During the early part of November, I had the distinct pleasure of traveling to the lovely cities of Buenos Aires, Bogota, and Caracas to present seminars on contemporary art, property, and the commons.

Photo courtesy of the Universidad di Tella and Bruno Dubner.

Photo courtesy of the Universidad di Tella and Bruno Dubner, November 2013.

My seminar, Contemporary Art and Intellectual Property: Appropriation and Copyright Law, was presented in conjunction with the third edition of the Seminario Fundación Cisneros at Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in Caracas.

The seminars were extremely well-received, lasting over 5 hours in each venue. The participants — comprised of artists, art students, writers, lawyers and curators — were very well prepared and presented differing views and engaged in lively debate. In general, the three audiences tended to be pro-copyright and pro-artist rights, and made no aesthetic or class distinctions between Patrick Cariou and Richard Prince and Art Rogers and Jeff Koons. We also spent some time discussing the Associated Press v. Shepard Fairey and Cariou v. Prince lawsuits, Andy Warhol’s early work, Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing,” and The Pictures Generation work of Levine, Lawler, Prince, and Kruger.

Although they were interested in the idea of sharing and a digital commons, they were also quite interested in learning about the foundations of property and intellectual property, which we discussed. We ended with a brief discussion of the 5Pointz “graffiti mecca” and the current deaccessioning debate concerning the Detroit Institute of Art’s art collection.

I want to thank the following curators and artists who helped make these seminars such a wonderful event, including Ines Katzenstein in Buenos Aires; Mariangela Mendez Prencke and Lucas Ospina in Bogota, and Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy in Caracas. I cannot express how happy I am with the outcome.

If you’re interested in reading the list of books, articles, and essays I used for these seminars, please view the suggested bibliography. I’d love to hear any comments, questions or suggestions, so please feel free to contact me.

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