Nicolino stole the idea for a ball of bras from her. Listen to her
share her feelings about the bra ball battle.
over the ball
When the column appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, more than
20,000 bras stuffed in bags and wrapped on a spool sat in Nicolino's
house in Vallejo, Ca.
For the last year, Nicolino had tried to give away his growing collection
of bras both on the spool and in bags.
"I was trying to get some group to say what they were going to
do with it and do something consistent with the politics and history
of my project and do it with some style. Maybe like that spool,"
According to Nicolino, "An individual got involved and made a
proposal for taking it [the collection]. During our initial phone conversation,
this individual suggested bra ball. I kind of led her there by the hand.
"I showed her a picture of the spool. And she knew about the Grand
Canyon project. I asked her to make a written proposal and form a group,"
Duffy has a different story. She says that Nicolino didnt want
to part with just a fraction of his bras; he wanted Duffy to take the
entire collection of twenty thousand off of his hands.
"I asked myself What would I do with that many bras?
An image of the BraBall formed in my mind," says Duffy.
Duffy says she "immediately followed up the phone call with a
formal proposal letter in which I suggested we might collaborate. I
had thought it would be novel and refreshing for a female artist and
a male artist to collaborate on an art project involving gender issues."
Two months later, in December 2000, Duffy received a call from Nicolino.
According to Duffy, he had decided not to give her his collection of
bras. Instead, he was going to construct a ball of bras on his own.
courtesy of Emily Duffy
wanted a few hundred of Nicolinos bras to make a "car
bra" for the VAINVAN, a van she has decorated with words
and images about femininity and vanity.
Nicolino describes Duffy's letter this way: "The proposal was
a failure. It describes something kind of angry, and so I withdrew the
offer for that reason and because a group had not been formed. Theres
too much ego involved with individuals. I wanted a group to take this
thing because I cant afford to do it."
Duffy says she immediately copyrighted her sketches, notes and a photo
of a scale model of the bra ball.
|Read the first
letter Emily sent to Nicolino, detailing
"I also got a lawyer. My lawyer sent the other artist a cease-and-desist
letter. The other artist then got himself a lawyer, who claimed that
I cannot hold a copyright on the concept or sketch of a sculpture. The
only way I could keep the other artist from appropriating my design,
it seemed, was to make a full-sized, permanent BraBall immediately."
The two artists commenced dueling bra balls. A little over one year
later, the lawyers have retired to their corners. Nicolino is taking
his Big Giant Bra Ball on tour. Duffy continues to build her BraBall
in her El Cerrito studio. And the world seems large enough for two bra
column by Leah Garchik that started it all.