a tale of a few cities

Licensing slip up: Velvet Underground sues over Giorgio de Chirico banana symbols

The Uncertainty of the Poet,  1913
L’Incertitude du poète

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Rock group The Velvet Underground filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to stop any future exhibition/reproduction of Giorgio de Chirico’s 1913 masterwork, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

The 1960s rock band formed by Lou Reed and John Cale accused the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico of trademark infringement, retroactively claiming in a lawsuit that the use of banana symbols are synonymous with The Velvet Underground.

Each of the bananas featured in de Chirico’s iconic artwork bare an uncanny resemblance to the banana featured on the cover of Velvet Underground’s 1967 album “The Velvet Underground and Nico.”

The fact that de Chrico’s work was created decades earlier was not mentioned in the lawsuit.

Although Velvet Underground broke up in 1973, the album later came to be regarded as one of the best albums of all time, and was also referred to as “The Banana Album”.

“The symbol has become so identified with The Velvet Underground … that members of the public, particularly those who listen to rock music, immediately recognize the use of bananas as a symbol of The Velvet Underground,” the complaint added.

The lawsuit said the aging control freaks behind the band had repeatedly asked the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico to cease all future exhibition and further reproduction of the 1913 work, The Uncertainty of the Poet.

Velvet Underground is seeking an injunction stopping the use of banana symbols by other parties, a declaration that the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico has no retroactive copyright interest in the use of banana symbols, unspecified damages and a share of previous profits made by the Fondazione Giorgio de Chirico from any licensing deals of the iconic artwork.


Benetton is Back…

Self-Confessedly Sharing in the Spirit of a Mass Murderer

Posted in humour, Photography, politics by petercombe on June 28, 2011

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy & presidential candidate Michele Bachmann

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Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too,” Ms. Bachmann said in an interview with Fox News after announcing her presidential campaign in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. She appears to be just a bit confused about the town’s history of favorite sons. John Wayne the actor, was not from Waterloo; John Wayne Gacy the serial killer was.

Blunder aside, sharing in the spirit of John Wayne aka The Duke (born Marion Morrison), is not the most desirable of attributes. US foreign policy reflects the love of John Wayne. George Bush grew up watching Wayne. He wanted to be Wayne too. It has been said that US foreign policy has been shaped by the Duke, who influenced not only Bush, but O’Reilly, Limbaugh and the rest, even Ann Coulter.

Why Michele Bachmann loves herself some John Wayne >  

Bachmann bomblets raising eyebrows >  

Anish Kapoor Blows Off UK Now

Posted in Art, artists, boycott, China, London, Photography, politics, protests by petercombe on June 16, 2011

(Photo: Johnny Shand-Kydd)


LONDON. Anish Kapoor has cancelled plans to present his sculptures at the National Museum of China in Beijing, in protest against the continuing detention of Ai Weiwei. He had been asked by the British Council to consider a show at the newly renovated museum in Tiananmen Square as part the “UK Now” festival in China late next year.

Kapoor’s spokeswoman confirmed to The Art Newspaper that he had been invited to China, but “he is not going to proceed in view of the detention of Ai Weiwei.” Ai, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, was arrested in Beijing in early April for alleged “economic crimes”.

Discussions began about a potential exhibition at the National Museum of China last October, when two directors of London’s Lisson Gallery (which represents Kapoor, stand 2.1/K12 at Art Basel) were in Beijing. Provisional plans were subsequently made for Kapoor to travel to Beijing this month to view the space and talk with the museum. The idea would have been to mount an exhibition with a major new work.

Kapoor has been outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government’s treatment of Ai Weiwei, since his detention on 3 April. On 10 May, when he opened his Leviathan installation at the Grand Palais in Paris, he dedicated it to the Chinese artist, describing his detention as “barbaric”. Once Kapoor had spoken out, it was realised that his participation in the “UK Now” festival would be difficult. A British Council spokeswoman stressed that the exhibition proposal had been at “a very early stage, and until he had seen the space we could not have proceeded”.

British Council chief executive Martin Davidson believes in “freedom of cultural expression”, but is keen for the programme to go ahead. He commented: “It is through cultural exchange that we best demonstrate the benefits of free artistic expression and build supportive links between people in the UK and China.”

The Art Newspaper >

Glitter, the new ‘Pie in The Face’

Posted in Photography, politics, protests by petercombe on May 18, 2011

Photo: Associated Press

A protester by the name of Nick Espinosa dumps glitter on a table where GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, were signing books at a hotel in Minneapolis, Tuesday May 17, 2011. The man approached the Gingriches during the signing at a downtown Minneapolis hotel, dumped a cracker box full of confetti on the pair and said, “Feel the rainbow, Newt! Stop the hate! Stop anti-gay politics!”

Espinosa later told ABC News, “I don’t think a free will adulterer like Newt has any ground to stand on while telling others who they can and can’t love.”

 VIDEO >

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