Peel slowly and see


The Velvet Underground sued the Andy Warhol Foundation, accusing it of infringing the trademark for the banana design on the cover of the rock group’s first album in 1967.

The band’s founders, Lou Reed and John Cale, said that the foundation infringed the design by licensing it to third parties, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.

The band, which was active from about 1965 to 1972, formed an artistic collaboration with Warhol, who designed the banana illustration for “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” which critics have labeled one of the most influential rock recordings of all time, according to the complaint.

The Warhol Foundation claimed it has a copyright interest in the design, according to the lawsuit. The Velvet Underground partnership said in the complaint that the design can’t be copyrighted because the banana image Warhol furnished for the illustration came from an advertisement and was in the public domain.

Warhol’s copyrighted works have a market value of $120 million and the foundation has earned more than $2.5 million a year licensing rights to those works, according to the complaint.

The Velvet Underground is seeking a judicial declaration that the foundation has no copyright to the banana design, an injunction barring the use of any merchandise using the artwork and monetary damages. The group is requesting a jury trial.

{ Bloomberg | Courthouse News Service }

The foolish one of the family is within. Haha! Huzoor, where’s he?


In the history of inkblots, the experiment of Hermann Rorschach [1884-1922] is the most famous moment: a controversial attempt to establish a scientific personality assessment based on ten standard Rorschach inkblots. Then comes Andy Warhol, who in the 1980s reconnects inkblots with the art that came before. He did these huge, very sexual, strange, hieratic paintings which he called ‘Rorschach Paintings’ - although they were, in fact, entirely of his own invention. At the opening a journalist asked him what they meant and Warhol - in that amazing, neutral, “I’m a mirror” way of his– said, “Oh, I made a mistake, I got that wrong. I thought the idea was that you make your own inkblots and the psychiatrist interprets them. If I’d known, I’d just have copied the originals!” (…)

there have been inkblot tests around for ages, but in the 19th century they took over from silhouettes as the parlour game, partly due to a German doctor and poet called Justinus Koerner, who was a friend of the German Romantics and was interested in the nascent science of psychology and such things. He’d write endless letters, and he doodled in them, and started playing around with inkblots. He was the one who worked out that you could make inkblots symmetrical by folding them over.

{ The Browser | Continue reading }

related { Rorschach Test – Psychodiagnostic Plates: The ten inkblots + Decryption }

image { John Waters, Director’s cuts }

Always thinking that just behind some narrow door in all of his favorite bars, men in red woolen shirts are getting incredible kicks from things he’ll never know.


Can a clean smell make you a better person?

That’s the provocative suggestion of a recent study in the journal Psychological Science. A team of researchers found that when people were in a room recently spritzed with a citrus-scented cleanser, they behaved more fairly when playing a classic trust game. In another experiment, the smell of cleanser made subjects more likely to volunteer for a charity.

The findings suggest that simply smelling something clean makes people clean up their behavior - that a smell can provoke a mental leap between cleanliness and morality, making people think differently about the world around them. The authors even suggested that clean smells could be employed as a tool to influence how people act.

The idea that a smell can affect something as complex as ethical behavior seems surprising, not least because smell has long been seen as a “lower” sense, playing on our emotions and instincts while our reason and judgment operate on another plane. But research increasingly shows that smell doesn’t just affect how we feel: It affects how we think, in ways that are just beginning to be understood.

{ The Boston Globe | Continue reading }

One of the works that helps visualize the breakthrough is a painting done in 1961, which consists in a greatly enlarged version of a simple black-and-white advertisement of the kind that appears in side columns and back pages of cheap newspapers. It advertised the services of a plastic surgeon, and showed two profiles of the same woman, before and after an operation on her nose.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

artwork { Andy Warhol, Before and After, 1961 }

‘Joy is man’s passage from a less to a greater perfection.’ –Spinoza


Sometimes you hear a word for the first time and think: “Of course.” How better to describe Paris Hilton than as a “celebutante” or the frequent tabloid target Alec Baldwin as “the bloviator”? (Thanks, New York Post!)

Now make room for “prehab.”

Prehab made its debut on Feb. 23, the handiwork of GlasgowRose, a commenter on Gawker, after a publicist for Charlie Sheen announced that the star of “Two and a Half Men” was entering rehab as a “preventative measure.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

A respected scientist set out to determine which drugs are actually the most dangerous — and discovered that the answers are, well, awkward. (…)

The list, printed as a chart with the unassuming title “Mean Harm Scores for 20 Substances,” ranked a set of common drugs, both legal and illegal, in order of their harmfulness - how addictive they were, how physically damaging, and how much they threatened society. Many drug specialists now consider it one of the most objective sources available on the actual harmfulness of different substances.

That ranking showed, with numbers, what Nutt was fired for saying out loud: Overall, alcohol is far worse than many illegal drugs. So is tobacco. Smoking pot is less harmful than drinking, and LSD is less damaging yet.

{ The Boston Globe | Continue reading }

Andy was one of my best friends. We hung out together several nights a week for over ten years. We used to go to Studio 54 — an amazing place.

{ Jerry Hall interview | Index magazine | Continue reading }

photo { Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall, Studio 54, NYC, late 70s }