Artist Bryan Zanisnik was half an hour into reading Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel inside a Plexiglass case surrounded by junk when the author’s lawyers served him with a cease and desist letter. Mid-performance. Opening night. The kicker? He was reading it silently.
The Abrons Art Center on the Lower East Side hosting Zanisnik’s Every Inch a Man are “shocked” but “not very concerned,” they tell ArtNet. “The grounds of the cease and desist are erroneous. We’re not reading anything out loud or reproducing anything — there’s no chance here of copyright infringement.” Is this the new age of Thought Copyright Police or did the lawyers just make an oops? Why’s the Abrons Art Center site down? Uh-oh.