I walked into Crew’s and Tango’s, a queer bar in Toronto, and my senses were flooded with light, glitter, wafts of vodka cranberries, and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” blaring on the speakers as a drag queen performed.
Ivory Towers, a drag queen fashioned with caution tape as a bodysuit that matched their vibrant yellow hair, led an entranced crowd through the last stanzas of the song. Their stage presence was as powerful as their black thigh-high stilettos.
When Helena Poison joined the stage in an incredible pair of ass-less chaps with rainbow fringe going down the pant leg, the two engaged in banter with the crowd members, all of whom hung onto their every word.
Drag performers like Towers and Posion have had to create a space for themselves in an outwardly heteronormative and patriarchal society.
Rowena Whey, a leader within the vibrant Kingston drag community and a practicing drag queen of six years, told The Journal what the culture means to her.
“Drag is an art form where we perform gender, that takes a lot of forms,” Whey said.
While she adopts a female presenting gender for her performances, Whey stressed that drag comes in varieties; there are drag kings and non-binary performers as well.
“Drag is an all-encompassing art form,” she said. “Not only is it makeup, fashion, body contouring—it’s also dancing and singing and acting and comedy.”
Her first encounter with drag was in Edmonton at the Evolution Wonder Lounge where she was mesmerized and intrigued by a performer who would later be her partner.
“I didn’t really know drag existed until I moved to Edmonton,” Whey said. “I started doing drag for Halloween one year, but if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.”
Whey spent time watching makeup tutorials and making her own clothes for her drag persona.
“When it came time to go out, I was in drag for 15 hours. If I could do that I could do it as a career,” she said.
Whey talked about the lengthy process of getting ready for a show, from venue hunting to styling to makeup to hair. The work that goes into drag is all-encompassing.
“They like to say that when you’re doing drag makeup, there’s this like wow moment where you actually feel like your transformation is complete,” she said.
“For me, that doesn’t really happen until after my entire face—lips, lashes, like everything—is on, but my wig doesn’t have to be on, which I always find strange.”
When asked to name who her biggest inspiration has been, Whey said Elton John.
“I love that he is an out and proud queer man, he’s not afraid to be flamboyant. He’s theatrical and out of this world and over the top. I always felt that really deep down.”
Catch Rowena live at the Grad Club and Daft Brewery on the first Wednesday of every month and the last Thursday of every month, respectively.
Want to own a piece of original artwork for just $5? You should play this lotto – CBC.ca
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?
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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