List of Plagiarism Controversies - in The Arts - Visual Arts

Visual Arts

  • Andy Warhol faced a series of law-suits from photographers whose work he appropriated and silk-screened. Patricia Caulfield, one such photographer, had taken a picture of flowers for a photography demonstration for a photography magazine. Warhol had covered the walls of Leo Castelli's New York gallery in 1964 with the silk-screened reproductions of Caulfield's photograph. After seeing a poster of their work in a bookstore, Caulfield claimed ownership of the image and while Warhol was the author of the successful silk screens, he settled out of court, giving Caulfield a royalty for future use of the image as well as two of the paintings. Warhol's famous Campbell's Soup Cans, however, are generally held to be non-infringing, despite being clearly appropriated, because "the public was unlikely to see the painting as sponsored by the soup company or representing a competing product. Paintings and soup cans are not in themselves competing products", according to expert trademark lawyer Jerome Gilson.
  • In 2010, in The Jackdaw, Charles Thomson said there were 15 cases where Hirst had plagiarised other work. Examples cited were Joseph Cornell who had created a similar piece to Hirst's Pharmacy in 1943; Lori Precious who had made stained-glass window effects from butterfly wings from 1994, a number of years before Hirst; and John LeKay who did a crucified sheep in 1987. Thomson said that Hirst's spin paintings and installation of a ball on a jet of air were not original, since similar pieces had been made in the 1960s. A spokesperson for Hirst said the article was "poor journalism" and that Hirst would be making a "comprehensive" rebuttal of the claims.

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