How can artists responsibly use images that are not their own, especially when those images are tied to the history of another culture? And how can museums display such work while respectfully engaging with marginalised communities?
These aren't the "jewel box" CD cases, mind you - they're the long, mostly empty plastic containers that jewel boxes were stuffed inside for record store shelves, and they were supposed to be removed at the cash register. "From a distance, it seems like putting a CD or a cassette inside a massive [plastic] box, of which more than half of it was effectively useless, would be a really questionable choice. But the record industry had a couple of good reasons for doing so."
Sonia Boyce: "The recent, temporary removal from Manchester Art Gallery of John William Waterhouse's 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs, which depicts Hercules's handsome male lover being lured to his death in a pond by seven long-haired, topless nymphs (pubescent girls), was an attempt to involve a much wider group of people than usual in the curatorial process." And it did.
"Ben Enwonwu's 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, is a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in homes all over the country. The artist, regarded as the founding father of Nigerian modernism, painted three versions of Tutu and the image became a symbol of national reconciliation. But all three were lost and became the subject of much speculation." Until late last year, that is.
Steven Kurutz, a reporter for The New York Times who now has the entire New York Public Library to look through: "I loved being in a room filled with books. Two rooms, actually. There was a small-town stillness, an atmosphere of benign neglect inside our little library that suggested the great works of Western lit were mine alone to discover. ... The persistent feeling that the public library belonged to me, that it was a clean, well-lighted place built and kept open for one reader, was reinforced."
Roxane Gay: "We can no longer worship at the altar of creative genius while ignoring the price all too often paid for that genius. In truth, we should have learned this lesson long ago, but we have a cultural fascination with creative and powerful men who are also “mercurial” or “volatile,” with men who behave badly. There are all kinds of creative people who are brilliant and original and enigmatic and capable of treating others with respect. There is no scarcity of creative genius, and that is the artistic work we can and should turn to instead."
"In an 18-page court filing, Robert Cenedella alleges that a 'corporate museum cartel' engaged in an 'unlawful conspiracy' to manipulate the market for contemporary art. The lawsuit ... says the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the New Museum, and Museum of Modern Art all excluded Cenedella and 'innumerable other deserving artists' while driving up the prices of their collections."
"In their paper, titled Democratizing Art Markets: Fractional Ownership and the Securitization of Art, the authors, using historical sales data from the Leo Castelli gallery, have modelled a sample portfolio to determine what would have happened had Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg retained 10% equity in their own works sold by Castelli between 1958 and 1963."