Yesterday’s Globe and Mail carried a story on copyright infringement concerning visual artist Marcel Dzama’s uncredited use of scenes from Deco Dawson’s 2001 film FILM (dzama) in Dzama’s 2004-2005 film The Lotus Eaters. Allegations of plagiarism were also leveled.
The Lotus Eaters, one of two films on display at the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal’s Marcel Dzama retrospective (entitled Of Many Turns), was returned to Dzama’s New York gallerist David Zwirner prior to the show’s closure – not because the Musee believed the allegations to be true, but because they wanted to avoid being “enmeshed in a possible legal joust,” according to the Globe.
My problem has less to do with the allegations than the behaviour of the Musee. Isn’t it the responsibility of the museum to prevent situations like this from happening? And if not, shouldn't they at least step up, as opposed to stepping aside? You would think that the curator in charge of the exhibition would know Dzama’s work well enough to know what is -- and isn’t -- his.