Property, J. Paul Getty, No Alteration of Content, 2019
Paolo Cirio

Inkjet print on glass and paper

100 x 100 cm

With the series Property, J. Paul Getty, Cirio collected photos of the founder of Getty and overlays them with legal clauses from the contract license agreements of photos sold by Getty Images Inc. By appropriating photos of the art collector himself, this work questions the role of patronage and the ownership of art. J. Paul Getty symbolically represents the accumulation and concentration of wealth in the form of the aggregation, marketing, and the sale of photos. Reminiscent of the extractive business of the oil magnate founder of the company, metaphorically, images are the new oil of the contemporary visual capital. The artworks overlay text from legal clauses pertaining to the licensing agreement on portraits of J. Paul Getty, bringing the images’ legal and economic value into dialogue with its visual qualities.

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