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Friday, March 27th, 2009

A Moment of Clarity – Defending Danziger

Fairey and Garcia’s Obama images at Danziger Projects. Image: Sara Krulwich, The New York Times.

A number of stories have surfaced this week concerning wire photographer, Mannie Garcia’s, image of President Obama, which served as the basis for Shepard Fairey’s Obama Portrait. More than once we have read articles that accuse one NY gallery of seeking to profit from the media frenzy surrounding Fairey by selling prints of the photo for $1,200.  

On his own site this week, Fairey said, “The Garcia photo is now more famous and valuable than it ever would have been prior to the creation of my poster. With this factor in mind, it is not surprising, that a gallery in NYC is now (our emphasis) selling the Garcia photo for $1,200 each.”  In the last day Fairey’s statement has been reposted by several online sources, ranging from larger media outlets like The Huffington Post, to numerous smaller blogs.

In an article published in The New York Times, Noam Cohen states the following about the image in question: “Taken by Mannie Garcia while on assignment for The Associated Press in 2006, the picture is now (our emphasis) on sale at a Chelsea gallery in a limited edition of 200. The prints are going for $1,200 a piece, and at least one has been purchased by a fine-arts museum.”

A moment of clarity – The gallery in question, Danziger Projects, was actually the first to attribute Fairey’s portrait to Garcia, as they were researching a photography exhibition of media images covering the rise of Obama and his campaign. That exhibit, Can & Did, was on display at the gallery this past Jan. 20 – Feb. 28. To be clear, the availability of Garcia prints via Danziger predates the recent firestorm of press surrounding Fairey’s appropriation of it. While TAC firmly supports Fairey, his art and his legal battle with AP, it seems irresponsible to suggest that he himself is now the one being co-opted for financial gain. 

Hat’s off to Charlie Finch. Back in February he reflected on the situation for ArtNet, explaining, that it was in fact Danziger’s inquiries which led the Associated Press to claim rights to the image. Finch noted that the gallerist had already sold 29 copies of the print edition – before, not after countless media outlets began to report the controversy. In short, Danziger’s due diligence in crediting a photograph which appeared at his gallery sparked the current AP-Fairey legal battle and exponential rise in the image’s notoriety. That it would all come full circle and lead to accusatory fingers pointing towards his gallery is grossly misinformed and paints a story that is at its best inacurate, and at its worst defamatory. 

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Legal, Photography, Politics, Uncategorized

One Response to “A Moment of Clarity – Defending Danziger”

  1. March 30th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    and we Repeat…… 3/30/09 « To Fear It Is To Know It said:

    […] bloggers just don’t understand just how unseemly this preoccupation with Shepard Fairey is. I mean it’s simply a disgrace. Whatevs. Some bloggers need to stop […]

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