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Bootlegging as Creative Practice

Various Artists
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In-depth discussions on bootlegging and its myriad definitions in the creative world

Over the last few decades, the term "bootlegging"--a practice once relegated to smugglers and copyright infringers--has become understood as a creative act. Debates about homage, appropriation and theft, already common in the art world, are now being held in the spheres of corporate branding, social media and the creative industry as a whole. Today, bootlegging has become an aesthetic in and of itself, influencing everything from underground record labels and DIY T-shirts to publishing ideologies and acts of high fashion détournement. Unlicensed, a project by Ben Schwartz, contains 21 interviews with a range of creative practitioners on the topic of bootlegging. Some of these interviews were originally published on the Gradient, the design blog of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where Schwartz began his research on bootlegging. These conversations investigate bootlegging's creative and critical potential, and explore new ways it can be deployed in order to thrive as an impactful cultural force.


Artists include: Line Arngaard, Clara Balaguer, BLESS, Boot Boyz Biz, Akinola Davies Jr., Eric Doeringer, Experimental Jetset, Elisa van Joolen, Czar Kristoff, Hassan Kurbanbaev, Oliver Lebrun, Urs Lehni, Jonathan Monk, Sonia Oet, Matt Olson, Online Ceramics, Mark Owens, Printed Matter (Jordan Nassar and Christopher Schulz), Nat Pyper, Babak Radboy, Hassan Rahim, Shanzhai Lyric, SHIRT, Oana Stanescu.

Ben Schwartz (born 1988) is a graphic designer and editor based in New York. He collaborates with several graphic design studios in the cultural sector across a variety of media. From 2016 to 2018 he served as a Graphic Design Fellow at the Walker Art Center.


  • Publisher: Valiz
  • Publish Date: February 20, 2024
  • Pages: 432
  • Dimensions: 0.0 X 0.0 X 0.0 inches | 0.0 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Paperback
  • EAN/UPC: 9789493246294
  • BISAC Categories: Criticism & Theory


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