Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Appropriation: Borrowing Art

Appropriation Art has become a common and accepted working practice

for both past and contemporary artists. 

The classic case is quite old:
                                                         Raphael's original (circa 1515):

But, currrently, the term draws fire among critics of contemporary literature and art.

The argument is one of the most pointed yet in a debate that has a long history across literature, music, art and performance. While fiction might be the catalyst for this discussion, in the eyes of Abdel-Magied and others the issues are deeply rooted in real-world politics and a long history.

The image of the blackface minstrel artist of 1830s America – the white performer painted up to look like a caricature of an African-American person and performing comic skits – is perhaps the most oft-invoked example of cultural and gender appropriation from history. 

As a graduate student at UC-Berkeley, circa 1970, the era in which ethnic studies became the most popular course of study, I witnessed numerous cries of protest and dismissal of white sociologists and anthropoligists trying to describe "the black experience," male or female.

Appropriation art (from Wikipedia)
Raphael's Judgment of Paris, above, (c1515) triggered one of the most sustained and substantial sequences of copying and counter-copying in Western Art. Raphael's painting became lost but his employee, Marcantonio Raimondi, made an etched copy of it which survived. A few years after the copy was made, the general demand for copies of the original work was so great that Marco Dente da Ravenna made a slavish copy of it. Three centuries later, Manet used part of Raphael/Raimondi's original as the basis for his work Le Déjeuner Sur L'Herbe. Manet used the group of three figures in the bottom right-hand corner of the original.  And, as we see, this image has been appropriated well into the 21st century .

                                                   Manet's version (1863)

Pablo Picasso, Dejeuner sur l'herb,1961

Thomas Mickalene (b. Camden, NJ, 1971) Dejeuner sur l'herb, 2010

Robert Doisneau (b. 1912 - 1994) Dejeuner sur l'herb, 1936

      In the 21st century, Sharon Core (b. New Orleans,1965) works as an appropriation artist. She actually constructs the 3-dimentional object (i.e bakery case), photographs her work, and then destroys the copy. The value of this process leading to that photograph appropriates an image from Wayne Thiebaud's Bakery Counter (1962)

 (Thiebaud's Bakery Counter)

She has also appropriated images from Andy Warhol
Andy Worhol's Hamburger, 1985-86
                                             Sharon Core                      

                                                         Sharon Core, Hamburger,

Thiebauds "Pies" baked and photographed C print) by Sharon Core

The early and classic example is the court case involving artist
Jeff Koons and Arthur Rogers

 Lesson 2: Rogers v. Koons – Changing the media or varying details will not avoid infringement [above]
    Next, the Rogers v. Koons court had do decide if Koons’ “String of Puppies” sculpture infringed Roger’s copyright in his “Puppies” photograph. The court readily found that the sculpture was a “substantially similar” copy of the photograph. 
   The court reiterated the established legal standard that copyright infringement does not require “literal identical copying of every detail” and that “small changes here and there are unavailing.” Such “unavailing” changes include a change in media, the change from black and white to color, the addition of flowers in the couple’s hair, or the more bulbous noses of the puppies. These were not enough to avoid infringement.
Image result for cindy shermanANDY WARHOL and CINDY SHERMAN

Levine, Sherri (b. Hazleton, PA, 1947) appropriated Dada by Marcel Duchamp, 1917
Sherrie Levine (born 1947, lives and works in New York). At the beginning of the eighties Levine produced a series of photographs that placed her work at the forefront of a new artistic current, the appropriation by artists of other artists’ work. By reproducing identically the photographs of Walker Evans and Edward Weston, Levine questioned the notion of originality in art, its status and the way in which reproductions of art are perceived.

In 1981, Levine photographed reproductions of Depression-era photographs by Walker Evans, such as this famous portrait of Allie Mae Burroughs, the wife of an Alabama sharecropper. The series, entitled After Walker Evans, became a landmark of postmodernism, both praised and attacked as a feminist hijacking of patriarchal authority, a critique of the commodification of art, and an elegy on the death of modernism. [MetropolitanMuseum of art Online]

Duchamp's Fountain, 1917

Image result for levine fountain after duchampLeVine Fountain, 1991  I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn’t give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyond dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority.–Sherrie Levine


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