I'm grossed out reading about this now settled lawsuit against Paik, brought by his longtime Ohio fabricator and dealer, Carl Solway.... especially after seeing two of the disputed pieces, Tower and W3, in the recent James Cohan show.
GROSSNESS IN THREE PARTS
1. Initial Complaint from Carl Solway:
Solway brings a lawsuit against Paik and his business manager/nephew Ken Hakuta after Hakuta raised questions as to the authenticity of Retrobot, a Paik piece that was about to be auctioned by Phillips. This broadened to questioning the authenticity of four more works Solway had... Stage, Tower, Ruin, and W3.
Hakuta subsequently refused to provide certificates of authenticity for the five pieces.
Solway's suit maintains that he had met with Paik in Miami in February of 2001, bringing "for Paik's consideration and review two computer mock-ups of ideas for Ruin and Tower...", and that Paik agreed to the fabrication.
The Solway proposal visit to Paik in Miami was prompted after another dealer, Dolores An, had approached Solway, looking to buy three Paiks for a South Korean client.
2. Nam June Paik Declaration:
"I have been informed by my attorney that Mr. Solway has brought this suit to have the Court declare that the five pieces of artwork shown in Exhibits A through E (Retrobot, Tower, Ruin, Stage, and W3) are my authentic works. They are not. The artistic concepts for four of the five pieces are not mine. The fifth piece appears to be a recreation of a genuine piece I conceived in the 1980's. I played no role in the fabrication of any of the five pieces. I have never approved these five pieces or ever seen them."
Paik continues, on Tower and Ruin -
"I played no role in designing these pieces. They are not my concepts and I have never seen the works shown in the pictures. I had never seen the pictures of these pieces until after I heard that Mr. Solway had sold them to a dealer in New York as my artwork".
3. Final Statement:
"All parties have agreed to the settlement and dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Solway Gallery, Inc. Under the terms of the settlement, Paik will authenticate the artworks known as: Mirage, Stage, Tower, Ruin and W-3. The parties have agreed that Solway will destroy the work known as Retrobot."
There is a lot more interesting stuff in there to read... I'm just posting the main points of the dispute, and that which pertains to the boring Tower, described below from the James Cohan press release -
"The work seems to suggest Paik's interest in the phenomenon of electronic communication and his prescient pre-internet notion of 'the global village.'"
Not Paik... OR IS IT?????? It's a mysterious process.