Ryan McGinley Latest Artist to Be Hit With Copyright Suit

July 12, 2011 · Print This Article

Ryan McGinley is the latest artist to be hit with a copyright lawsuit, Rachel Corbett reports in Artnet. Janine Gordon, aka Jah Jah, an artist and rapper who was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial is suing McGinley, along with Levi Straus & Co. Inc., Jose Freire, Team Gallery Inc., Agnes B. Worldwide, Inc., and Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art. Gordon claims that for the past decade McGinley has been infringing on her work, which focuses on “risk-taking & thrill-seeking in various subcultural factions in society,” and takes the form of various media, including photography. Gordon is seeking $30,000 per infringement. In 2005 Janine Gordon also sued Dr. Dre and 50 Cent for copyright infringement, claiming that her songs  “Poppin’ At Da Club,” “Hardcore” and “Crazy Dreams,” among others – were used without her permission on 50 Cent’s album “The Massacre.”

Click on over to Artnet to take a look at the photographs that Gordon claims McGinley copied and judge for yourselves, although to me the comparison itself seems irrelevant. But beyond it’s reportage, Corbett’s article is a fun read for bits like this one:

McGinley’s guilt was compounded, at least in Gordon’s mind, in 2003, when she ran into him at a PS1 opening and he responded with “a fearful gasp and speedy retreat into the crowd,” according to the complaint.

Hee. Or this quote from Gordon:

“This is an art world travesty, when artists can freely steal from another artist for 10 years and be praised, paid and dance in the sun all day,” Gordon said in an email to Artnet News, adding that her prints go for $5,000 while those of her younger, more successful counterpart might go for $20,000.”

It’s that “dance in the sun all day” jab that’ll keep me laughing for the rest of the day.

Regardless, Gordon’s claims seem pretty specious. Seriously, can you really claim to hold copyright on the idea of bodies flying gracefully through the air? Much as I’d love to see a moratorium placed on such imagery, this is obviously not the way to go about it. Looks like Richard Prince’s loss may be the gain of artists like Gordon, and everyone’s lawyers, of course.

Janine Gordon, The Real Deal. From the "Stunts" series.

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