November 13 - December 6 | New York
January 25 - February 25 | Chicago

The laws governing "intellectual property" have grown so expansive in recent years that artists need legal experts to sort them all out. Borrowing from another artwork--as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s--will now land you in court. If the current copyright laws had been in effect back in the day, whole genres such as collage, hiphop, and Pop Art might have never have existed.

The irony here couldn't be more stark. Rooted in the U.S. Constitution, copyright was originally intended to facilitate the exchange of ideas but is now being used to stifle it.

The Illegal Art Exhibit will celebrate what is rapidly becoming the "degenerate art" of a corporate age: art and ideas on the legal fringes of intellectual property. Some of the pieces in the show have eluded lawyers; others have had to appear in court.

Loaded with gray areas, intellectual property law inevitably has a silencing effect, discouraging the creation of new works.

Should artists be allowed to use copyrighted materials? Where do the First Amendment and "intellectual property" law collide? What is art's future if the current laws are allowed to stand? Stay Free! considers these questions and others in our multimedia program.

November 13 - December 6, 2024
CBGB's 313 Gallery (313 Bowery)

Featuring murdered Disney characters, the Colonel Sanders mandala, a Texaco-laced doily, and more.

November 14-18, 2024
Anthology Film Archives

George W. Bush meets the Teletubbies, Barbie tries a new job, Pikachu (of Pokemon fame) makes a friend, and more. Watch digitized versions of the films and videos.

November 15, 3 p.m.
Featuring Mark Hosler of Negativland, Howard Besser (New York University), Steven Feldman, and Meg McLagan (moderator).

A CD compilation featuring Public Enemy, Negativland, John Oswald, the KLF and other plundered "hits" will be given away free at the above events. Tracks will also be available online by October.

For in-depth information about copyright law and its impact on free expression, please see Copyright Articles, Illegal Art Links, and the forthcoming "copyright" issue of Stay Free! magazine.

Illegal Art is sponsored by Stay Free! magazine, with support from the Internet Archives, Prelinger Archives, and the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University.

Illegal Art logo adapted from American Alphabet, by Heidi Cody
created 2024 :: :: a project of Stay Free!