Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Lacanian Love Story

I was recently introduced to a woman who was described to me as a “Lacanian lawyer.” I thought that was funny! She turned out to be charming and very interesting. Her area of expertise is art law. She writes about “moral rights,” a branch of the law which basically says that if you are an artist and I buy a painting you made, I’m not allowed to draw a moustache on it, even though I “own” it. I’m not supposed to compromise your artistic vision.

I found this appalling! The Lacanian lawyer was also concerned. We bonded over our mutual powerful reaction to those doodles that the Chapman brothers did all over that set of Goya etchings.

I mention this because Binh and I also discussed the Chapman brothers. He has some pretty unpredictable views on the topic of intellectual property. I am basically a communist, so I have my doubts about property in general, but Binh is a little more concerned about controlling his product. This may just be because I am something of a charlatan, while he’s what you might call an artist of genius.

Goya, needless to say, was an artist of genius. Still, or maybe because of this, I find this doodle by the Chapman brothers profoundly moving.

By the way, when I’m asked to describe my novel in a phrase, I sometimes say it’s a “Lacanian love story.” I think this is about as funny as a “Lacanian lawyer.”

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