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Milton Glaser on Shepard Fairey and Plagiarism permalink

Source: www.printmag.com

Karen Horton / (1) / posted over 5 years ago / flag this / read more



A new article in Print magazine brings to the surface many of the gray areas of fair use, plagiarism, referencing, and appropriation. In Milton Glaser's opinion, "...For myself—this is subjective—I find the relationship between Fairey’s work and his sources discomforting. Nothing substantial has been added..."

If infact Shepard Fairey's usage of the Barack Obama image was not "fair use", this will open up further questioning on much of the design and illustration work taking place today.
The image grid above shows the Marcel Duchamp profile image Milton Glaser's refers to in the Print interview.

image credits below:

top left: Marcel Duchamp. Self-Portrait in Profile, 1958
top right: Milton Glaser. Dylan, 1966
bottom left: Mannie Garcia. Photo of Barack Obama, 2006
bottom right: Shepard Fairey. Hope, 2008


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Marc Hummel said on April 30, 2009

Milton Glaser must've taken one look at Shephard Fairey's Obama poster and written it off as one of those trendy "computery" pieces and shelved it away with all those Matisse paintings he has stored up there. To suggest that Fairey's "HOPE" poster offers "no significant alteration [or improvement over]" the original Associated Press photograph of the President is completely misguided and a huge mischaracterization of Fairey's contribution to the campaign. I'm all for attribution. But I'm certain no one saw the picture of Obama next to an article about loose-cannon Joe Biden and said to themselves, "Hey, that'd make a great poster for Mr. Obama – I'm going to send it over to my local campaign office and see if they pick up on it. I hope they shot that thing with at least a ten mega-pixeler... they're gonna have to blow it up pretty freakin' big." Nobody would've hung it on their wall. Mr. Glaser was certainly expressing a genuine artistic concern. No one wants to have their work ripped off, and I applaud him for being a champion of intellectual property rights. But I think this is about something different. Is Mr. Glaser skeptical of Obama's dedication to reform? Does he regret his decision to remain visually apolitical this election cycle? Does he resent Mr. Fairey's tight-rope walk between the lines dividing "fine art" and "street art"? Shephard Fairey's "HOPE" poster took a stock photo and turned it into a meaningful brand for a worthy candidate. For proof of its relevance you needn't look further than the countless knock-offs it spurred, like the Palin "NOPE" stickers. A divided country – symbolized by the red and blue shadows which converge in the center of Obama's face – embody a familiar campaign mantra: "[The soldiers fighting in Iraq] did not serve a red America or a blue America, they served the United States of America [1]." Moreover, Mr. Fairey donated all proceeds from his Obama merch right back to the campaign. To say that these accomplishments add "nothing significant" to what started as a photo in the newspaper couldn't be further from the mark. [1] From a campaign speech in Canton, Ohio on October 28, 2008.
 

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