Today, The Art Guys (Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth) issued what they say is "our final statement" regarding their recent accusation against filmmaker Morgan Spurlock--that the Super Size Me! director plagiarized the Art Guys' late-1990s SUITS project in his most recent film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
Spurlock called the accusations "baseless" and "preposterous"
In today's statement, the Guys describe the ordeal with Spurlock as "an unfortunate and undesired situation and one which we find distasteful and distracting." Yet, they stick to their guns about the accusation, reiterating that there is "no doubt" Spurlock plagiarized their idea. They refer to Spurlock's corporate logo-emblazoned business suit as "almost an exact replica of the SUITS project and of the specific garments which are now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston."
Massing and Galbreth go on to explain the "intellectual heritage" of the SUITS project and the artists/movements/images to which it owes a certain debt. But, they say, "...the SUITS project is ultimately and finally an art work, and should properly be studied and considered within this context." While the Guys' suits weren't the first outfits covered in logos, "the specific form of the SUITS and the philosophical and conceptual issues that it addresses, stand uniquely apart. It was the first of its kind."
They offer an essay by Dave Hickey in support of their argument.
Regarding Spurlock's claim that he'd never heard of them, the Guys say: "The SUITS are not as obscure as Mr. Spurlock suggests and his statements to the contrary are evidence of the common tactic of evading specific accusations while attempting to discredit the accusers."
Massing and Galbreth also believe that Spurlock "deceived" the companies that purchased advertising space on his suit, thinking the idea was conceived by Spurlock. "It is not," they say.
Here's the tail end of the statement:
We agree with Christian Marclay when he was quoted as saying, "This culture's so much about suing each other that if we want to have anything that's more of an open exchange of ideas, one has to stop this mentality." But we also believe that what must stop is the plagiarizing of artists' ideas for one's own benefit and profit.
We believe that Mr. Spurlock has plagiarized our project SUITS: The Clothes Make The Man by wearing a dark men's business suit that has been covered with embroidered corporate logos from companies who have paid for this advertising space in an effort to engage the media and the public about the topic of the pervasiveness of advertising, marketing and branding in our culture.
There is nothing more to say and we are not interested in spending any more of our time with this issue as we are concerned with other ideas and projects. Simply put, we have better things to do. We are very grateful to those who have offered advice and support. This is our final statement concerning this matter.
The Art Guys
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.