A Surreal Complaint



Slashdot is reporting
that the estate of painter Joan Miró and the Artists Rights Society are miffed at Google. The king of the search engines recently changed its logo, as it often does in honor of various special dates, to commemorate the birthday of the Catalan surrealist—but the ARS regards their appropriation of Miró's style as a violation of the author's "moral rights."

I'd call this intellectual property overreach under any circumstances, but it's especially ironic in that Kerry Howley and I recently stopped by the current Dada art exhibition at the National Gallery. Dada, the style from which surrealism emerged, relied heavily on cutting and pasting other artworks or commercial images to make their points—so much so that the poster for the exhibition is Duchamp's famous version of the Mona Lisa, which simply adds a goatee, moustache, and caption to DaVinci's original. Without the kind of cultural borrowing Miró's heirs now protest, the art movement from which he emerged might not have existed.