Sampling versus Provenance

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Why not record everyone’s name? Why not list everyone you sample from?

At the time of this writing, I haven’t heard a word from Arctander, or the curator, or the photo editor. The gallery responded only to one reporter, with one paragraph. The only person who has responded to my emails has been Hilton Als, who apologized (maintaining my fandom effortlessly), and asked how he could help.

He can’t, really. Because Arctander splattered paint over our image, it’s “good enough” to not be theft. It’s protected by law, and it is defended by the gallery as sampling. We’re going to be written out of the authorship in Arctander’s Yale MFA gallery exhibition and accompanying New Yorker piece—like many women before us.

Therein lies the problem. The art world is screwed: systematically, historically. He’s one in the long line of male artists who’ve done this to women. A lot of think pieces have written about this very problem—but not one from a woman whose art was stolen. Well, hello.

Stepping outside my rage headache, I am at least comforted by the fact this wasn’t a ploy by Richard Prince, to whom Arctander owes his context as an appropriator. But on the edges, our story includes Prince’s work too—he’s appropriated the photos of other people in our series (see his latest instagram of Miley Cyrus and Tyler Ford) and that of our friends (the photographer Petra Collins) as well.

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