Artist Talk: Luz Del Dia: Copyrighting the Light of Day by Stephanie Mercedes

A few weeks ago I met Mercedes at the opening for Moving Walls 24 at the Open Society Foundation.  We had a brief chat about Richard Prince and lamented the fact that he seemed to dominate the discussion around appropriation art.  She was tickled by the fact that my students hated him.  I had just finished up a unit where my AP Studio Art students discussed key court cases around plagiarism and appropriation.  All of those cases featured male artists, except for Carrie Mae Weems.  Here I was meeting a young woman artist who was using copyright law for the preservation of historical fact, for the betterment of society.  A few weeks later she came to my school and did a series of talks to History, Spanish, and Art classes.  It was a hit! The students were completely enthralled by her presentations and clearly wanted to learn more about the disappearances in Argentina and her working process.  I had a few students approach me afterwards to tell me how impactful the talk was.  During one of the sessions, Mercedes asked the students what their definition of art was and most of them , unsurprisingly, answered, “personal expression”.  It gives me great pleasure to know that after the presentations their definition would have expanded.  If you want to learn more about her work just watch this video.

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