Sunday, February 8, 2009

Elizabeth Peyton - Awesome Portraitist

Here is an interesting article about Elizabeth Peyton, a very successful contemporary portrait painter. I like the simplicity of her work and the vast fields of color. It is reminiscent of Richard Diebenkorn and Milton Avery in that respect, but in terms of the expressiveness of the faces and the eyes it evokes Shahn, though in perhaps more of a refined way. The best art is pure simplicity - like God. The article is also interesting because it traces the history of portraiture in the 20th century.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Iconic Obama Image

The guy who created the "iconic" portrait of President Obama is being sued by AP because his image is based on a photo taken by an AP photographer which AP "owns". The artist's lawyer argues that this qualifies as "fair use" of the image. In my opinion this is nothing but greed on the part of AP. They obviously would not be doing this had the image not become so successful. It also raises interesting questions about who owns images. Say an architect designs an iconic building, and a few years later an artist paints a picture of it as artists often do. Say that painting later becomes famous in its own right - can that artist be sued? Can the Picasso estate be sued by Bass Ale because some Picasso's paintings contain pictures of Bass Ale bottles? The artist who made this portrait of the president created his own unique work of art. What about musicians who use the same guitar riff? It is just too fantastic what the AP is trying to claim. Yes, the Obama was based on an existing image, but the artist made his own out of it. The existing image was simply an inspirational jumping off point.