A painting by artist Gala Knorr on display at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain – which depicts a young black man in a cowboy hat holding a camera – has sparked controversy because it resembles an image from a shot from a blue short film made this year on American Day, where the experiences of the Black Knight are told. According to El País, the similarity between the works “unleashed a storm on social media”, with accusations of plagiarism and criticism of the drawing being “not including in its credits a reference to the film from which the cowboy picture was taken”. However, the dispute was eventually resolved on Tuesday, through an agreement between all parties involved: Guggenheim, curators and artists Dayday and Knörr agreed that Blue would be shown alongside the gallery’s screens. Inspiration” to create Young Cowboy and Young Cowboy Looking (the name given to the painting in question). That is, Knorr agreed to include a “construction patch” alongside his work, acknowledging that his painting was inspired by the film.
The purpose of the drawing The oil painting is part of an exhibition entitled Basque Artists Program 2015-2019 that opened at the Guggenheim Museum on July 8 that includes works by 10 Basque artists participating in the five editions of the initiative sponsored by Museums Bilbao and New York and aimed at emerging creators born or residing in Euskadi. The exhibition, organized by Lucia Aguirre and Giannin Gutierrez Guimarães, links the image of the cowboy with American popular culture, “a form that comes from advertising, film and media, but which hides an important part of its history, such as the origin is located in colonialism and in a mixture of races, cultures and origins”, as stated in Museum official website. Although the two images – one illustrated and the other animated – have many similarities, there are also several differences: the most notable one has to do with color.
According to El País, following controversy and agreement between those involved, the explanatory text Young Cowboy Look, which appears on the Guggenheim Museum’s website, has been modified to include an illustration “specifically intended to remove the controversy that has arisen.” The new script reads that the little cowboy painting “Gala Knörr directly includes visuals inspired by the 5-minute Blue film, directed by a black American artist and filmmaker such as Dayday, and created specifically for the Hulu Your Attention Please (2022) series.” In a recent constructive correction with Dayday, in which it was acknowledged that Knörr used his film as the inspiration for his painting, the Basque artist wishes to highlight the director’s artistic contribution, which highlights the eradication of the legacy of African American cowboys in the development of the American West. It sheds light on the complex narratives surrounding racism on this specific topic of American history.
Fernanda Fragatero – Legia Clarke In Portugal, in January last year, Alessandra Clarke, the granddaughter of the Brazilian artist Ligia Clarke, surprised on television with a work very similar to the work of her grandmother. At first, he asked himself: “What is a piece doing for my grandmother in the São Bento Palace, here in Portugal?”. But after a phone call with a Portuguese gallery owner, he soon realized that the work was not done by a member of his family, but by the Portuguese artist Fernanda Fragatero. The work in question is a sculpture inspired by the work of Lygia Clark, which follows a project begun in 2016, called After Lygia Clark and is part of the Figueiredo Ribeiro collection, carried out in 2019. At the time, at Nascer do Portuguese artist Sol insisted on disentangling the differences. Between her work and Clarke’s work: “Lygia Clarke’s piece is a two-dimensional work, collage on paper. My grant is a direct reference to this collage, but it is a sculpture built of steel and huge notebooks made of canvas. According to her, artists speak with artists’ work,” he explained. others, and was “particularly interested in themes of abstraction and the paintings or design elements produced during modernism”.
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