speech nor "free" expression by any means). This work may be very
artistic but it is NOT made, indeed never would be made, as ends in
themselves. Ads have NO purpose without a paying client who is directing
its content. This is not the case with art. Art may have clients, but they
don't insist on directing content to advertise specific products outside
the work being made. That would be advertising.

I'm not bearing down on ads because I hate them, I'm trying to protect the
integrity of ANY art, including collage, from being used unwillingly in
advertising which always has this unique ulterior motive of endorsement for
something totally extraneous to the art at hand going on within them. Ads
are not art ends in themselves, no matter how much we may appreciate them
as such. Artworks are ends in themselves and are beholden to nothing or no
one outside itself. This is the domain of free speech, and should be the
domain of free appropriation.

Seeland is a business. Occasionally we advertise. Anyone can advertise or
not advertise. Our advertisements are not our art, though I hope they
contain a little. I don't see how this confuses the issue. Since we would
be making the ad AND the art, we are all the same thing so there would be
no problem getting our own permission to use our own collage to sell our
own collage in our own ad. Remember, this would just be a matter of getting
permission to use whatever they want, not that they can't use other stuff.
This is the case NOW, as the law is. I like the fact that commercials have
to clear and pay for their usage of other's work. I would maintain it. The
most innocuous ad using YOUR work can taint that work forever in terms of
its public's perception in a unique way (commonly called "selling out")
that the use of your work in other art does not do to the work at all.

Distinguishing advertising from art, as very different uses of art, allows
us to discern who is selling out (by permission) and who has not yet
succumbed. Free appropriation for ads means there would be no way to tell
who has agreed to be endorsing this product with their presence and who has

I am not saying collage can exist only under certain conditions. Collage
can and does exist under all conditions, especially in ads! I am only
saying advertising should continue to need permission and payment to use or
collage others' work, and art should not. Free for art, not free for ads.
All collage is original work, we are talking about its PURPOSE here. We
don't CARE what the purpose of collage is in art, no matter what it may be
even if it looks like somebody's ad, it's the free expression of an
individual, but we care very much about its purpose when it is actually
carrying the ulterior motive of a third interest behind the ad itself as a
work, which all hired advertising does.

If you don't think this counts, just wait till they use YOU without your
permission to sell - well, just name your worst nightmare product to become
unwillingly associated with. Adveretising is not an art deal, it's a
business deal, and like any business, contracts should be required! Since
this commercial use affront to original art CAN be avoided, should free
appropriation ever be instituted for art, (hah!) I would prefer to do so
continuing to restrict ad appropriation to payment and permission only.
Don't be afraid of laws just because they're so often off the mark, they
can also be your friend... Presently, the copyright restrictions in place
against advertising's free appropriation of other's work are virtually the
ONLY art friendly part of those laws.

>i recall a fair use (parody) case in advertising where appropriation was
>allowed. i don't remember the details but i think it involved an
>advertisement for naked gun 2?? as a parody of a vanity fair magazine
>cover. so basically you are suggesting tightening laws in one area
>(advertising), while loosening them in another (pure art... if such a thing
>also, don't Negativland releases contain the logo of a business (Seeland)
>that sells/markets various products (concerts, t-shirts, books, posters,
>cds)? should you have fewer rights than other artists who operate
>completely outside of the market?
>and doesn't the notion that collage can only exist under certain
>circumstances weaken our argument that collage should be equal to other art
>works since all art is somewhat derivitive. are we suggesting that collage
>works really don't constitute new and original work?
>now steev,
>i am not sure exactly what you were proposing... but wouldn't limiting art
>rights to works that "do good in the world" be similar to limiting free
>speech to only speech that does good? doesn't art partially exist to
>challenge notions of what may or may not be good?
>personally i think we should focus more on expanding the boundaries of art
>(whether it is fine art, commercial art, or something in between) rather
>than trying to come up with new restrictions.
>i don't even know if i would even trust card carrying rumori members to
>establish guidelines for what should or shouldn't be allowed in art. no
>disrespect intended... we all generally agree, but once we start trying to
>draw lines we may notice some radical differences.
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