Can you copyright ‘Nothing’?

Posted on: June 10, 2014 by

Performance artist Marina Abramov begins her show of ‘Nothing‘ tomorrow at the Serpentine Gallery in London. It consists of 512 hours of the artist in the gallery doing, well, nothing.

It sounds like an ingenious idea, but apparently she is not the first to come up with such a piece. A number of complaints have been passed on to the Serpentine Gallery, claiming that the idea originated with Mary Ellen Carroll, the New York-based conceptual artist. Carroll had had no mention in relation to the Serpentine show.

As the Institute of Art and Law begins the second day of its Diploma in Intellectual Property and Collections (DipIPC) course, this perhaps begs the question: can an original artist copyright an idea – the idea of nothing?