I take issue with both the words appropriated and plagiarism appearing in the following article’s title.

For better or worse, they are two different things. Activity and result. It’s a thin line between creative genius and stolen artwork.

ArtNet - Jeff Koons/Nef-Nef



And I'm no fan of appropriation art. See also: Richard Prince and art I've done in response to his works (which, based on this new blog, deserves a post of its own).

Fait D’hiver, 1985 advertisement versus Fait D’hiver, 1988 sculpture. Side by side.

It's derivative. It's not an exact copy. It's also an uninspired derivative... Koons swapped his then wife into the design, took out the booze/reference to being saved (like by a big mountain dog), and added some penguins.

But then again, it's an ad that's just leaning on the shock/out of place nature/juxtaposition of the subjects. So maybe the ad is uninspired, but maybe I just don't know the context well enough...

Is putting a fancy lady next to a pig low hanging fruit, conceptually? In 1985 was it?

But also, the original show that Koons' piece was created for was based on making derivative works. On purpose. Based on ads. This piece was made to specifically be a derivative. So... where does intent and permission come in here? Were there 10 other pieces? Was permission granted for any works if they were overtly derivative?

Do we just call this plagiarism because the original artist didn't give permission? Or are we just calling stolen artistic ideas with mildly different approaches "appropriation art"?

And what about it taking 30+ years for the original artist to know about the piece and bring suit?

Surely the original artist was paid for their designing the ad, as was the model for appearing in it. And the photographer for shooting it. And whoever else was involved.

I... assume the pig was a trained professional or a pet. And that it was not eaten, but was loved.

I want people to be original. Artists especially. Jeff Koons isn't particularly the most well known hero of the modern art world at this point. I don't care if he was or wasn't in 1988, in one case out of maybe a few dozen...

But a case does creates precedent. It this arena, this precedent, (from my point of view) stifles remix and re-imagining. By an inch only, maybe. But it takes that inch, without remorse.