Appropriation art

Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literary, visual, musical and performing arts). In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of human-made visual culture. Notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp.

Inherent in our understanding of appropriation is the concept that the new work recontextualizes whatever it borrows to create the new work. In most cases the original ‘thing’ remains accessible as the original, without change.

Appropriation has been defined as “the taking over, into a work of art, of a real object or even an existing work of art.” The Tate Gallery traces the practise back to Cubism and Dadaism, but continuing into 1940s Surrealism and 1950s Pop art. It returned to prominence in the 1980s with the Neo-Geo artists.

Works by Appropriation Art usually deal with the abstract characteristics of works of art and the art market itself. Through the act of appropriation they problematize fundamental categories of the art world such as authorship, originality, creativity, intellectual property, signature, market value, museum space (so-called white cube), history, gender, subject, identity and difference. She focuses on paradoxesand self-contradictions and makes them visible and aesthetically tangible.

The individual strategies of individual artists differ greatly, so that a uniform overall program is not easy to identify. Many artists assigned to Appropriation Art deny being part of a “movement”. “Appropriation Art” is therefore only a label that has been used in art criticism since the early 1980s and is quite controversial.

The techniques used are manifold. Appropriation becomes u. a. operated with painting, photography, film art, sculpture, collage, décollage, environment, happenings, fluxus and performance.

In the early 1970s, Elaine Sturtevant copied works by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella, among others, with screen printing or color, ie in the original techniques. It is reported that some of the artists she copied gave her advice on technology. Andy Warhol is said to have even given him his original sieves. Sturtevant himself says that she wants to escape the compulsion to originality that weighs on every artist by exploring this category with the means of art.

Richard Pettibone has often copied Warhol and seen to him in the following ratio: “I’m a careful craftsman, he’s a slob.” Pettibone imitations were auctioned heard of Sotheby’s.

Mike Bidlo did a performance after a biographical anecdote, in which he urinated as Jackson Pollock disguised in an open fireplace. For his exhibitions, he had works of art by Andy Warhol or Constantin Brâncuşi in series. He is currently producing thousands of drawings and models of the Ready-made Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp’s Ready-made is considered one of the most important works of art of modern times. Therefore, Bidlo’s project can be understood both as a tribute to Duchamp as well as a symbolic processing of the generational conflict.

Louise Lawler photographed works of art in the living rooms of art collectors and in museums in situ, ie with their respective surroundings. It shows in which context art is received and how it is staged in spaces.

A series of photographs by Cindy Sherman are the History Portraits, on which she is costumed and staged according to Art Old Master. She temporarily goes into the historical roles of women and men. Sherman often uses deliberately sloppy costumes and coarse make-up, so that the staging remains recognizable in the image. The History Portraits can be understood as a commentary on the history of art, in which women mostly served only as models, that is objects for the view of male painters; At the same time, they also raise questions about the historical construction of identity, femininity and masculinity (see Gender, Self-Portrait).

Sherrie Levine became famous for her appropriation of the photographs of Walker Evans, which she photographed from illustrated books and exhibited under her name under the title After Walker Evans. In 2001, Michael Mandiberg applied this action to the artist: he photographed Sherrie Levine’s copies and presented his photos under the title After Sherrie Levine. Mandiberg was not the only representative of the “second generation” of appropriationists appropriating the first generation: Yasumasa Morimura staged himself after photographs by Cindy Shermanon which she portrayed herself in various disguises and roles (movie stills). Since Sherman often slips into male roles as a woman in her pictures, but Morimura appears as a transvestite, the confusion of gender identity is even increased.

Philosophically, the conceptual strategies of appropriation approach deconstruction, media theory, and intertextuality. Artistic techniques such as citation, allusion, travesty, parody, and pastiche, which are generally considered to be features of postmodern art, can be found in works of Appropriation Art. Since many strategies of appropriation art are oriented towards the art system itself, one can also speak of meta-art or the self-reflexive system of the art system (see System Theory). It is one of the art movements that actively explore the conditions and limits of art and can force the art system to redefine itself.

A work of Appropriation Art can also be protected in terms of copyright, even if it resembles an already existing work of another artist in every detail. The protectable creative achievement then consists in the development of the concept and the independent strategy of the copying artist. Fraud or deception are not intended by the artists. Just like the sampling or the cover versionIn music, however, Appropriation Art moves in areas where copyright is at work. However, since it can be argued that the process of copying in this case is an original, artistic process, there are rarely conflicts of a legal nature. Moreover, the value of the role model in the visual arts, unlike in media products, usually becomes tied to its material existence, which is not affected by an appropriation.

According to Austrian law, appropriation art creations are generally to be classified as free subsequent uses in accordance with § 5 (2) of the Austrian Copyright Act, or at least a justification of the freedom of art and expression is possible.

In the early twentieth century Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque appropriated objects from a non-art context into their work. In 1912, Picasso pasted a piece of oil cloth onto the canvas. Subsequent compositions, such as Guitar, Newspaper, Glass and Bottle (1913) in which Picasso used newspaper clippings to create forms, became categorized as synthetic cubism. The two artists incorporated aspects of the “real world” into their canvases, opening up discussion of signification and artistic representation.

Marcel Duchamp is credited with introducing the concept of the ready-made, in which “industrially produced utilitarian objects…achieve the status of art merely through the process of selection and presentation.” Duchamp explored this notion as early as 1913 when he mounted a stool with a bicycle wheel and again in 1915 when he purchased a snow shovel and humorously inscribed it “in advance of the broken arm, Marcel Duchamp.” In 1917, Duchamp formally submitted a readymade into the Society of Independent Artists exhibition under the pseudonym, R. Mutt. Entitled Fountain, it consisted of a porcelain urinal that was propped atop a pedestal and signed “R. Mutt 1917”. The work posed a direct challenge to traditional perceptions of fine art, ownership, originality and plagiarism, and was subsequently rejected by the exhibition committee. Duchamp publicly defended Fountain, claiming “whether Mr.Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view—and created a new thought for that object.”

The Dada movement (including Duchamp as an associate) continued with the appropriation of everyday objects. Dada works featured deliberate irrationality and the rejection of the prevailing standards of art. Kurt Schwitters, who produced art at the same time as the Dadaists, shows a similar sense of the bizarre in his “merz” works. He constructed these from found objects, and they took the form of large constructions that later generations would call installations.

The Surrealists, coming after the Dada movement, also incorporated the use of ‘found objects’ such as Méret Oppenheim’s Object (Luncheon in Fur) (1936). These objects took on new meaning when combined with other unlikely and unsettling objects.

In 1938 Joseph Cornell produced what might be considered the first work of film appropriation in his randomly cut and reconstructed film Rose Hobart.

In the 1950s Robert Rauschenberg used what he dubbed “combines”, literally combining readymade objects such as tires or beds, painting, silk-screens, collage, and photography. Similarly, Jasper Johns, working at the same time as Rauschenberg, incorporated found objects into his work.

The Fluxus art movement also utilised appropriation: its members blended different artistic disciplines including visual art, music, and literature. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s they staged “action” events and produced sculptural works featuring unconventional materials.

Along with artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol appropriated images from commercial art and popular culture as well as the techniques of these industries. Often called “pop artists”, they saw mass popular culture as the main vernacular culture, shared by all irrespective of education. These artists fully engaged with the ephemera produced from this mass-produced culture, embracing expendability and distancing themselves from the evidence of an artist’s hand.

In 1958 Bruce Conner produced the influential A Movie in which he recombined existing film clips. In 1958 Raphael Montanez Ortiz produced Cowboy and Indian Film, a seminal appropriation film work.

In the late 1970s Dara Birnbaum was working with appropriation to produce feminist works of art. In 1978-79 she produced one of the first video appropriations. Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman utilised video clips from the Wonder Woman television series.

The term appropriation art was in common use in the 1980s with artists such as Sherrie Levine, who addressed the act of appropriating itself as a theme in art. Levine often quotes entire works in her own work, for example photographing photographs of Walker Evans. Challenging ideas of originality, drawing attention to relations between power, gender and creativity, consumerism and commodity value, the social sources and uses of art, Levine plays with the theme of “almost same”. Elaine Sturtevant (also known simply as Sturtevant), on the other hand, painted and exhibited perfect replicas of famous works. She replicated Andy Warhol’s Flowers in 1965 at the Bianchini Gallery in New York. She trained to reproduce the artist’s own technique—to the extent that when Warhol was repeatedly questioned on his technique, he once answered “I don’t know. Ask Elaine.”

During the 1970s and 1980s Richard Prince re-photographed advertisements such as for Marlboro cigarettes or photo-journalism shots. His work takes anonymous and ubiquitous cigarette billboard advertising campaigns, elevates the status and focusses our gaze on the images.

Appropriation artists comment on all aspects of culture and society. Joseph Kosuth appropriated images to engage with philosophy and epistemological theory. Other artists working with appropriation during this time with included Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Greg Colson, and Malcolm Morley.

In the 1990s artists continued to produce appropriation art, using it as a medium to address theories and social issues, rather than focussing on the works themselves. Damian Loeb used film and cinema to comment on themes of simulacrum and reality. Other high-profile artists working at this time included Christian Marclay, Deborah Kass, Damien Hirst[dubious – discuss] and Genco Gulan.

In the digital age
Since the 1990s, the exploitation of historical precursors is as multifarious as the concept of appropriation is unclear. A hitherto unparalleled quantity of appropriations pervades not only the field of the visual arts, but of all cultural areas. The new generation of appropriators considers themselves “archeolog of the present time”. Some speak of “postproduction”, which is based on pre-existing works, to re-edit “the screenplay of culture”. The annexation of works made by others or of available cultural products mostly follows the concept of use. So-called “prosumers”—those consuming and producing at the same time—browse through the ubiquitous archive of the digital world (more seldom through the analog one), in order to sample the ever accessible images, words, and sounds via ‘copy-paste’ or ‘drag-drop’ to ‘bootleg’, ‘mashup’ or ‘remix’ them just as one likes. Appropriations have today become an everyday phenomenon.

The new “generation remix”—who have taken the stages not only of the visual arts, but also of music, literature, dance and film—causes, of course, highly controversial debates. Media scholars Lawrence Lessig coined in the begin of the 2000s here the term of the remix culture. On the one hand are the celebrators who foresee a new age of innovative, useful, and entertaining ways for art of the digitized and globalized 21st century. The new appropriationists will not only realize Joseph Beuys’ dictum that everyone is an artist but also “build free societies”. By liberating art finally from traditional concepts such as aura, originality, and genius, they will lead to new terms of understanding and defining art. More critical observers see this as the starting point of a huge problem. If creation is based on nothing more than carefree processes of finding, copying, recombining and manipulating pre-existing media, concepts, forms, names, etc. of any source, the understanding of art will shift in their sight to a trivialized, low-demanding, and regressive activity. In view of the limitation of art to references to pre-existing concepts and forms, they foresee endless recompiled and repurposed products. Skeptics call this a culture of recycling with an addiction to the past

Some say that only lazy people who have nothing to say let themselves be inspired by the past in this way. Others fear, that this new trend of appropriation is caused by nothing more than the wish of embellishing oneself with an attractive genealogy. The term appropriationism reflects the overproduction of reproductions, remakings, reenactments, recreations, revisionings, reconstructings, etc. by copying, imitating, repeating, quoting, plagiarizing, simulating, and adapting pre-existing names, concepts and forms. Appropriationism is discussed—in comparison of appropriation forms and concepts of the 20th century which offer new representations of established knowledge—as a kind of “racing standstill”, referring to the acceleration of random, uncontrollable operations in highly mobilised, fluid Western societies that are governed more and more by abstract forms of control. Unlimited access to the digital archive of creations and easily feasible digital technologies, as well as the priority of fresh ideas and creative processes over a perfect masterpiece leads to a hyperactive hustle and bustle around the past instead of launching new expeditions into unexplored territory that could give visibility to the forgotten ghosts and ignored phantoms of our common myths and ideologies.

Appropriation Cinema
In film art, the term Appropriation Cinema is sometimes used (more commonly found footage film). These are cinematic works that take over and manipulate existing footage. The American director Gus Van Sant turned z. For example, with Psycho (1998) a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho(1960), which consistently recreates scene after scene of the original. The equipment and the staging were slightly modified only in some scenes. The film faced many attacks; The cinema audience did not understand it as an independent achievement and therefore as superfluous. Since the remake of films is a common genre in the film industry, the situation is different here than in art – one can also understand van Sant’s film as a parody of remakes or as pastiche.

Also in charge of psycho was the British video artist Douglas Gordon, who stretched the film in a 24-hour video projection in his installation 24 Hour Psycho. Gordon understands his work as a play between the artistic aura of the masterpiece and the individual interventions and manipulations that any owner of a video recorder can make to a film, when he wants to immerse himself meditatively or analytically in individual image sequences.

Appropriation theater
In 2010, the theater group Shanzhai Institute founded. Based on the Chinese Shanzhai tradition of copy and appropriation art, the group copies and re-enacts historic and existing theater productions in detail, with only the actors and actors being reclassified. In 2016 the re-enactment of Chekhov’s ” The Seagull “, directed by Jürgen Gosch from 2008, is planned at the Schauspiel Leipzig.

Artists using appropriation
The following are notable artists known for their use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them:

Ai Kijima
Aleksandra Mir
Andy Warhol
Barbara Kruger
Benjamin Edwards
Bern Porter
Bill Jones
Brian Dettmer
Burhan Dogancay
Christian Marclay
Cindy Sherman
Claes Oldenburg
Cornelia Sollfrank
Cory Arcangel
Craig Baldwin
Damian Loeb
Damien Hirst
David Salle
Deborah Kass
Dominique Mulhem
Douglas Gordon
Elaine Sturtevant
Eric Doeringer
Fatimah Tuggar
Felipe Jesus Consalvos
Genco Gulan
General Idea
George Pusenkoff
Georges Braque
Gerhard Richter
Ghada Amer
Glenn Brown
Gordon Bennett
Graham Rawle
Graig Kreindler
Greg Colson
Hans Haacke
Hans-Peter Feldman
J. Tobias Anderson
Jake and Dinos Chapman
James Cauty
Jasper Johns
Jeff Koons
Joan Miró
John Baldessari
John McHale
John Stezaker
Joseph Cornell
Joseph Kosuth
Joy Garnett
Karen Kilimnik
Kelley Walker
Kenneth Goldsmith
Kurt Schwitters
Lennie Lee
Leon Golub
Louise Lawler
Luc Tuymans
Luke Sullivan
Malcolm Morley
Marcel Duchamp
Marcus Harvey
Mark Divo
Marlene Dumas
Martin Arnold
Matthieu Laurette
Max Ernst
Meret Oppenheim
Michael Landy
Mike Bidlo
Mike Kelley
Miltos Manetas
Nancy Spero
Nikki S. Lee
Norm Magnusson
PJ Crook
Pablo Picasso
People Like Us
Peter Saville
Philip Taaffe
Pierre Bismuth
Pierre Huyghe
Reginald Case
Richard Prince
Rick Prelinger
Rob Scholte
Robert Longo
Robert Rauschenberg
Shepard Fairey
Sherrie Levine
Elaine Sturtevant
System D-128
Ted Noten
Thomas Ruff
Tom Phillips
Vik Muniz
Vikky Alexander
Vivienne Westwood
Yasumasa Morimura

Appropriation art and copyright
Appropriation art has resulted in contentious copyright issues regarding its validity under copyright law. The U.S. has been particularly litigious in this respect. A number of case-law examples have emerged that investigate the division between transformative works and derivative works.

Andy Warhol faced a series of lawsuits from photographers whose work he appropriated and silk-screened. Patricia Caulfield, one such photographer, had taken a picture of flowers for a photography demonstration for a photography magazine. Without her permission, Warhol covered the walls of Leo Castelli’s New York gallery with his silk-screened reproductions of Caulfield’s photograph in 1964. After seeing a poster of Warhol’s unauthorized reproductions in a bookstore, Caulfield sued Warhol for violating her rights as the copyright owner, and Warhol made a cash settlement out of court.

On the other hand, Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans are generally held to be non-infringing of the soup maker’s trademark, despite being clearly appropriated, because “the public was unlikely to see the painting as sponsored by the soup company or representing a competing product. Paintings and soup cans are not in themselves competing products”, according to expert trademark lawyer Jerome Gilson.

Jeff Koons has also confronted issues of copyright due to his appropriation work (see Rogers v. Koons). Photographer Art Rogers brought suit against Koons for copyright infringement in 1989. Koons’ work, String of Puppies sculpturally reproduced Rogers’ black-and-white photograph that had appeared on an airport greeting card that Koons had bought. Though he claimed fair use and parody in his defense, Koons lost the case, partially due to the tremendous success he had as an artist and the manner in which he was portrayed in the media. The parody argument also failed, as the appeals court drew a distinction between creating a parody of modern society in general and a parody directed at a specific work, finding parody of a specific work, especially of a very obscure one, too weak to justify the fair use of the original.

In October 2006, Koons successfully defended a different work by claiming “fair use”. For a seven-painting commission for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, Koons drew on part of a photograph taken by Andrea Blanch titled Silk Sandals by Gucci and published in the August 2000 issue of Allure magazine to illustrate an article on metallic makeup. Koons took the image of the legs and diamond sandals from that photo (omitting other background details) and used it in his painting Niagara, which also includes three other pairs of women’s legs dangling surreally over a landscape of pies and cakes.

In his decision, Judge Louis L. Stanton of U.S. District Court found that Niagara was indeed a “transformative use” of Blanch’s photograph. “The painting’s use does not ‘supersede’ or duplicate the objective of the original”, the judge wrote, “but uses it as raw material in a novel way to create new information, new aesthetics and new insights. Such use, whether successful or not artistically, is transformative.”

The detail of Blanch’s photograph used by Koons is only marginally copyrightable. Blanch has no rights to the Gucci sandals, “perhaps the most striking element of the photograph”, the judge wrote. And without the sandals, only a representation of a woman’s legs remains—and this was seen as “not sufficiently original to deserve much copyright protection.”

In 2000, Damien Hirst’s sculpture Hymn (which Charles Saatchi had bought for a reported £1m) was exhibited in Ant Noises in the Saatchi Gallery. Hirst was sued for breach of copyright over this sculpture. The subject was a ‘Young Scientist Anatomy Set’ belonging to his son Connor, 10,000 of which are sold a year by Hull (Emms) Toy Manufacturer. Hirst created a 20-foot, six-ton enlargement of the Science Set figure, radically changing the perception of the object. Hirst paid an undisclosed sum to two charities, Children Nationwide and the Toy Trust in an out-of-court settlement. The charitable donation was less than Emms had hoped for. Hirst sold three more copies of his sculpture for similar amounts to the first.

Appropriating a familiar object to make an art work can prevent the artist claiming copyright ownership. Jeff Koons threatened to sue a gallery under copyright, claiming that the gallery infringed his proprietary rights by selling bookends in the shape of balloon dogs. Koons abandoned that claim after the gallery filed a complaint for declaratory relief stating, “As virtually any clown can attest, no one owns the idea of making a balloon dog, and the shape created by twisting a balloon into a dog-like form is part of the public domain.”

In 2008, photojournalist Patrick Cariou sued artist Richard Prince, Gagosian Gallery and Rizzoli books for copyright infringement. Prince had appropriated 40 of Cariou’s photos of Rastafari from a book, creating a series of paintings known as Canal Zone. Prince variously altered the photos, painting objects, oversized hands, naked women and male torsos over the photographs, subsequently selling over $10 million worth of the works. In March 2011, a judge ruled in favor of Cariou, but Prince and Gargosian appealed on a number of points. Three judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right to an appeal. Prince’s attorney argued that “Appropriation art is a well-recognized modern and postmodern art form that has challenged the way people think about art, challenged the way people think about objects, images, sounds, culture” On April 24, 2013, the appeals court largely overturned the original decision, deciding that many of the paintings had sufficiently transformed the original images and were therefore a permitted use. See Cariou v. Prince.

In November 2010, Chuck Close threatened legal action against computer artist Scott Blake for creating a Photoshop filter that built images out of dissected Chuck Close paintings. The story was first reported by online arts magazine Hyperallergic, it was reprinted on the front page of, and spread rapidly through the web. Kembrew McLeod, author of several books on sampling and appropriation, said in Wired that Scott Blake’s art should fall under the doctrine of fair use.

In September 2014, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit questioned the Second Circuit’s interpretation of the fair use doctrine in the Cariou case. Of particular note, the Seventh Circuit noted that “transformative use” is not one of the four enumerated fair use factors but is, rather, simply part of the first fair use factor which looks to the “purpose and character” of the use. The Seventh Circuit’s critique lends credence to the argument that there is a split among U.S. courts as to what role “transformativeness” is to play in any fair use inquiry.

In 2013, Andrew Gilden and Timothy Greene published a law review article in The University of Chicago Law Review dissecting the factual similarities and legal differences between the Cariou case and the Salinger v. Colting case, articulating concerns that judges may be creating a fair use “privilege largely reserved for the rich and famous.”

Source from Wikipedia