The Velvet Underground's Legal Battle For Warhol's Banana Is Finally Over
It isn't clear yet whether The Velvet Underground won or not.
If you’ve been keeping up on your Velvet Underground news lately, you know that big disputes can erupt over something as innocent as a banana. The dispute over the Andy Warhol Foundation’s sale of the digital rights over Warhol’s iconic banana (painting, get your mind out of the gutter) has finally been settled.
The conflict erupted last year, when the band sued the foundation for selling rights to the iconic banana design created by Warhol for its 1967 debut album for use on iPhone and iPad products. It is a piece of iconography from the 60s, a memorable remnant from the pop art era. And considering that pop art was all about bright bold designs with little to no meaning, often inspired by advertising, it might be that the banana actually belongs on a pricey iPhone cover.
John McEnroe attends a Warhol photocall
TVU’s claim was that the design had become associated with the band to such an extent, that it counts as a symbol of the band and therefore the Warhol foundation had no right to license or sell it. Vekvet Underground founding members John Cale and Lou Reed were named as plaintiffs in the case. At this point the conditions of the settlement haven’t been announced, but it’s safe to say that fans will continue to associate the band with Warhol’s banana, so their reputation (on that front at least) is safe, whatever the outcome of the case may be.
The fight for Warhol's banana is over.