Illegal Art Cont.: Spraypaint and Lightbulbs

Feik, via Eyegunk

After writing about Illegal Art and copyright, I started seeing different kinds of illegal art everywhere. Note that in the center of the graffiti by Felik in San Paolo is a birdcage holding a can of spray paint. 🙂

In Hungary, ‘Wash Your Dirty Money With My Art’ wasn’t deemed art by the authorities (via ArtMargins):

In the summer of 2008, János Sugár exhibited the sentence “Wash your dirty money with my art” at the Kunsthalle, Budapest, as part of an exhibition entitled What’s up?(1). Parallel with exhibiting the sentence in this safe context, he also displayed it on the pavement in front of and on the wall of two private art institutions in Budapest. Soon after this, one of these institutions sued him for damaging its property. After Sugár’s exhibition at the Kunsthalle it was easy to identify him as the artist, and soon Sugár was summoned by the police and prosecuted. Sugár admitted that he had sprayed the sentences and added that he considered them a continuation of the art work he had earlier displayed at the Kunsthalle. However, Sugár’s gesture was not deemed art by the authorities and was classified as vandalism.

Street art might be par for the course, but no lightbulbs in Europe…?

Come September 1, the European Union has banned the sale of traditional lightbulbs with a glowing filament. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Till Briegleb reports, the ban will have an impact on art, specifically works that use lightbulbs for either functional, aesthetic, or historical effects. A case in point is the work of the Russian artist Ilya Kabakov, who often hangs a bare lightbulb in his installations as a melancholic homage to the Soviet-era ideal of electricity, which was not always available to the citizens.
“Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to [the law] 2005/32/EG” writes Briegleb. “And thus artists, restorers, and museum technicians find themselves faced with the bizarre necessity of small-time criminality.” Kabakov is not the only artist to use bulbs. There are 140 in Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Light-Space-Modulator; the German post–Word War II “Zero” Group was fond of lightbulbs. There’s a host of contemporary artists, including Olafur Eliasson, Carsten Höller, Jorge Pardo, Valie Export, Stephan Huber, Isa Genzken, Mike Kelley, and Adrian Paci. Even artists who did not work explicitly with lightbulbs have used them: Rauschenberg, Kienholz, Tinguely, and Beuys.

2 thoughts on “Illegal Art Cont.: Spraypaint and Lightbulbs

  1. RE “As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Till Briegleb reports, the ban will have an impact on art, specifically works that use lightbulbs for either functional, aesthetic, or historical effects.”

    Unfortunately, not only is the USA also banning the ordinary light bulb, affecting such installations – but the recent June 2009 Energy Bill (now before the Senate) specifically regulates what lights can or can’t illuminate artworks
    See the Bill p 284-285

    (sorry for mess – thats the way its written!)

    —Art work
    21 light fixtures manufactured on or after January 1,
    22 2012, shall—
    23 ‘‘(A) comply with paragraph (1);

    [my note: paragraph 1 is very long and detailed, starts on page 280]

    24 ‘‘(B)(i) contain only ANSI-designated E12
    25 screw-based line-voltage sockets;
    1 ‘‘(ii) have not more than 3 sockets;
    2 ‘‘(iii) be controlled with an integral high/
    3 low switch;
    4 ‘‘(iv) be rated for not more than 25 watts
    5 if fitted with 1 socket; and
    6 ‘‘(v) be rated for not more than 15 watts
    7 per socket if fitted with 2 or 3 sockets.

    More re light bulb ban, what lights are banned in EU, USA, Canada, Australia onwards

  2. EU, USA, Canada, Australia, etc… Chose to buy Ordinary light bulbs. Banning what people want gives the supposed saving – no use on banned unpopular products. If new LED lights or improved CFL’s are good, people will buy them. No need to ban ordinary light bulbs.

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