Art 2 – appropriation, recontextualization, and homage – due 5/14



Read the following article for definitions and distinctions about appropriation and recontextualization.

About appropriation

Watch the following 2 videos ( Duchamp is mispronounced. It should be pronounced  d oo – sh aw n (n is nasal).

Pay attention  to the evolution of appropriation from art history to pop art to the 80’s and to the cynical realism of contemporary China.

Comment and describe  the earliest uses of appropriation by artists like Manet, Picasso….and the use and evolution of appropriation through Duchamp and then Pop art with Warhol and Rauschenberg….Also describe the nature of the appropriation by Colescott and Sherman (and other artists of the 80’s/90’s/00’s) and later by the contemporary Chinese artists.

Finally, which art/artists do you like the best and why?

Which art/artist will you be appropriating and transforming in your work and why?



4 responses »

  1. 1. Eduoard Manet borrowed a well-known composition from Raphael. Picasso distorted “Las Meninas,” or “The Maids of Honor.” His own work was also appropriated. As Picasso said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.”

    Duchamp appropriated the Mona Lisa, adding a mustache and beard. He renamed it L. H. O. O. Q., which loosely translates to “She’s Got A Fire Down Below.” He also repositioned a porcelain urinal.

    Andy Warhol is famous for his silkscreen images of of Marilyn Monroe and campbell soup cans. His soup cans represent consumerism, commercialism, big business, fast food, and middle class values. Rauschenberg followed suit, reusing popular icons such as comic art.

    Colescott appropriated masterpieces of art history and combined them with his own racial, sexual and political themes.

    Sherman appropriated the centerfold, fashion photograph, historical portrait, and soft-core sex image

    2. I like Rauschenberg for his use of overlapping images.

    3. I am not sure yet what artist I will appropriate. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

  2. Manet copied Raphael, Duchamp gave Mona Lisa a mustache and beard, Andy Warhol painted Marilyn Monroe and campbell’s soup cans (but I think that’s a little different because neither of those things are paintings), Picasso made his own version of “The Maids of Honor” and “Las Meninas,” and people copied his stuff too. Duchamp’s mustache Mona Lisa will always hold a special, mustached place in my heart, but I also like Picasso’s versions of earlier paintings, mostly because it’s cool to see them in his style. I’d like to homage/edit one of Van Gogh’s paintings, but I’m not sure which one yet.

  3. Earliest use of appropriation was by more modern artists who repainted famous classical works in a new style. For example, Eduard Manet redid Raphael in a new light and the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp put a mustache on the Mona Lisa (which I don’t think is really changing all that much). Later, Andy Warhol copied pictures and advertising images in his art, which I guess is a sort of appropriation. It could also be said that he appropriated himself because he redid his own work many times. Contemporary Chinese artists are using similar techniques to Warhol, using advertising and propaganda images in their art, often a commentary on communism. I really like Manet because I love his colors and the way he makes the images he borrows his own, rather than directly copying them. I don’t know what artist I will use yet.

  4. Art appropriation has a long, proud history in the Western artistic tradition. This can be seen as early as Manet’s Olympia, which is a direct, deliberately decadent appropriation of Raphael’s Venus of Urbino. However, Manet’s modern woman is a prostitute, not a goddess, deliberating parodying the Renaissance artist’s idealized representation of a woman. Duchamp similarly parodied the Mona Lisa by portraying her with a mustache, satirizing the idea that the famous Leonardo portrait was the epitome of female perfection.
    Picasso’s use of African motifs is noteworthy in his Les Demoiselles de Avignon and his appropriation of Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Appropriation can thus be used to create new and exciting images (seeing common prostitutes in a revitalized fashion) as well as to deflate the idealization of formerly elevated subject matters. Colescott’s similarly appropriated Les Demoiselles de Avignon to envision Picasso’s French prostitutes as crude Southern prostitutes, implying that the once-scandalous, now-elevated Picasso needed to be conceptualized yet again using modern figures.
    The Pop artist Andy Warhol’s appropriation of other artists was so direct it even faced copyright challenges: with Warhol and his contemporary Robert Rauschenberg, the image was less critical than the use of that image (however mundane) an artistic setting, such as Warhol’s display of Campbell’s soup cans in silkscreened form on the walls of a museum. Appropriation has been used more and more to satirize advertising and the shallowness of popular culture, versus to engage in conversation with great past artists. Commercials are the most common ‘texts’ shared in modern life, versus representations of high art. Contemporary Chinese artists have similarly appropriated and parodied official propaganda in their work just as the photography Cindy Sherman appropriates her own body and objectified images of women in her art to highlight how the female figure is often debased and exploited in the media.
    My own location in popular culture is likely why I prefer Warhol above all else and feels that he ‘speaks’ to me—I am a product of a world that is obsessed with popular culture. Much as Picasso (the appropriator) has himself been appropriated, I would love to apply Warhol’s aesthetic to artifacts of our own, contemporary cultural landscape to reflect upon the modern, technologically-driven media.

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