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From Newsgrist; reBlogged from Palladio; via NYTimes:

The Image Is Familiar; the Pitch Isn’t
By MIA FINEMAN
Published: July 13, 2008

IN February 2007 the Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay was installing a solo exhibition of his work in Paris when he received an e-mail message from a friend about a commercial for the Apple iPhone that had been broadcast during the Academy Awards show.

Slide Show: Art and Advertising

The 30-second spot featured a rapid-fire montage of clips from television shows and Hollywood films of actors and cartoon characters — including Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Dustin Hoffman and Betty Rubble — picking up the telephone and saying “Hello.” It ended with a shot of the soon-to-be-released iPhone.

Mr. Marclay tracked down the ad on YouTube and watched it.

“I was very surprised,” he said recently by phone from London. Like many in the art world he saw an uncanny resemblance between the iPhone commercial and his own 1995 video “Telephones,” which opens with a similar montage of film clips showing actors answering the phone. That seven-and-a-half-minute video, one of Mr. Marclay’s signature works, has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States.

About a year before, Mr. Marclay said, Apple had approached the Paula Cooper Gallery, which represents his work in New York, about using “Telephones” in an advertisement.

“I told them I didn’t want to do it,” he said. His main concern, he said, was that “advertisers on that scale have so much power and visibility” and that “everyone would think of my video as the Apple iPhone ad.”

Mr. Marclay said he spoke with a lawyer after learning of the commercial but decided not to pursue legal action. “When people with that much power and money copy you, there’s not much you can do,” he said.

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