Frank Ocean Accused of Ripping Off an Artist’s Album Design

Musician Jesse Osborne-Lanthier took to twitter to suggest Ocean plagiarized art for his blondedRadio show.

Frank Ocean. Courtesy of Paul Bruinooge, ©Patrick McMullan.
Frank Ocean. Courtesy of Paul Bruinooge, ©Patrick McMullan.

Did Frank Ocean plagiarize the design for his Beats 1 blondedRadio show? Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, a musician and artist, has accused the singer of doing exactly that.

“LOL been brought to my att that Frank Ocean ripd-off Grischa Lichtenberger n I’s poster that came with ‘CSLM’ on cosmo rhythmatic last year,” wrote Osborne-Lanthier on Twitter on June 2, sharing a side-by-side comparison of the two works.

Both designs show black text sprinkled across a white page, with one rectangular photograph overlaid on top. They both look a little bit like a concrete poem about rain. Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s design was for his 2016 electronic music release with Grischa Lichtenberger, Conversation Sur Lettres Mortes.

Ocean has yet to weigh in on the matter, and his PR team did not respond to artnet News’s request for comment. We also reached out to Osborne-Lanthier and had not heard back at press time.

Frank Ocean, "Lens," single cover, and Kerry James Marshall, <em>A Portrait of the Artist As a Shadow of His Former Self</em> (1980).

Frank Ocean, “Lens,” single cover, and Kerry James Marshall, A Portrait of the Artist As a Shadow of His Former Self (1980).

The budding controversy follows the release of Ocean’s single “Lens” in April, which had cover art that appeared to be inspired by Kerry James Marshall’s A Portrait of the Artist As a Shadow of His Former Self (1980), currently on view in the artist’s touring retrospective, “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry,” at LA MOCA through July 3. Like the painting, the single cover shows a black man’s silhouette, his only feature a bright white grin with a missing tooth.

Meanwhile, Ocean recently sent out a message of his own decrying copycat material. In a May 27 Tumblr post, Ocean shared an image of a store window display, later revealed to be at a Forever 21, with a sign reading “pop up.”

A Forever 21 storefront and the Frank Ocean <em>Blonde</em> album cover.

A Forever 21 storefront and the Frank Ocean Blonde album cover.

The words were written in the same font the musician features on the cover of his 2016 album Blonde, which was initially distributed at pop up stores across the country. Pitchfork reports that a later-removed hashtag in the caption read “#ceaseanddesist.”


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