Help Us Brainstorm This Grant Application!

(c)ensorship

There's a grant out there that's practically begging QuestionCopyright.org to apply, from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This is the paragraph that jumps out (emphasis added):

"Grants are also made to support efforts to strengthen areas that directly affect the context in which artists work. In 2006 the Foundation formally designated one of its grants The Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Award to recognize the work of organizations with a deep-seated commitment to preserving and defending the First Amendment rights of artists. Named in honor of the Foundation's former Board Chair, the grant rewards outstanding advocacy, legal, and curatorial efforts on behalf of those whose rights to free expression have been challenged..."

Maybe they're not thinking right now of copyright as a force for censorship — but explaining that is a central part of our mission, and we might as well start with this grant application (see the previous post, for example). QuestionCopyright might have a shot at getting a good project funded here, and we'd like your help brainstorming some possibilities.

One idea is to propose as a project the parts of the Minute Memes that deal directly with censorship:

Or we could do something involving Sita Sings the Blues, Nina Paley's award-winning film that was almost censored into obscurity by copyright restrictions, or that film combined with other works that have been censored (and that therefore the public hasn't seen). Another possibility is the Ghost Works Survey (and look over our projects page for some more).

But mainly, we'd love to hear your ideas! Two heads are better than one; hundreds of heads are better than two. What is the most compelling project we can come up with — preferably involving the visual arts — to demonstrate the connection between copyright and censorship?

The application deadline is September 1st. Please put your ideas as comments on this post, and don't worry about any idea being too silly — this is a brainstorm. We'll winnow it down and turn in the best application we can.

Thoughts?

2 Comments

Andy Warhol and appropriated material

Andy Warhol himself had an interesting attitude about the possession of artistic material and ideas. Of course he appropriated a lot of stuff, for example he made paintings of newspaper pages or pieces thereof. The famous electric chair series are, I believe, from a newspaper clipping. There was the packaging of Brillo and many other common commercial objects, the necessary material of Pop Art (although of course AW didn't invent this -- it has a long history). I doubt if Chairman Mao sat for a portrait; that, too, must have come from the media. The justly famed Marilyn Monroe paintings are from publicity photos. On the other side, he was pretty blase about people taking stuff from him. For instance, one of the people who worked for him took a lot of his silk screens and made screen prints from them at his own place. Warhol thought this was okay, but he took exception to the other guy signing his, Warhol's, name to them, which he thought was sort of cheesy. I think one could argue that QC was taking an essentially Warholian attitude towards artistic material and work. Unfortunately, since I lack a scholar's memory, I can't cite chapter and verse on this subject, but my recollections probably derive either from Bob Colacello's book or the Andy Warhol Diaries.

-- Gordon