Boing Boing recently had a post about iconic logos created by Saul Bass, and it reminded me of an argument I had with a friend about what makes a work of art a good candidate for remixing (i.e., parody).
I argued that artworks that are remixed must have a quality of simplicity that makes them both easily replicable and easily recognizable, in addition to having some mysterious pleasurable quality. My friend argued that it was instead the art critics who were responsible for first making the work of art popular, which then made it a candidate for remixing. I was so angry at his complete dismissal of both the public's role in popularizing a piece of art and the psychology behind making a piece of art successful that I eventually told him I couldn't continue the discussion any longer.
Unfortunately, Saul Bass's logos seem dated now -- the only one I still really care for is the Avery International logo pictured here (and even this may be more a result of my office supply fetish than anything else). However, they do have a simple quality about them that seems to tap into the psychological experience of art that I was arguing about with my friend, and I think they also offer something to meditate on when we try to figure out how to make our own pieces of art work, whether ethnographic or otherwise.