I hope I didn't give the impression that it was okay to use an artist's work wihout asking permission and without giving the artist some idea of the context. Certainly where the use of the work is not primarily for the sake of the work, its context and its author - book covers are one good example - fees should and must be paid. There was an appalling example recently of Hallensteins using a John Radford sculpture on a Tshirt without pay or permission and getting away with it on a legal technicality. One rule of The Big Picture series was that any work used had to be shown in full and then in detail - no clipping no cropping and no photo shopping - and pretty much that is how it is. The problem is not artists but arts managers who believe their function as gate-keepers entails keeping the gates firmly shut. And you might think about the inherent clash between money making exhibitions and permanent collections.
I am glad you raised this subject of images and institutions. Frankly the whole business of images for the series and the book The Big Picture was a nightmare of bureacratic obstruction, pettiness and greed. One image alone from the Hocken library - using an existing transparency - was charged out at fee that I will have to sell several hundred books to earn. Let's be clear none of those fees go anywhere near an artist or an artist's estate which might have seemed marginally reasonable at least. (Most living artists were happy to have a work included ) Worse for the book - for the film a number of major players intervened to ensure access - museums put up such impenetrable barriers to obtaining images - all in the name of "procedure" or "cultural sensitivity" - that Maori are again being written out of history and covered in a fog as dark as any of the red paint those same people's predecessors used to splash over polychromatic carvings to make them more "authentic". I would have thought - regardless of how personal or not the view might be - that the book and the series was extending the reach of the museum and gallery collections and that was a good thing! The lack of web back-up to the series is as you say the result of production inertia I tried to go there but there were too many other obstacles to persist with that - the book does acknowledge sources - the series just spins them by on the rolling credits.
Thanks for watching the show - like to make the point that there are no actors and no re-enactments anywhere in the series and I make the point - I hope - that there is NO substitute for standing in front of a work of art and having your own conversation with it. My big bitch about that is that the institutions that care for our culture do their best to get in the way.
For collectors of film trivia - I hope you spotted the Willhelm scream in episode one?