Magdalena Waz


Remember that time a few weeks ago when McDonald’s used artists from The Bushwick Collective to sell some ridiculous burger on a bagel in the Netherlands? Well, it turns out that this ad campaign is creating quite a rift in the local art community.

A group of six artists, some associated with The Bushwick Collective and some not, are threatening to sue the fast food giant because the company allegedly used their artwork in a video without their permission and without compensation. The video, “McDonald’s presents the Vibe of Bushwick NY,” featured shots of art in Bushwick’s streets and an extended interview with Joe Ficalora, founder of The Bushwick Collective.

The artists’ argument is that when their artwork appears in promotional materials, it may look to some like they are endorsing a product or a company. This debate is nothing new and points again to the question of who owns public art and what constitutes fair use.

Artists like Louis Masai, who is not listed as one of the artists who sent the letter to McDonald’s according to Artnet News, posted lengthy screeds against the advertising on their Facebook pages:

We wondered why McDonald’s took down the documentary turned advertisement in question almost as soon it is appeared on YouTube, but the news of the lawsuit threat did not appear until the last few days.

The video can still be seen here, preserved by Vandalog:

Featured image by Louis Masai.