Reprinted from The Fresno Gazette, May 1994
KOONS SUES NY ARTIST
Luminary pop artist Jeff Koons met with lawyer Melvin Belli earlier this week to discuss litigation against a New York art organization calling itself First Issue Reserved Edition.
F.I.R.E. prints bogus U.S. postage stamps featuring images culled from the American cultural landscape, and while Post Office officials state that this itself is not illegal, Koons contends that one of the F.I.R.E. stamp violates one of his copyright. The stamp in question features the Koons sculpture "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" which depict a three armed Jackson holding his pet chimp.
With all the controversy surrounding Jackson the stamps have soared in popularity among the culture vultures of the American West Coast, especially in media industry dominated California. Upon hearing of the growing popularity of the stamps Koons decided it was only fair that he receive part of the profits being generated by the sale of these items featuring his work. "It's not so much the revenue", a spokeswoman for Belli's firm stated, "but if Mr. Koons does not enforce his copyright he will be less able to defend it should a bigger case ever come up." Koons was appreciative of the spirit of appropriation and as a stamp collector himself may be willing to settle. "I really love the Hate and Kill stamp set," Koons said, "It would be cool to get a bunch of those."
F.I.R.E. said that they're not equipped to handle a lawsuit and hope that Koons is indeed willing to settle. "Maybe he'll even take us out for a beer." (back to article listings)