Continuing a tradition we began last year, we’d like to wish you not just Happy New Year today, but also Happy Public Domain Day!
For those in need of a refresher, Public Domain Day marks the date when copyright expires on the works of authors, artists, and creators who died a certain number of years ago, thus entering those works into the public domain and making them freely available for others to use, adapt, and transform. This only applies in countries where the law stipulates a “life plus 70 years” copyright term, which includes most of South America, Russia, Australia, and almost all of Europe. In the US, on the other hand, pretty much nothing new will enter the public domain until at least 2019, because of our intense copyright laws. (You can see a world map of copyright laws and length here.)
So whose work is being freed up this year? The Public Domain Review has compiled a brief list, along with a cute graduation class photo they made (see above), of some of the most notable people. Among them are:
Grant Wood, the painter of “American Gothic,” which is such a ubiquitous image it’s hard to believe it’s not already in the public domain;
Walter Sickert, the German-born, British-raised artist who painted grimy scenes of everyday life in turn-of-the-century England, and whose painting of a bedroom supposedly inhabited by Jack the Ripper made some writers decades later suspect that Sickert himself was Jack the Ripper;
Polish writer and artist Bruno Schulz, whose book The Street of Crocodiles has already been famously adapted by the Quay Brothers, and who was protected for a time by a Nazi Gestapo officer who hired Schulz to paint a mural in his house;
And A.E. Waite, co-creator of the popular Rider-Waite tarot deck and author of the guide Key to the Tarot.
You can find and read about others at the Public Domain Review, or, if you really want to dive in, just browse through the Wikipedia page of people who died in 1942. And then — start remixing!
They Managed to Mess Up an Art Heist Movie
There must be a lesson in Vasilis Katsoupis’s film Inside about the vacuousness of the art market or the claustrophobia of exhibition spaces — I just don’t care.
Ten Painful Stories of the Dutch Colonial Slave Trade
The Rijksmuseum’s traveling show strives to remind us that we are all, in some way, a part of this chapter of human history, whose legacy continues today.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Textured Histories at Shiprock Santa Fe
The Santa Fe gallery features Indigenous textiles and jewelry from the early 19th century to today.
Renaissance Portrait of “Ugly Duchess” Likely Depicts a Man
A curator at London’s National Gallery believes the subject of painter Quinten Massys’s painting “is most likely a he.”
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Hokusai’s “Great Wave” Makes a Splash at Auction
An edition of the iconic woodblock print broke records when it sold for $2.8M this week.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
Concerning Sickert and the suggestion that he was Jack the Ripper… thanks for saying ‘writers’…. Patricia Cornwell is often credited as the first to suggest it — she wasn’t the first.
No problem! That was all Wikipedia.
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