Article

Matthew Beaman
Matthew Beaman 29 July 2015
Categories

The (Re)Death Of The Author

Can authorship and ownership really exist in the age of Instagram?

Our Photography Director Matthew Beaman applies the questions Roland Barthes first asked almost 50 years ago to the internet age.



The artist Richard Prince has spent the past thirty years questioning and challenging the idea of authorship. He famously appropriates imagery created by other people, adds small details of his own, and sells the ‘new’ pieces for vast sums of money. The most renowned – his Cowboys series, an appropriation of the original 1980s Marlboro Man campaign – became the first photograph to sell for more than $1 million, at a Christie’s auction in 2005.


The concept of appropriation in modern art is nothing new; talking about his readymade works, Marcel Duchamp famously said, “It’s the artist’s choice. He chooses what is art.” Many artists since have explored this philosophy, notably Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg, but despite Duchamp making this statement nearly a century ago, current works by artists such as Prince are still provocative – and his most recent piece is no exception.


His new body of work is called New Portraits, and consists of screenshots of Instagram posts taken from others’ accounts – including usernames and comments (to which he’s added his own). Blown up and printed on large format Inkjet paper, the prints were exhibited at Gagosian Gallery, priced at $90,000. They were promptly snapped up.


As digital publishing platforms continue to grow and shift and change, so too must copyright laws and parameters concerning image ownership. Prince’s new work is fascinating because of the questions it raises about copyright infringement and ownership in today’s world of social media sharing websites.


To what extent do we unwittingly collude with the likes of Prince when we voluntarily post our images on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook?

Easy access to imagery on the internet enables anyone to copy, edit and distribute images as they wish. As such, the link between the originator and their image is ever more weakened by technology. The role of the author becomes negligible, the power shifting to Prince, say, as the curator and interpreter of this overwhelming mass of imagery.


In this work, Richard Prince has tested the limits of ‘fair use’ copyright law, and asks important questions surrounding image ownership and the authorship of an artwork, so the work certainly succeeds art. Whether or not the prints are worth $90,000 a pop though, well, that’s another discussion altogether…

Original Article

 

Read More On Digital Doughnut

 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

The following infographic Illustrates the life of a Twitter Influencer and includes everything from earnings, cheatsheets and social movements started on Twitter. While Twitter may not be the most popular social channel it is still one of the most powerful channels to spark online conversation. If you're a Twitter influencer, this infographic is the ultimate guideline to your future tweets.

Chiara Di Rago
Chiara Di Rago 30 November 2016
Read more
50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

Today you can find Google Chrome extensions for almost anything that you can think about. In the sea of available extensions, it can be a hustle to choose which one are the best for your type of the business.

Aleksej Durdevic
Aleksej Durdevic 29 November 2016
Read more
Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

With social media platforms like Facebook holding well over 1.6 billion users world-wide (and counting), these digital platforms have become the new marketplace. In order to properly promote business brands and products or services, an online company needs to employ the services of a specialist known as a digital marketer.

Mohammad Farooq
Mohammad Farooq 29 November 2016
Read more