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Stencil, spray paint, 2004. Mircea Cantor, Romanian, born 1977. Philadelphia Art Museum
The Museum notes that in 2000, the artists Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno bought the copyright to the Japanese comic character AnnLee in order to use her in their art. They also invited a number of peer artists to do the same.
Two years later they attempted to block further use of this character’s image by transferring these rights to an independent AnnLee Association.
Mircea Cantor then inserted this image into a museum context to refute the notion that the meaning of images can be exhausted by their ownership.
The salient word, of course, is ‘meaning’ because copyright runs everywhere and there are always hierarchies of power trying to own and control whatever they want to.