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Analysis | Solution to Evan Birnholz's July 3 crossword, “State of the Art” – The Washington Post



The crossword tournament Boswords is returning for another event on Sunday, July 24. It takes place at The Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury, Mass. They’re holding it both in person and as a virtual event and registration is now open. I may not be able to attend this year, but I’ve attended it in the past and have taken part in several of their virtual tournaments and themeless leagues and they always do a good job.

We’ve got a big puzzle on our hands this weekend (23×23 squares, 182 answers) and it has a meta. The instructions say we’re looking for a Grammy Award-winning song. The first thing to do is to look at the longest entries since those are likely theme answers:

  • 23A: [Some luau tops] is ALOHA SHIRTS.
  • 25A: [The Ganges flows into it] is BAY OF BENGAL.
  • 40A: [Insects also known as Florida woods cockroaches] is PALMETTO BUGS.
  • 45A: [Diamond shapers, for instance] is GEM CUTTERS.
  • 67A: [Extortion scheme involving humans, not weasel family animals as the name suggests] is BADGER GAME.
  • 72A: [Policemen in shorts] is KEYSTONE KOPS.
  • 83A: [Opening book of Tamora Pierce’s “Protector of the Small” series] is “FIRST TEST.”
  • 99A: [Top 10 title for Peter Frampton and Styx] is “SHOW ME THE WAY.” They’re different songs with different lyrics, but here is Peter Frampton’s song, and here it is for Styx.
  • 102A: [What Meriwether Lewis called a “barking squirrel”] is PRAIRIE DOG.
  • 127A: [Rodents’ river structures] is BEAVER DAMS.
  • 131A: [Fruity diner dessert] is PEACH COBBLER.
  • 148A: [Subject of the beauty blog Afrobella] is NATURAL HAIR.
  • 152A: [Baking apparatus that resembles an insect nest] is BEEHIVE OVEN.

There’s also a meta-related hint at 162A: [Like the third letters of three-letter answers (many of which you’ll need to solve the meta)] which is LAST (appropriately the last Across entry in the grid). So, we’ll need to find some relevant three-letter answers, but let’s focus on the longer answers first.

Those 13 thematic answers above have something in common, though it may not be apparent at first glance. The title gives a key hint: they’re related to states. The theme answers begin with keywords from U.S. state nicknames. It may take some Googling to confirm them if you don’t know them by heart (I certainly don’t), but here they are:

  • ALOHA SHIRTS Aloha State Hawaii
  • BAY OF BENGAL Bay State Massachusetts
  • PALMETTO BUGS Palmetto State South Carolina
  • GEM CUTTERS Gem State Idaho
  • BADGER GAME Badger State Wisconsin
  • KEYSTONE KOPS Keystone State Pennsylvania
  • FIRST TEST First State Delaware
  • SHOW ME THE WAY Show-Me State Missouri
  • PRAIRIE DOG Prairie State Illinois
  • BEAVER DAMS Beaver State Oregon
  • PEACH COBBLER Peach State Georgia
  • NATURAL HAIR Natural State Arkansas
  • BEEHIVE OVEN Beehive State Utah

Here is where the second step comes in. Whenever you’re led to U.S. states in a metapuzzle, one of the first things to list out is their two-letter postal abbreviations. You’ll find all of them in the grid at various three-letter answers, where the first two letters are the abbreviation and the third is an extra meta letter:

  • Hawaii HI → HIT at 151D: [Thwack]
  • Massachusetts MA → MAH at 4D: [___-jongg]
  • South Carolina SC → SCI at 47D: [Ecol., e.g.]
  • Idaho ID → IDS at 104D: [DOB bearers, often]
  • Wisconsin WI → WII at 100D: [“Metroid Prime 3: Corruption” system]
  • Pennsylvania PA → PAS at 124A: [Faux ___ (slip-up)]
  • Delaware DE → DEA at 106A: [Org. in the film “Traffic”]
  • Missouri MOM → MOM at 27A: [Blythe, to Gwyneth]
  • Illinois IL → ILE at 120A: [Land in l’Adriatique, e.g.]
  • Oregon OR → ORR at 119D: [Bassist Benjamin]
  • Georgia GA → GAI at 58A: [Moo goo ___ pan]
  • Arkansas AR → ARC at 41D: [Hammer throw path]
  • Utah UT → UTA at 17D: [Acting teacher Hagen]

Take those 13 extra letters in thematic order, and you spell out the 2018 Childish Gambino Grammy-Award winning song “THIS IS AMERICA.” If you’ve never heard of it, you can watch the music video here.

This meta idea was a holdover from my files from last year. I remember toying with the phrase “country music” and wanted to hint at “This Is America” for the 4th of July in 2021 using different song titles that hit the Billboard charts, but instead I shelved that for a Declaration of Independence-themed puzzle and used the music meta mechanism for the puzzle “Places, Please” the next month. For today’s puzzle, I originally wanted to use the 13 original U.S. states and their nicknames since that would match the number of letters in THIS IS AMERICA. The problem was that Virginia’s nickname (The Old Dominion) messed it up. There are only a handful of phrases that begin with OLD DOMINION (like OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY and its athletic teams, the OLD DOMINION MONARCHS), and those were way too long for as much theme material as I needed. In any case, there was no need to stick only to states admitted to the Union in the late 18th century.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your 4th of July weekend. What did you think?

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Want to own a piece of original artwork for just $5? You should play this lotto –



Left: an acrylic and oil painting by Montreal-based painter David Bellemare, titled 21st Century Nagual. Right: handblown glass vase by Kayla Francis Della-Nebbia. (David Bellemare/Kayla Francis Della-Nebbia)

We all know original art can be expensive. But what if I told you that for just five bucks — and a little luck — you could buy an original work of art, while also supporting the artist as well as an important cause within the community? If that sounds too good to be true, well, then you just don’t know about ArtLotto yet.

Like so many artists, ArtLotto’s founder, Gabriel Baribeau, has struggled with an existential matter throughout his career. “Why am I doing this?” the artist will ask himself. “What is this for?” 

He wonders: “How can I make my art serve the people? How can I make my art politically powerful?” And, at the same time, he wonders: how can he make his art accessible?

Primarily known as a painter, Baribeau has had success in commercial settings before — but he doesn’t want to sell his work only to the wealthy. He wants to share it with friends and family, he says. But his labour requires compensation.

“I’m sitting there often feeling absurd, having multiple people say, ‘Oh, I wish I could own your art.’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah, well, here’s my hilarious price. Can you meet that?'”

So, disenchanted with traditional models of art commerce, Baribeau has come up with what seems to be a winning DIY solution: what if you raffle the art?

A sculptural jewelry holder with earrings by artist Jesse Hiss. (Jesse Hiss)

The Hamilton-based artist began ArtLotto in January 2021, launching the experiment with an oil painting of his own. (It pictured a person bobbing for apples, which, if coincidence, is an apt one.) ArtLotto has since raffled the work of some 20 other creators, raising thousands of dollars for the artists as well as thousands more for community causes close to their hearts. Entry tickets to win the artworks — some of which could fetch hundreds or even thousands if sold by a dealer — cost just $5 each. 

“It is built to be a disruptor of the single-wealthy-buyer model that the art world runs on,” Baribeau says. He emphasizes, though, that it doesn’t dispel the idea that art ownership is mainly for the rich. The raffle can only give people a small chance to play in the game.

Beyond its novel luck-of-the-draw feature, what really sets ArtLotto apart is the way it splits the revenue pie. Typically, galleries take half the sticker price of an artwork, leaving the other half for the art-maker. ArtLotto, on the other hand, takes 20 per cent (or $1 from each ticket) of raffle proceeds to cover base costs, like shipping and website maintenance. The remaining 80 per cent is then split between the artist and a social initiative of their choosing.

Left: an acrylic painting by Montreal-based artist Katie McDonald titled Release. Right: a diorama by Hamilton-based artist Andrea Flockhart, titled The Sin Eater. (Katie McDonald/Andrea Flockhart)

This added dimension seeks partly to answer that ever-present ache: “What is this for?” The act of art-making alone “isn’t in any way altruistic,” Baribeau says. “That’s the problem that leaves a lot of these artists who want to be good people squirming.” Giving the art a social mission, as ArtLotto does, enables the artist’s work to do good directly in their community — and do it without costing the artist their livelihood. Some of the causes ArtLotto has benefitted thus far include the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, Sex Workers’ Action Program Hamilton and Resilience Montreal. One of the first questions Baribeau asks any prospective raffle artist is who would they like to help. 

As for the art on offer, ArtLotto’s curatorial tastes are eclectic, with an inclination toward the psychedelic and the adventurous. Baribeau selects the artists himself, featuring creators whose work he admires with nary a concern for CV highlights or exhibition credentials. That means a wildly talented high school student might star in one lotto, while the work of an MFA who’s shown internationally might comprise another. Baribeau invites the artist to contribute whatever work they want, whether it’s their most saleable, something new and challenging, or a piece they’d just really like to liquidate. Some works would be gallery darlings, while some would never make it through the doorways of a traditional commercial space. But ArtLotto “levels the playing field,” Baribeau says.

Usually, I’m at a market and I’m talking to hundreds of people and I’m really hustling to get that sale…This process involved none of that.– Sonali Menezes, artist

Without the white cube’s high art context, ticket buyers respond to raffle items simply because they admire them, and appreciation alone establishes value. A charcoal drawing by the London, U.K.-based artist Sara Anstis, for example, inspired another Londoner — “presumably a collector,” Baribeau says — to snatch up a ton of tickets. “They were buying the win,” he says. But ArtLotto’s randomizer favoured a different admirer. When Baribeau reached out to congratulate the winner, he shared a bit about the artist’s impressive background with them. And they said: “I’m glad you told me, cuz I was gonna Scotch tape it to my kid’s wall…. I just liked it.”

Perhaps ArtLotto’s biggest success, however, is the fact that it’s more or less sustainable for artists. Participants are not offering up their works at a painful discount — the raffle model often raises roughly the target price they would regularly receive for the item, Baribeau says. “And, in some cases, it hits way above that mark.”

Sonali Menezes, whose interdisciplinary practice includes printmaking, zinemaking, performance, video and poetry, was one of ArtLotto’s very first artists. “Usually, I’m at a market and I’m talking to hundreds of people and I’m really hustling to get that sale,” she says, “to make up the tabling cost and the transportation costs, the printing costs, my lunch. There’s a fair bit of stress and anxiety around ‘Will I break even? Will I make a profit?’ And this process involved none of that.” Her print, The Hairy Bather, raised more than double its target price. 

Another successful lotto featured Hamilton-based painter Kareem-Anthony Ferreira, whose star has grown internationally over the past few years (yes, that’s his work hanging in LeBron James’ dining room). Ferreira contributed a print portrait of his Aunty Pam with raffle proceeds supporting the Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra, the local steelpan band his mom co-founded nearly 20 years ago. The art was about family and the raffle supported a cause dear to the family, so the Ferreiras and their community supported the lotto enthusiastically.

“It’s this kind of continuous thing,” Ferreira says, “giving back to the community, using my talent and heritage to give back to that program, which is itself giving back … I’ve already told Gabe to slot me in again.”

A silkscreen print by Hamilton-based artist Kareem-Anthony Ferreira called Aunty Pam. (Kareem-Anthony Ferreira)

Baribeau considers this a rare example of a “closed loop” — when all stakeholders (the artist, the social cause and the audience) are intimately connected. It is a powerful dynamic, and one he’d like to emulate in future raffles. In fact, as the project grows, Baribeau would like ArtLotto to do less of the sort of philanthropic work that simply airdrops one-time donations to area charities and organizations and do more direct service within the community that ArtLotto is itself building. He can imagine classes, workshops, grants and sponsorships all funded by ArtLotto. This sort of social development, after all, is the true strength of the project.

The raffle will not overturn the way the larger art market does business, but that was never its mission. Instead, ArtLotto emphasizes that “there are artists everywhere in your community,” Baribeau says. “Its goal is to show that and to better connect artists to their community.”

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Was Warhol's Transformative Art Transformative Enough? – New York University



NYU Law’s Amy Adler examines the role of fair use in contemporary art law ahead of the Supreme Court hearing of Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith

Andy Warhol popularized the notion that everyone would eventually experience 15 minutes of fame. But even he couldn’t predict that someday, posthumously, he and Prince would be the headliners in a case headed to the US Supreme Court.  

Litigation in The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith began in 2017, when the art foundation preemptively sued celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who alleged copyright infringement by Warhol on a portrait she took of Prince. Goldsmith photographed the musician  in 1981, and licensed the black and white portrait to Vanity Fair for an article titled “PURPLE FAME” in 1984. Warhol then cropped and colored the image , and its edited version appeared in the magazine. Before Warhol passed away in 1987, he created 15 more images from  that  same original Prince photo. 

When Prince died in 2016, Vanity Fair printed one of them, which prompted Goldsmith’s claims of copyright infringement. Much of the litigation focused on whether or not Warhol had transformed Goldsmith’s photograph to give it new meaning, which  is central to the Foundation’s argument that Warhol’s design is legal under the fair use doctrine. 

So what constitutes fair use? Fair use doctrine permits third parties to use copyrighted work without an owner’s permission. The work may be used for news reporting, teaching, research, and other purposes. 

Under the Copyright Act, four factors are considered in determining fair use: (1) the purpose and character of the use; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

In 2019, Judge John G. Koeltl of the Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of the Warhol Foundation, saying that Warhol had adequately transformed the photograph “from a vulnerable, uncomfortable person to an iconic, larger-than-life figure.” But shortly thereafter, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York reversed Judge Koeltl’s ruling.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear this dispute in its new term, which begins in October 2022. In the past, the  court has deemed a work transformative if it “adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message.”  

NYU News spoke with Emily Kempin Professor of Law Amy Adler about fair use in contemporary art law and the implications of this dispute’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Adler is a leading expert on art law and the First Amendment.

After the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed Judge Koetl’s ruling, the Warhol Foundation argued that the ruling “casts a cloud of legal uncertainty over an entire genre of visual art” and would threaten “a sea-change in the law of copyright.” What makes this case novel? 

As with so much of Warhol’s art, the paintings in this case were based on an underlying photograph taken by someone else. Here Warhol’s works were based on a photograph of the musician Prince, taken by Patricia Goldsmith, a well-known rock and roll photographer. Warhol’s traditional working method in painting and prints relied on underlying photographic images. The images of Prince at issue in this case fit into his genre of paintings based on photographs of celebrities; his most famous works in this genre are his portraits of Jackie Kennedy and Marylin Monroe. One of his Marylin Monroe paintings sold at auction this spring for $195,000,000.

At stake in the Supreme Court case is a fundamental question pivotal to contemporary art: how much can an artist build on previous work to create new work? So much creativity, not just in art but across all fields, depends on the answer to that question. The implications of this case are not just for visual art; the implications are for creativity itself.  Everything is up for grabs right now.

What is fair use and why does it matter?

Fair use is a defense to copyright infringement.  In this case, the Andy Warhol Foundation is arguing that Warhol copied the underlying image—of course he copied that image—but he did so for reasons that go to the very heart of why we have copyright in the first place. Copyright law exists to stimulate the production of new works, new ideas, new messages, new meanings, and new creativity. The Warhol estate argues that Warhol used Goldsmith’s copyrighted work in a way that did not violate copyright law, but instead fulfilled copyright’s very goal: to further new creativity for the benefit of the public.  

It’s important to see that fair use—rather than a minor exception in copyright law—is instead at copyright’s center. It ensures that creators can create new works by building on old works, a process that is essential to creativity itself and thus to the very goal copyright exists to promote.

Fair use is also urgent because it’s one of the only two places in which the First Amendment provides a check on the limited monopoly that copyright affords to creators. The Supreme Court has explained that fair use is a First Amendment “safeguard.” The fair use check on copyright is essential to ensure that copyright functions as an “engine of free expression” rather than an obstacle to it. 

Which of the four “fair use” factors do you anticipate will be the hardest part of making a ruling for the Supreme Court?

The first factor, the” purpose and character” of the use, presents a challenge. In the past twenty years, this factor, which generally turns on a determination of whether the new work “transforms” the previous work, giving it new meaning, message, purpose, or character, has generated huge amounts of litigation and legal scholarship.

When evaluating what makes an Andy Warhol painting of the musician different from Patricia Goldsmith’s photograph, we must consider the “meaning and message” of his art. Warhol’s entire body of work was an inquiry into questions about the nature of art itself, and into a world that was increasingly dominated by photography, celebrity, and pop culture. He was asking questions such as: What is the difference between pop culture and “high” art? What is the nature of photography? How should we think about originality and authorship in mediums like photography which are capable of unlimited copies?  Coming on the heels of mid-century abstract expressionism in art, Warhol was destabilizing the idea of an original, authentic work of art. He was ultimately a philosopher of art, perhaps even more than an artist. This is why Warhol changed the history of art. If the point of copyright law is to promote creativity, then it seems obvious that we would want to protect an artist like Warhol. 

But this presents a huge problem for courts. We certainly don’t want courts to play favorites and to value only famous artists. But there’s a deeper problem: To understand what makes Warhol’s work different from Goldsmith’s for purposes of fair use requires courts to adjudicate the “meaning and message” of art—and that is a preposterous position for courts to be in. But the danger is that if courts don’t do so or don’t find some way to find a proxy for the meaning and message of art, then art and creativity will be eviscerated. Of course Warhol was creating a new meaning and message— but how should courts understand that this is the enterprise he was engaging in and how should the Supreme Court guide lower courts. This is such a difficult line to draw, and yet drawing it is essential for copyright law and for the free speech values it promotes. 

The other most prominent factor is the fourth, which examines the effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work. If the second work acts as a market substitute for the first, thus usurping demand, that weighs against a finding of fair use. 

What makes this case and its elevation to the Supreme Court unique?

It’s the first time the Court has considered fair use in an artistic context in almost 30 years, when the Court explored fair use in music, and will be the first Supreme Court case addressing fair use in the visual arts. Last year the Supreme Court decided a significant case involving fair use of computer code, but the question of fair use in the visual arts has been an extraordinarily prominent and vexed problem for lower courts for years. People are holding their breath awaiting the outcome of this case. I know I’ve been holding my breath for a long time waiting for the Court to make a pronouncement here.

Several groups of art and law professors, as well as the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and Brooklyn Museum have filed amicus briefs in support of the Warhol Foundation. What will the Supreme Court be looking for when reviewing them?  

One thing foundations and museums have emphasized in their amicus briefs is that the Court must understand how important copying is to creativity in visual art. The museums want to protect artistic progress and they recognize that to do so, artists must have some room to build on, allude to, and transform works that came before them. 

I also co-authored an amicus in this case, weighing in on the First Amendment implications of this decision because, as I mentioned previously, fair use embodies not just notions that are central to copyright law itself and to creativity, but also to the First Amendment. The right to express yourself sometimes requires you to draw on existing images or existing ideas. I think it’s so important for the Court to consider that fair use fulfills not only copyright values, but First Amendment ones as well. This case therefore has significant implications not only for the future of creativity, but also for free speech. 

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MOCAT hosting community art dialogues ahead of art show on Overdose Awareness Day – Mission City Record



Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), the Mission Overdose Community Action Team (MOCAT) is hosting a series of community art dialogues throughout August, dubbed Beyond Abstracts: Do You See What I See.

They are inviting Mission residents to join the sessions at the Mission Friendship Centre and other locations, where colourful abstract artwork will be created connected to the topic of B.C.’s toxic drug poisoning health emergency.

Art materials are supplied and no art experience is needed.

“People’s thoughts on abstract art can be quite diverse, we all see something different. Much the same with concepts like harm reduction, which can also seem abstract, and are often misunderstood” says Judith Pellerin, co-chair of the MOCAT.

“The sessions are a good way to connect people from different walks of life, learn other perspectives, and discover common ground.”

On IOAD on Aug. 31, the artwork will be on display at different businesses along 1st Avene for the Beyond Abstracts Community Art Show. The show is being held with the support of the Mission Downtown Business Association.

Live music, resource tables, refreshments, naloxone training and more dialogue on the topic will also happen at the event, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m.

For more information on the art sessions, contact MOCAT Coordinator Kat Wahamaa at 604-679-4463.

B.C. overdosesMission

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