This article is by Brian Sherwin, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
I'm starting to think that De-Appropriation may become the next trendy art movement-- at least online. I doubt that was Cat Weaver's intention when she revealed her "first ever De-Appropriation" of artist Richard Prince's work on a Hyperallergic article shortly after a court ruled in favor of photographer Patrick Cariou-- deeming Prince a copyright infringer.
In the weeks since Weaver's Hyperallergic article-- which I covered not long ago-- I've noticed a few De-Appropriation gems floating around websites that I visit. These creations-- all of which have been posted anonymously-- clearly take jabs at specific artists who have a wide interpretation of what appropriation art should be and an even wider interpretation of the legal concept of 'fair use'. The targeted artists-- at least from what I've observed so far-- are individuals who have lost copyright infringement lawsuits or have settled out of court after being exposed for alleged copyright infringement. I've taken the liberty of showing the 'original' image based on appropriation next to the image that was appropriated from-- followed by the De-Appropriation. Images and descriptions below:
Left image: A painting by Joy Garnett. Middle image: The photograph by Susan Meiselas that Garnett appropriated. Right image: The De-Appropriation
Left image: A collage by Richard Prince. Middle image: The photograph by Patrick Cariou that Prince appropriated. Right image: The De-Appropriation.
Left image: A collage by Shepard Fairey. Middle image: The photograph owned by the AP that Fairey appropriated. Right image: The De-Appropriation.
Those who follow my articles on FineArtViews know that I have some concerns about wide interpretations of the legal concept of 'fair use' in regards to appropriation-- and that I've offered solutions that may help artists to protect images of their art as well as the intention of the original art. I firmly believe that without strong copyright protection-- given the context of the consumer culture we live in-- the visual art community would lose what little grasp it has on culture as a whole. Furthermore, in my opinion the art market in the United States would become meaningless-- or at least severely hampered-- if strong copyright protection did not exist.
In closing, I call De-Appropriation an art movement in jest-- I'd say that the examples above are more of a movement against known or alleged copyright infringers. However, I suppose with enough momentum this direction of image making could become something more than images made to spur laughs. It will be interesting to see if-- and how-- these artists will respond to the dismantling of their images. My guess is that it won't become an issue unless profit is involved-- and if that occurs the offended artists will only serve to contradict themselves.
Take care, Stay true,