Some of you may have read one of the many recent stories about artist Shephard Fairey. Fairey recently admitted to lying to investigators regarding the use of an Associated Press image in his artwork and in doing so has once again ignited conversations around inspiration, appropriation and fair use.
On the exact same weekend, artist Stephanie Syjuco set up her project, “Copystand: an autonomous manufacturing zone,” at the Frieze Art Fair. In what she calls a “counterfeiting event,” Syjuco and a team of artists took over a booth at the prestigious, international art fair. Over the course of the 4 day event the artists re-created other artworks found within the fair and displayed them as they were completed. All of the”copies” were for sale, and for a fraction of the price of the original.
As someone who grew up in the age of hip-hop, and later became educated in the ideas of conceptual art practice, pulling inspiration from other sources sometimes feels as natural as sleeping. And when you hear Syjuco talk about the project, she is clearly aware of the historical, artistic and economic forces around her. It’s the lie that Fairey told that seems to get to people. Syjuco, on the other hand, puts it out there for all to know and see.
I’m curious to see where all this will lead. Are you?
-Lisa Dent, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art