Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Temporary Elgin Room at British Museum by Archibald Archer (1819)

Who owns what is a sticky question. It comes up in reference to intellectual property, in specific, art. Rothko sells a painting for $2000 in his lifetime and the proceeds of a later sale amounting to millions totally elude the creator or his heirs. Imagine if Shakespeare's estate had renewed their copyrights? This gets even more complicated in the case of indigenous work. Will the English finally return the Elgin Marbles to Greece? Talk about decolonization, will the Vatican deacquisition its Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum, a collection of indigenous art? Ultimately no one owns anything. Those who think they're buying a “co-op” are delusional. They're really long-term renters since someone else will own it some day—by definition. Politics+property=war. The equation defines modernity, with civil wars in Yemen and Bosnia deriving not only from culture but provenance. Who was there first? You might have to go back to the Big Bang and before that an ether or vacuum, to answer that question.

read "Pet Buddha" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

and listen to China Girl" by David Bowie

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