I paid a visit to Walter De Maria's "The Lightning Field," administered by the Dia Art Foundation which I wrote about here. Per their website, Dia plays a vital role among visual-arts organizations by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. They also play a vital role protecting their copyright.
Yesterday I received two phone calls--at work and at home--along with an e-mail wich read:
I wondered, "who is this recent guest?" Do they have nothing better to do than scan the internet for copyright violations? So I respomded:
Hi Irene and Kathleen~
What is Dia's policy around fair use of copyrighted material? For
example, do you prohibit the incidental capture of the lightning field
in the snapshop of a person, such as the attached example taken from
How about a photograph used for the purpose of criticism
or non-commerical use? You state that your policy does not allow
photographs of the site or cabin. Does that mean you allow the
production of images by other means? For example, would one be allowed
to sketch their impressions of the site or cabin?
Less than an hour later, I got this response:
Dia does indeed prohibit any type of photography at the site. We respect the artist's wish that the work be experienced by the visitor rather than seen through photographs, which becomes difficult when images are disseminated, published, or posted online, as they are on your website.
However, we are happy to share images for academic and other non-commercial uses and would charge a nominal fee in these cases.
Public Affairs Associate
Dia Art Foundation
535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-293-5518 F: 212-989-4055
It's kind of like the TV shows where the two detectives question the suspect, but in this case it's more like "good cop-polite cop" than "good cop-bad cop."
I'm not really interested in paying to post Dia's photographs of an artwork the maker didn't want photographed. There are a few common, often used images that can be found here, here, here, and here. The images give the impression of a much lusher, greener place, and create the expectation that one will see lighting hit the poles. According to one of the caretakers of the cabin, she has only seen this happen a few times in the thirty years she's been going out there.
I would like to write more about the quality of the light and time, two important aspects of the work I believe have not been addressed in other write ups. I'll save that for a future posting.
For those interested in seeeing the work, I advise them to bring some antihistamines. Several in our party (myself included) spent a wheezy, choughy night. The cabin and it's furnishings are made of unfinished wood, and the rough surfaces seem to be a haven for dust and mold. After a few hours outside, the hardier members of our group seemed to recover just fine.
For more descriptions of the work, look at Christopher Campbell's piece on Cormac McCarthy (a .pdf file), also Todd Gibson offers a good description of his 24 hours outside of Quemado. Charles Graeber writes about his experience for Popular Science here.
Begining in March, Dia takes cabin reservations for their season from May to October. During lightning season (July and August) the cabin rents for $1500 a night. In theory, one could just drive up there in the off season, using the map found at CLUI and see it for free (AYOR).