Appropriation Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

Appropriation is an important historical movement and ideology in the Visual Arts. Going against the grain of society, it led people to question what the notion of art really was, as well as bringing up many other issues in the art community. In order to truly understand the significance of appropriation, we must first know about the basic ideas and history of the movement itself.Appropriation is the means of borrowing components from other places in order to create something new. Images, techniques are used from other works of art, and mostly, the artwork attempts to reference or “quote” the previous artwork . The view on what is involved in appropriation is varied, some only recognise it as such if it references another artwork, while some believe it is appropriation if it incorporates things from other fields, like biology, science, or the media. It can also be argued that all types of art are appropriation art, because one is borrowing from nature, or using techniques found in other paintings. Interestingly, the definition of Appropriation is almost as vague as the definition for art itself.Some of the first examples of appropriation were Picasso and George Braque’s works in 1912, which involved collage, where the newspaper clippings and other items used were there to represent themselves. From then, Marcel Duchamp was at the forefront in using appropriation to radically change the perception of art as they knew it. In 1917, Duchamp got himself a urinal, turned it sideways, signed a fake name (R.Mutt), placed it in a gallery and called it art. He later stated that this was to test the “artistic freedom” which was supposedly a fundamental part of the Society Of Independent Artists, which he was involved in and had helped found. The artwork was rejected from three galleries on the context that it was not art, to which he replied: “the mere act of choosing was enough to qualify any object as 'art'.” This was a part of the genre Duchamp called “readymade”; where mundane objects are used as themselves and called art, even though the works would not normally be called so.Marcel Duchamp most notable and famous work is L.H.O.O.Q, whose name is as multi layered as the painting. When spoken letter by letter in French, it sounds like a phrase which roughly translated means “She has a hot ass”. The work consists solely of a moustache and beard drawn on top of a reproduction of the Mona Lisa with the five letters beneath. The purpose of Duchamp’s works is to provoke thoughts and to alter the way we think, making us question our perception of art. Upon looking at L.H.O.O.Q or Fountain, we are automatically forced to consider whether or not they are works of art. What is art? Can it just be an idea? Is effort required? Is it self-constructed? Does it have to be original? The viewer must make his or her own opinion; there is no standard answer. The idea of the readymades make us wonder, is it his to...

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