Art History Textbook no PicturesAs reported in numerous outlets today, publishers at the Ontario College of Art and Design realized their art history book would have cost $800 if they secured the rights to every image. So they chose the nuclear option, replacing each illustration with a white square and instructions to look the photos up online.

Not to worry! This approach should work fine for artworks like Kasimir Malevich’s White On White, or Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings or Erased De Kooning Drawing.

An art history book, minus the art –

According to a blog post published by a disgruntled parent of a student, the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) is forcing students to buy an art history book for $180 — which wouldn’t be unheard of, but the catch is that the publishers of this book didn’t get any of the image rights for the artwork it includes. To reiterate, that’s an art history survey without any pictures.

Instead of having pictures of artwork, the book, “Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800″ (so named for the course it goes with), instead just has placeholders with instructions to see a digital version for the actual image. It’s like a website with only broken image links. Just check out this hilarious sample page from the book:

Next semester we can look forward to a History of Cinema course that only screens Nam June Paik’s Zen For Film, a loop of unexposed film running through the projector, and a Music Appreciation course that only listens to John Cage’s unscored composition 4’33″.

Of course, there’s not much point in stocking this book in the library, as Web links go dead faster than, well, faster than oil paint dries. No wonder the book Re-Collection: New Media and Social Memory has a chapter entitled “Death By Law.”

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