Art Dirt: Jeff Koons’ Moonshot + Warhol’s Fair Use Case Goes to the Supreme Court

by Glasstire April 10, 2022
A black and white photograph of the singer Prince, on the right. On the left, the photo is overlaid with a portrait of the singer by Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol’s Prince portrait overlaid on top of the original Lynn Goldsmith photograph of the musician, as reproduced in court documents

William Sarradet and Brandon Zech talk about Jeff Koons’ ploy to send artwork to the moon, and discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a fair use case against Andy Warhol.

“In some instances, the judges, in their opinions in these cases, delve into a sort of art criticism.” 

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This week’s podcast is sponsored in part by SFAI and Littleglobe, two Santa Fe-based arts nonprofits committed to collaboration as a way to support artists, creative practitioners, and culture bearers. “Santa Fe Stories from the Inside Out” are Littleglobe TV (LGTV) episodes and SFAI Tilt podcasts that highlight the histories and experiences of the people who make Santa Fe a diverse, creative place to live and work. Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes: LGTV on April 13th and Tilt on April 22nd! Learn more here.

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Related Reading:
Glasstire: Art Dirt: What are NFTs and how did one sell for $69 million?
Glasstire: Art Dirt: NFTs: Where are they now?
The Art Newspaper: Jeff Koons reveals he is making NFTs, details plans for his Pace Gallery shows and remembers his hotel rendezvous with Salvador Dalí
The Art Newspaper: One giant leap for Jeff Koons: artist to send his sculptures to the moon
Jeff Koons Moon Phases Website
Artnet News: As Part of His NFT Debut, Jeff Koons Will Launch Sculptures Into Space and Place Them Permanently on the Moon
Houston Chronicle: Moody Center show explores how Apollo 11 influenced art
Glasstire: Out of this World: UFO and Space Art
Paul Van Hoeydonck’s Fallen Astronaut
ARTnews: Copy Rights
NY Times: Supreme Court to Hear Copyright Fight Over Andy Warhol’s Images of Prince
Artnet News: An Appeals Court Rules That Andy Warhol Violated a Photographer’s Copyright by Using Her Image of Prince Without Credit
Artforum: Supreme Court to Hear Warhol Copyright Infringement Case
ARTnews: The Supreme Court Will Hear Lawsuit Over Whether Warhol Committed Copyright Infringement
NY Times: Warhol a Lame Copier? The Judges Who Said So Are Sadly Mistaken.
IPWatchdog: Second Circuit Delivers Blow for Fair Use in Warhol’s Prince Photograph Case
Hyperallergic: Long-Running Andy Warhol Copyright Dispute Reaches Supreme Court
Legal Information Institute: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music
Supreme Court Brief for the Warhol Case


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Jack April 10, 2022 - 10:34

Thought you might find this Glasstire video on the Moon Museum of interest. It’s still posted here on Vimeo , but the Glasstire link seems broken.

Julie Speed April 11, 2022 - 10:49

I think the distinctions of what is or is not transformative are clear in at least three of the examples you talked about. Brandon used the example of gluing a corporate logo into a collage. Because the subject of the finished image is not burgers but composition, it would without a doubt be transformed. The second example was Warhol’s 1964 Brillo box. The idea at the time was that declaring yourself an artist gives you the authority to point at things and declare them art. (DuChamp’s Fountain was 1917 so no new thing) This idea has always annoyed the hell out of me because it’s egotistical and condescending …..but the art world still lives by it so yes, by those lights the Brillo box was also transformed BUT in the Lynn Goldsmith/ Andy Warhol suit I think it’s pretty clear that a black and white photograph of a celebrity is not transformed by coloring it in. Its basic function is still to depict that celebrity.


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