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Monday, July 12, 2010

Rip Off

I’m sure all you all, like I, thought the A T & T ads featuring yards of orange fabric being unfurled to cover Las Vegas, what looks like the Hoover Dam and St. Louis’s Gateway Arch were irritating as did I. While the connection to Christo and Jeanne Claude is unmistakable—there’s even a fine print (albeit fleeting) disclaimer at the end—added later on the insistence of Christo’s lawyers—stating the artists weren’t affiliated with the ad.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it may be true. For me, I see in this Christo and Jeanne Claude “tribute” a glimmer of an acceptance of the beauty and piquancy of challenging art. Big ideas are being disseminated. So even though my feathers were initially ruffled at what looked like brazen exploitation, I’m excited by the prospect that Christo and Jeanne Claude’s ideas (even in diluted form) are hitting the mainstream. I just hope that, in addition to the disclaimer At & T was stuck with a royalty pay out, or at least free phone service.


  1. Of course the first time I saw this adv I assumed that Christo was involved and looked for a attribution. Just last night I noticed the disclaimer which I assume was the result of Christo taking action. I figure that AT+Ts legal guy said that the general feel and idea of a piece of art is not protectable, but it sure looks like a rip off to me!

  2. I am amazed Christo didn't sue; if Jeanne-Claude was still alive she probably would have insisted they do so. He's the more shy and retiring of the two. But maybe he welcomes the co-opting by At&T, seeing it as a kind of afterlife of "The Gates."