U2 Sleeve Flap Pisses Off Magritte? WTF!?!


We have absolutely no
verification of this rumor. In fact, we aren’t sure there’s even a rumor at
all! But hey…. controversy is controversy, real, imagined or otherwise.


By Fred Mills


Following the public unveiling of the sleeve art for U2’s
forthcoming No Line on the Horizon, shit-stirring
holier-than-thou indie rockers across the land (and even overseas) wrung their
hairy palms, gnashed their artificially whitened teeth and rent (rended?) their
PETA-approved garments over the striking similarity between it and indie
musicians Taylor Deupree & Richard Chartier’s 2006 album Specification. Fifteen. Both, pictured
below, feature as part of the art a photo by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. U2 sleeve is on the right.



Upon learning of what some pundits are terming a “ripoff,”
Deupree took to the blogosphere with a self-styled rant that read, in part,
“ok, come on people (meaning, U2/et al.) do some research before you release an
album cover…. before you let people run off about how “cool” the new U2 cover
is.. show them ours first…”


This, despite the fact that an artist is presumably free to
sell or license his work to anybody for any purpose unless there are some
specific preexisting contractual limitations. To his credit, Deupree added that
his sleeve was created “directly in conjunction with Sugimoto” related to a
museum retrospective going on at the time, so there may have been a presumption
of some sort of limitation, even if just based on a handshake.


In a subsequent post, Deupree clarified his position,
writing that he was “tired of this whole ‘controversy'” – which, indeed, had
been stirred up by the aforementioned hairy palms brigade – and that he had “never
suggested there was any legal issue.”


Deupree: “this minor ordeal has become more a question of a
project that was small, intimate and experimental (and the chance of a lifetime
for a small artist) vs. the massive pop culture machine. in the end we all know
who wins. so i’m going to shut up now.’


Meanwhile, no one has bothered to point out that the
incident has given Deupree and his partner more
free publicity than they’ve ever gotten in their brief and extremely
under-the-radar career.
Suck it up, kids, and enjoy the inevitable spike in
record sales. You’ve earned it.


Meanwhile, rumors swirl that the heirs of surrealist painter
Rene Magritte, looking for ways to get an uptick in digital media attention to
papa, are trying to figure out some way they can drum up a controversy over the
similarity between Magritte’s legendary 1952 painting The Listening Room and the sleeve of guitar legend Jeff Beck’s 1969
Jeff Beck Group LP Beck-Ola (Cosa Nostra).




Never mind that the image was licensed by Beck’s label for
the sleeve – controversy’s controversy, and controversy moves product in these
modern times!













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