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Glassblower challenges integrity of Chihuly art
The Seattle Times ^ | 05/06/2006 | Susan Kelleher

Posted on 05/08/2006 6:19:05 AM PDT by Republicanprofessor

A Redmond glassblower who was sued for copyright violations last year by artist Dale Chihuly fired back in court Friday — challenging the integrity of Chihuly's art and the public's impression of how it's created.

Among other things, Robert Kaindl alleges in a counterclaim filed in U.S. District Court that Chihuly is not involved in conceiving, creating, designing or even signing a "substantial number" of artworks that bear his name.

(Excerpt) Read more at seattletimes.nwsource.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: art; chihuly; glass
I have always admired Chihuly's work. It will be interesting to see how this is worked out.
1 posted on 05/08/2006 6:19:07 AM PDT by Republicanprofessor
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To: Republicanprofessor

Here are a few of Chihuly's works. Sometimes there is a division between fine and decorative arts. But these seem to be fine art to me.

2 posted on 05/08/2006 6:22:26 AM PDT by Republicanprofessor
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To: Sam Cree; Liz; Joe 6-pack; woofie; vannrox; giotto; iceskater; Conspiracy Guy; Dolphy; ...

Art ping #3 today.

Let Sam Cree, Woofie, or me know if you want on or off this ping list.


3 posted on 05/08/2006 6:23:14 AM PDT by Republicanprofessor
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To: Republicanprofessor

His work is teriffic. I saw a show of his stuff here in Santa Barbara, and then several of his major pieces in the Bahamas at the Atlantis Casino in Nassau. Beautiful fine art (IMO). Thanks for the post.


4 posted on 05/08/2006 6:24:34 AM PDT by RKV ( He who has the guns, makes the rules.)
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To: Republicanprofessor

People who work with glass muses shouldn't throw stones......


5 posted on 05/08/2006 6:25:12 AM PDT by Red Badger (In warfare there are no constant conditions. --- The Art of War by SunTzu)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: Republicanprofessor

I would tend to believe that a large amount of his work is not of his own making. He turns out that stuff like a mass production assembly line.


8 posted on 05/08/2006 6:27:54 AM PDT by Ron in Acreage (Liberal Democrats-Party before country, surrender before victory, generous with other peoples money.)
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To: Republicanprofessor

I know he's got a huge studio and a lot of people working for him. I would doubt he puts his hands on very much anymore.


9 posted on 05/08/2006 6:28:04 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Republicanprofessor

Well, if I were Chihuly, I wouldn't have claimed the green thing.


10 posted on 05/08/2006 6:31:30 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Red Badger
"People who work with glass muses shouldn't throw stones......"

...And then there was the story of the African lesser King who had his guys steal the throne of a rich king. He hid it in the rafters of his hut..

In the middle of the night, it fell killing him as he slept.

"Those who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones". :^)

11 posted on 05/08/2006 6:34:11 AM PDT by FixitGuy
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Republicanprofessor

Hmmm... I've also admired Chihuly's work, and while it is relatively distinctive and easy to spot... it would also be relatively easy for another artist to make glass that looks Chihuly-esque. I can't see how there can be a copyright, unless there is a question of branding and someone using Chihuly's name without permission.

I wonder what the details of the suit are.


13 posted on 05/08/2006 6:34:16 AM PDT by Ramius (Buy blades for war fighters: freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net --> 1100 knives and counting!)
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To: Republicanprofessor

I think his pieces are beautiful.


14 posted on 05/08/2006 6:34:42 AM PDT by Bahbah (“KERRY LIED!! SCHOLARLY ATTRIBUTION DIED!!!”)
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To: HairOfTheDog
Well, if I were Chihuly, I wouldn't have claimed the green thing.

LOL. It is a bit like a sea creature gone all wrong.

15 posted on 05/08/2006 6:35:47 AM PDT by Bahbah (“KERRY LIED!! SCHOLARLY ATTRIBUTION DIED!!!”)
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To: FixitGuy

LOL!.....good one!.........


16 posted on 05/08/2006 6:36:07 AM PDT by Red Badger (In warfare there are no constant conditions. --- The Art of War by SunTzu)
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To: HairOfTheDog

Yes, some don't like that neon green color.

But look at the purple stripes, and the huge size of the work!

I can't even touch glass that big; it would shatter through shear bad luck.


17 posted on 05/08/2006 6:36:17 AM PDT by Republicanprofessor
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To: Republicanprofessor

Trademarking thought is tough. How many have looked at a wooden carved duck and then made copies. The value is in the quality of the work not in the design.


18 posted on 05/08/2006 6:38:43 AM PDT by sgtbono2002
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To: Bahbah

His "seaforms" are some of my favorites. I'd happily take the "green thing". :) http://www.chihuly.com/seaforms/selsea.html


19 posted on 05/08/2006 6:41:12 AM PDT by linda_22003
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To: Republicanprofessor

There was an installation at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens - it was beautiful!!!! My wife and I visited it twice.


20 posted on 05/08/2006 6:43:41 AM PDT by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: Little Ray

They currently have his work on exhiit at the Missouri Botanical Gardens - I haven't made it up there yet, but hope to this week.


21 posted on 05/08/2006 6:47:22 AM PDT by Clintons Are White Trash (Lynn Stewart, Helen Thomas , Molly Ivins, Maureen Dowd - The Axis of Ugly)
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To: Republicanprofessor

Some of his work I like, some I find garish.


22 posted on 05/08/2006 6:48:49 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Bahbah

I'm near Tacoma and have seen a lot of his stuff, and the bridge of glass... I think most of it looks like a really bad dream.


23 posted on 05/08/2006 6:49:01 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Republicanprofessor

Gorgeous stuff. I would not be surprised if much of 'his' work is actually produced by interns in his studio. By the nature of the medium, unless he physically controls the entire glass blowing process, those works are not by him.

However, it's his studio, and his vision.

this is not a Mark Kostabi


24 posted on 05/08/2006 6:53:38 AM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: Republicanprofessor

Chihuly is a hack. Can't stand his stuff.


25 posted on 05/08/2006 7:07:36 AM PDT by tdewey10 (It's time for the party to return to the principles of President Reagan.)
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To: Republicanprofessor
But once you've seen one Chihuly, you've seen them all.

If Chihuly can copyright glassblowing, could van Gogh have copyrighted painting?

26 posted on 05/08/2006 7:09:23 AM PDT by PeoplesRepublicOfWashington (Enhance Capitol security: Censure Cynthia!)
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To: finnman69

"Gorgeous stuff. I would not be surprised if much of 'his' work is actually produced by interns in his studio. By the nature of the medium, unless he physically controls the entire glass blowing process, those works are not by him."

Read the article:

"Chihuly's studio has long acknowledged that the artist does not blow glass himself, relying instead on a team of glassblowers and hired contractors to execute his ideas. But the concepts, designs and final aesthetic are distinctly his, Chihuly and his associates have repeatedly said."

Chihuly is like many successful artists who mass produce their work, they rely on a studio to manage the output, while he oversees the design. It's nothing new, and it the's defining line between original art and a brand.

Studios have been used by leading artists to maintain and finish large ticket commisions for thousands of years - Michelangelo trained in one such studio on his way towards greatness. It's a good way of training young artists, employing lesser artists who might not sell work on their own, and letting a master free himself from drudge work to concentrate on his art. Granted, it dilutes the art, as a lot of Renaissance work had the central figures done by the Master, and the backgroung by his studio, but the work is still regarded as the masterpieces they are. Michelangelo, if fact, was an odd duck in his day for the periods he insisted on working alone.

Interesting case, but it's not over wether or not Chihuly made the works in question, it's two people accusing Chihuly of damaging their reputation in the market, while, Chihuly maintains they were selling works purported or implied they were by him.

If they copied pieces Chihuly displayed and sold previously, they lose. But, and this is the important part, if Chihuly can get a copyright on a look or technique, that's a chilling blow to artists, and can lead to one artist "copywriting" a style, like Impressionism, and barring other artists from working in that school or style.

And, for what it's worth, Chihuly's work is stunning.


27 posted on 05/08/2006 7:13:46 AM PDT by ByDesign
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To: TonyRo76

Are you talking Columbus, Indiana? The local art contingent promotes him likes he's some god. But that's what artists do. His stuff is interesting as long as he's paying for it and not my tax dollars.


28 posted on 05/08/2006 7:17:22 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: TonyRo76

Yes, it's an interesting city. There is that group here that likes to think of themselves as avant-garde. I guess I'm not that into modernistic architecture and art.


30 posted on 05/08/2006 7:31:01 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: ByDesign

all good points


31 posted on 05/08/2006 7:36:19 AM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: Republicanprofessor
Dale's work has been instantly recognizable since the 1990's, when I used to see him several times a year at the ACC and Rosen shows.

However, in fine craft, I do not think anyone can copyright techniques. It is interesting that it is a former contractor who is bringing suit. I know of cases in the past where clothing designers hired independent sewers to construct their designs and sometimes, to create patterns from the designer's sketches and then were sued by the contractor for claiming the work did not belong to the designers.

From the 1980s through the 1990s, my husband and I designed, manufactured and marketed a line of anodized titanium jewelry. We had developed a step resist process over hand chasing that was very detailed and very unique. While other people working w/reactive metals tried to compete with simpler designs suited to assembly line processes, no one tried to reproduce our work,some of which was almost photorealistic tropical fish. Even today, eight years after we discontinued the line, we haven't seen anyone pick up the technique in its entirety.

In the production fine craft business, only a very few can make the jump from limited hand production to limited mass production. It is a matter of money, finding the contractors or factory workers who can be trained to produce work indistinguishable from that of the originator and the uncertainty of the market. The longer someone continues to produce via a particular technique, the greater the risk that the technique will be figured out and appropriated by someone else. Since many artists also teach, many techniques will not remain proprietary simply because the originator must reveal them to the contractors/employees.

Chihuly must realize this. His technical processes have been taught to several cohorts of glass artists over the past 25 years.

Most artists accept these realities and deal with them by innovation, always staying a few steps ahead of the competition. There are so many competent technicians that it is unrealistic to believe any single designer could maintain a monopoly on technique. Ethically, however, it is really considered bad form to simply copy something well-known and popular and call it your own. Back in our time in the markets, this could result in an exhibitor being juried out of a fine craft trade show.

We simply stayed small and used labor-intensive techniques that discouraged those who were looking for a product that could produced overseas or in a factory. We constantly added new lines and only employed people for non-production positions. That approach worked for over a decade.

Today, while my husband is in another field, I hand manufacture an item that I have produced and sold since 1985. I have competitors, but my line dominates its niche mainly because my production processes have constantly been updated and, it is almost impossible to reproduce an exact copy. I have researched patents, copyright and trademark and found that one can only get a design patent on such an item and even then, such a patent must be backed by the ability to defend it in court. The patent process is very expensive, as are the defenses. You can trademark/copyright a name, but, AFAIK, you cannot do that for a design, meaning the appearance of the item. Chihuly, of course, has the deep pockets necessary to take a copier to court. Trademarks and copyrights are easier to defend than a design patent.

I doubt Dale is going to win this suit. It is well past time he takes his work up another level, IMO. I am a great fan of the work, but I have noticed the look-alikes in many galleries over the past few years. It is simply part of the business.
32 posted on 05/08/2006 7:40:34 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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To: ByDesign

Architects work the same way. Take Frank Gehry for instance.

Very little of the design is done by him. He critiques what his design studios mass produce in the form of drawings and models, he approves a design, and its developed into construction documents (Gehry does not do this, nor do any architects).

He could trademark his designs and receive copywright protection. In Gehry's case, his work is a brand as well. there have been legal cases of architects/developers suing other architects/developers over copying a design.

In the Chihuly case, the idea of taking another artists work outside of your studio, and slapping your name on it is troubliing. I would find it difficult to copywright a design like his, unless it was for a specific brand or term.


33 posted on 05/08/2006 7:41:59 AM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: Republicanprofessor

Beautiful. I've watched glass blowers at work - it is truly an artform.


34 posted on 05/08/2006 7:43:44 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Support American sovereignty - boycott employers of illegal aliens)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Republicanprofessor
Finally something I know something about, having been in Chihuly's studio before he was "Chihuly" and having kept up with his work since.

I doubt very much that he does any of his own work in a direct hands-on sense. He has a number of physical limitations and the last time I saw him in a studio--working on an enormous mind-boggling piece--he seemed unable, when upclose on the project, to actually see it.

Some of his stuff IS mass-produced hackwork, useful only for his name. But Shakespeare and Beethoven turned out pot-boilers too. When he is at the top of his form, it is awesome in conception and execution.

McVey
36 posted on 05/08/2006 8:18:05 AM PDT by mcvey (,)
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To: IronJack

He hasn't for years...he is missing an eye. He directs the glass making process.


37 posted on 05/08/2006 8:18:20 AM PDT by ThisLittleLightofMine
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To: Republicanprofessor
The best way to demonstrate the capabilities of HDTV is to view the show Chihuly over Venice on PBS HD.
38 posted on 05/08/2006 8:24:28 AM PDT by Cooter
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To: reformedliberal

Great post!
"The longer someone continues to produce via a particular technique, the greater the risk that the technique will be figured out and appropriated by someone else."
This reminds me of the product knockoffs that you see all the time in Walmart. Someone comes up with an innovation and a product that is really different and before you know it there are cheap clones all over the place. It's somewhat discouraging for the innovator but at least in the art world collectors do know the difference between originals and cheap copies.
I think you're right, as a creative person you have to stay ahead of the curve and keep moving forward. Best of luck with your work!


39 posted on 05/08/2006 8:35:48 AM PDT by Sabatier
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To: Cooter

I watched it. I found the process interesting, but did not find the resulting works to be interesting at all.


40 posted on 05/08/2006 9:23:10 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: mcvey

Louis Comfort Tiffany of the copper-foil stained glass fame didn't do his own work. He did many of the designs and made many of the important decisions but he had scores of glass blowers and others working in his studio.

Even though he wasn't personally blowing the glass his work is instantly recognizable as his. He never showed his work the Atlantis Casino, the Bellagio or other venues of high art though.


41 posted on 05/08/2006 9:36:03 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: Republicanprofessor
I can't even touch glass that big; it would shatter through shear bad luck.

Hell, I'm so jinxed, the damn thing would break if I looked at it too closely...

42 posted on 05/08/2006 9:37:42 AM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse ( ~()):~)>)
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To: ThisLittleLightofMine
He hasn't for years...he is missing an eye.

I know.

He directs the glass making process.

I'm not sure that buying a painting "directed" by Van Gogh is the same as buying a painting painted by Van Gogh.

43 posted on 05/08/2006 11:48:29 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: TonyRo76
No wonder they worship Chihuly there. You have the Columbus College of Art & Design...with an excellent program that has offered a BFA in Glass for decades. It was a school I dreamt of attending decades ago, but my parents could not afford it. So I ended up at a local art academy and then on to a state university for a BE in Art Ed.

My obsession with glass as an artistic medium renders me completely unobjective when it comes to Chihuly. I adore his work.

44 posted on 05/08/2006 5:58:51 PM PDT by Sisku Hanne (Equal treatment for illegal aliens: the US should adopt Mexico's immigration policy!)
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