Luminous-Lint - for collectors and connoisseurs of fine photography

Getting around


HomeWhat's NewContentsVisual IndexesOnline ExhibitionsPhotographersGalleries and DealersThemes
AbstractEroticaFashionLandscapeNaturePhotojournalismPhotomontagePictorialismPortraitScientificStill lifeStreetWar
CalendarsTimelinesTechniquesLibraryImages and WordsSupport 

Social media

Share |


HomeContentsThemes > Appropriation


303.01   Introduction to appropriation
303.02   Appropriation
303.03   Andy Warhol: Appropriation
303.04   Richard Prince: Appropriation
303.05   Robert Heinecken: Appropriation
303.06   Sherrie Levine: Appropriation
303.07   Robert Silvers: Photomosaics
303.08   Daniele Buetti: Appropriations and manipulations
303.09   Thomas Allen: Uncovered
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
303.01   Art >  Introduction to appropriation 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
Appropriation within photography, and more generally within art, is the re-use of pre-existing images create new images with little or no change. A key point here is the photographer has recontextualized the original image and the "new" version of the image carries with it distinct messages.
The "Readymades" of Marcel Duchamp such as the urinal, Fountain by R. Mutt (1917), is the most notorious example.[1] A ceramic plumbing fixture when moved from the toilet into an exhibition space is no longer what it appears. When the locality changes so does the purpose and the physically of the object carries with it associations we can not avoid. It is the way we engage with our emotional responses and understanding of meaning that is a part of the art.
Duchamp argued:
An ordinary object [could be] elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.[2]
There are innumerable examples of this within the history of photography for example the photographs of vernacular signage by Walker Evans document hand-painted commercial signs for Dry Cleaning or Shine adverting a shoeshine in the American South. In the original locations this signs promote a service which may or may not be of utility to those that see it. When shown a photograph of the same sign there is no access to the service and therefore the message of the photograph is different and raises questions of nostalgia, vernacular design, folk art, southern style and the documentation of a passing age. Although the original sign and the photograph show essentially the same visual elements the viewer sees them differently because of the context of the viewing.
The appropriation of artistic motives within photography is common with Yasumasa Morimura's self-portraits based upon famous paintings by Van Gogh, Manet, Rembrandt, Goya and Frida Kahlo.[3] By the 1960s and 70s Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Robert Heinecken were all using appropriated imagery from popular culture for their collages, silkscreened images and photographs. The repurposing of imagery can be contentious as in the legal case over Patrick Cariou's Rasta photographs and Richard Prince's Canal Zone series but appropriation falls within a fair-use defense within America for the purposes of art.[4]
More complex and confused issues are arising due to the proliferation of images, access to vast archives of images being disposed of by news organisations as newspapers close down and improved access to publishing. The increasing awareness of imagery with camera phones and the social media frameworks for sharing the images such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest and a host of others has led to ever expanding visual taxonomies where any topic has it's own collectors. The distinctions between collector, curator and artist become blurred as some appropriated images are left just as they are whilst others provide structure through sequencing and editorial choices, still others alter the images to create their own artistic works.
Although there have been conceptual artists such as Sherrie Levine, John Baldessari, Hans-Peter Feldman, Joachim Schmid[5] and John Stezaker who have appropriated pre-existing images for their own art. The intention of the artist, and the rationalization of the intent by the art world, creates levels of ambiguity. For example if a person brings together a series of primary pre-existing images how should that selection and sequencing be interpreted?[6] If they are an artist does it automatically become an artwork created by appropriation? If they have a different occupation or intent is it no longer art?[7] 
303.02   Art >  Appropriation 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
303.03   Art >  Andy Warhol: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
Andy Warhol was a print maker, sculptor, painter, photographer, media artist and an understander of celebrity who fundamentally changed the nature of American art.[8] The impact of his work is addressed by the Andy Warhol Museum[9] in Puttsburgh and his interests in promoting the arts in the Andy Warhol Foundation.[10] 
303.04   Art >  Richard Prince: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
Richard Prince worked a tear sheet department taking sections out of magazines - the remaining advertising material was the cultural waste at the end of the day that nobody wanted rather like used dental floss. Prince has for years explored the relationship between how culture is imagined through adverts and how the images, frequently unaltered, can be copied and shown in a different context. His Cowboy series based on work by Sam Abell and his Canal Zone series based on photographs by Patrick Cariou have led to controversy and questions related to fair use and copyright - in legal cases his transformative use for artistic purposes has been vindicated.
The role of copying and appropriation came up in an interview he gave:
Karen Rosenberg: What do you think of younger artists under your influence, people like Kelley Walker and Wade Guyton?
Richard Prince: It would be strange for me to think I’m being ripped off, because that’s what I do! In those days, it was called “pirating.” Now they call it “sampling.” There’s a guy on the street who paints copies of my “Nurse” paintings, along with Elizabeth Peytons and Eric Fischls. I think it’s funny. I actually bought one; I thought it was pretty close.[11]
303.05   Art >  Robert Heinecken: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
Stephen K. Lehmer interviewed Robert Heinecken in 1996 as part of the Oral History Program at ULCA:
Lehmer: What were you doing?
Heinecken: I was using as subject matter public images but with no theory, no quotations, no appropriation. These are all terms-- Appropriation, actually, in my understanding-- I forget what I was reading, but there were five or six critics in New York who sat down, in a sense, and invented this word to represent what it was that they were interested in or talking about.[12]
303.06   Art >  Sherrie Levine: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail  
In the late 1970s Sherrie Levine[13] made photographic copies of book illustrations of photographs by Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter and Alexander Rodchenko and added new titles such as "After Walker Evans (by Sherrie Levine)."[14] In the use of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs by Walker Evans Levine had not altered the visual image but had transformed its meaning through appropriation to raise issues of creativity, reproduction processes, the canon of photographic history and the context of viewing. As Levine said:
“The pictures I make are really ghosts of ghosts: their relationship to the original images is tertiary, i.e., three or four times removed."[15]
303.07   Art >  Robert Silvers: Photomosaics 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail  
303.08   Art >  Daniele Buetti: Appropriations and manipulations 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
303.09   Art >  Thomas Allen: Uncovered 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail  
The artist's statement on the Uncovered series by Thomas Allen[16] said:
I’ve always been fascinated by pop-up books, dioramas, 3-D glasses and the View Master for they all have the ability to picture false realities. To be believable, the angle for viewing these illusions must be correct, the distance from the subject should be such that it fills the viewer’s entire field of vision and the lighting has to be right. For example, the feeling of standing next to a set of railroad tracks made from toothpicks while a construction-paper train (billowing cotton ball smoke) emerges from a paper mache tunnel will never be fully appreciated if one’s eye is not pressed firmly against the hole cut in the end of the shoebox!
I approach the picture-making process in the much the same way. My subjects are the characters found on the covers of vintage paperbacks whose range of emotions and expressions are altered with a few strokes of an X-acto knife. The act of cutting and folding transforms these flat figures into life-like, multi-dimensional, pop-up book characters. The view camera is the shoebox and the ground glass is the viewing hole. Each book is gently positioned according to what is projected through the lens. If necessary, pins are used to invisibly hold the pieces in place since the slightest movement, in any direction, would reveal (and ruin) the trick Lighting and composition are just as important. They set the (often times humorous) mood of the story being captured. A shallow focus completes the illusion and magnifies the sense of seeing in 3-D. The process can sometimes take hours to complete, but it’s all part of why I choose to make photographs and well worth the effort.
Naming the work is the final step and I use single-word titles to play off the humor in a print while subtly suggesting a deeper meaning. If I have to resort to using long titles to explain what’s going in a photograph, then I’m doing something wrong.
Finally, I’ve been photographing books for quite a long time and I’m constantly thinking about how the work can evolve. My next series of images pictures multiple books. In fact, there is a stack of westerns sitting on the table next to me with cut-out cowboys itching to saddle up for a shoot out! The working title is Posse.
   Thomas  Allen 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist

  1. Λ Alfred Stieglitz, "Fountain by R. Mutt", 1917, Book page, Creative Commons - Wikipedia
    Photograph of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain". (Urinal "readymade" signed with joke name; early example of "Dada" art). A paradigmatic example of found-art.
    The Blind Man No. 2, page 4. Editors: Henri-Pierre Roche, Beatrice Wood, and Marcel Duchamp. Published in New York, May 1917 Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. 1917. Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz.
  2. Λ This definition of "readymade" is given in André Breton and Paul Éluard's Dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme with the initials MD that are presumably Marcel Duchamp. The source is contested. 
  3. Λ Yasumasa Morimura, 2003, Daughter of Art History: Photographs by Yasumasa Morimura, (New York: Aperture) 
  4. Λ Brian Boucher, April 25 2013, "Richard Prince Wins Major Victory in Landmark Copyright Suit", Art in America
    (Accessed: 21 November 2013) 
  5. Λ ASX Interview: "Interview with Joachim Schmid" (2013)
    (Accessed: 2 December 2013) 
  6. Λ To clarify this consider two distinct books the first being Sarah Greenough & D. Waggoner et al., 2007, The Art of the American Snapshot: 1888–1978 from the Collection of Robert E. Jackson, (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art). This book is curated by well respected curators for a well respected institution and includes vernacular photographs from a well respected collector. All the people here are sound but would they see themselves as artists? They have expertise, enquiring minds and curatorial skills but does the ordering of items create an artwork? If the same book was published by a different publisher, say an "art" publisher, would the tpe of printing, binding, marketing and distribution alter our perception of the final entity?
    With David Campany's 2013 book Gasoline (Mack Books) he has purchased images from newspaper image libraries and brought them together. It is an assemblage of existing images by a writer and critic. Is it an artwork or an editorial project? If a conceptual artist such as Joachim Schmid or Hans-Peter Feldman did the same it would certainly be. The definitions are becoming increasing difficult to justify. 
  7. Λ Part of my thoughts on this and the examples were based on a Facebook discussion within the Vernacular Photography Mafia group (29 November 2013). As with most groups there were numerous people involved and the comments by Brad Feuerhelm, Eugenie Shinkle, Mark Sink, Francesca Seravalle and Mimi Mollica were particularly useful. 
  8. Λ The literature on Andy Warhol is considerable, some he wrote, some was ghost written with his name on it and there are numerous monographs and catalogue raisonne that cover parts of his prolific output.
    For his prints which frequently appropriated the photographs of others - Frayda Feldman (ed.); Schellmann, Jorg & Warhol, Andy, 1989, Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne, (Abbeville Press)
    For his paintings and sculpture - George Frei, 2002, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 1: Warhol: Paintings and Sculpture 1961-1963, (Phaidon Press); George Frei & Neil Printz, 2004, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 2: Warhol: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-1969, (Phaidon Press); Neil Printz & Ally King-Nero,2010, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 1: Warhol: Paintings and Sculpture 1970-1974, (Phaidon Press)
    For his interests in music and dance - Stephane Acquin (ed.), 2008, Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol's Work, (Prestel Publishing / The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) 
  9. Λ The Warhol
    The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5890
    Tel: 412.237.8300, Email: 
  10. Λ The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts 
  11. Λ Richard Prince interviewed by Karen Rosenberg - New York Art
    (Accessed: 21 November 2013) 
  12. Λ "Photographist oral history transcript, 1996 : Robert F. Heinecken", pp. 273-274
    Robert F. Heinecken Interviewed by Stephen K. Lehmer
    (Full text online - Accessed: 21 November 2013) 
  13. Λ The website of Mike Mandiberg raises some of the issues in a one act play After Sherrie Levine which is based on an interview with Sherrie Levine by Jeanne Siegal. (Accessed: 21 November 2013)
    For the "original" interview, whatever original means in this context, see: Arts Magazine, Summer 1985, "After Sherrie Levine" by Jeanne Siegel 
  14. Λ Douglas Crimp in 1977 curated the exhibition Pictures at Artists Space in Tribeca, New York. This exhibition included works by Sherrie Levine and was influential in raising debate on postmodernism in art and photography. 
  15. Λ Arts Magazine, Summer 1985, "After Sherrie Levine" by Jeanne Siegel 
  16. Λ Thomas Allen has continued to explore this approach in his series Beautiful Evidence that was exhibited at the Foley Gallery, New York in 2012. (Accessed: 11 November 2013)
    The Toronto-based agency Cundari used a similar idea to create an advert for a contest and Thomas Allen in 2010 claimed plagarisim. The Cundari creative director wrote in an email to Thomas Allen "We were inspired by your technique just as you were inspired by the artists who painted the original pulp novel covers. So nobody is stealing anything from anybody." Since then the websites referred to this appear to have been taken down. (AG, 11 November 2013)


HomeContents > Further research

General reading 
Campany, David, 2013, Gasoline, (Mack Books) isbn-13: 978-1907946448 [Δ
Curley, John J., 2013, A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and the Art of the Cold War, (Yale University Press) isbn-13: 978-0300188431 [Δ
Evans, David, 2009, Appropriation, (The MIT Press) isbn-10: 0262550709 isbn-13: 978-0262550703 [Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art] [Δ
Garnet, Joy & Meiselas, Susan, 2007, February, ‘On the rights of the Molotov Man: Appropriation and the art of context‘, Harper's Magazine, pp. 53-58 [Δ
Hollein, Max, 2012, Malerei in Fotografie. Strategien der Aneignung / Painting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation, (Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag) isbn-13: 978-3941399167 [Texts by Dr. Martin Engler, Carolin Köchling, and Dr. Christina Leber] [Δ
Hoy, Anne H., 1987, Fabrications: Staged, Altered and Appropriated Photographs, (New York: Abbeville Press) [Δ
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
Hans-Peter Feldman 
Feldman, Hans-Peter, 1980, Telefonbuch, (Dudweiler: AQ-Verlag) isbn-10: 3922441165 [Δ
Feldman, Hans-Peter, 1998, Die Toten: 1967-1993 [The Dead], (Düsseldorf: Feldman Verlag) isbn-10: 3933485010 [Δ
Feldman, Hans-Peter, 2008, Album, (Köln: Walther König) [Δ
Feldman, Hans-Peter, 2009, Interview zusammen mit Hans Ulrich Obrist, (Köln: Walther König) [Δ
Tatay, Helena, 2002, Hans-Peter Feldmann, (Centre nationale de la photographie Paris) isbn-10: 3980790304 [German / English. Exhibition catalogue] [Δ
Robert Heinecken 
Borger, I. et al., 1999, Robert Heinecken, Photographist: A Thirty-Five Year Retrospective, (Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art) [Δ
Hannah Höch 
Lavin, Maud, 1993, Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Höch, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press) [Δ
Barbara Kruger 
Kruger, B., 1999, Barbara Kruger, (Cambridge: The MIT Press) [Δ
Sherrie Levine 
Levine, Sherrie, 2012, Sherrie Levine: Mayhem, (The Whitney Museum of American Art) isbn-10: 0300175965 isbn-13: 978-0300175967 [Δ
Levine, Sherrie; Singerman, Howard & Hentschel, Martin (ed.), 2001, Sherrie Levine: Pairs and Posses, (Hatje Cantz) isbn-10: 3775727752 isbn-13: 978-3775727754 [Δ
Joachim Schmid 
MacDonald, Gordon & Weber, John S., 2007, Joachim Schmid. Photoworks 1982–2007, (Brighton: Photoworks / Göttingen: Steidl) isbn-13: 978-3865213945 [Δ
Schmid, Joachim, 1991, Erste allgemeine Altfotosammlung, (Berlin: Edition Fricke & Schmid) isbn-10: 3927365203 [Δ
Schmid, Joachim, 1994, Bilder von der Straße, (Berlin: Edition Fricke & Schmid) isbn-10: 3927365289 [Δ
Schmid, Joachim, 2003, A meeting on holiday, (Amsterdam: NEROC'VGM) isbn-10: 9080828548 [Δ
Valtorta, Roberta, 2012, Joachim Schmid e le fotografie degli altri, (Milan: Johan & Levi) isbn-13: 978-8860100948 [Δ
Andy Warhol 
Honnef, Klaus, 2000, Andy Warhol, 1928-1987: Commerce Into Art, (Taschen) isbn-10: 3822863211 isbn-13: 978-3822863213 [Δ
McShine, K. (ed.), 1989, Andy Warhol, A Retrospective, (New York: Museum of Modern Art) [Δ
Warhol, Andy, 1988, Andy Warhol: Death and Disasters, (Houston, TX: Menil Collection: Houston Fine Art Press) [Δ
Warhol, Andy, 1989, Andy Warhol, Photobooth Pictures, (New York: Robert Miller Gallery) [Δ
Warhol, Andy, 1999, About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits, (Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum and Pittsburgh: Andy Warhol Museum, Cambridge, MA: Distributed by MIT Press) [Essays by Baume, Nicholas, Crimp, Douglas, Meyer, and Richard] [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

Thomas Allen • John Baldessari  (1931-) • Daniele Buetti  (1956-) • Walker Evans  (1903-1975) • Hans-Peter Feldman  (1941-) • Hans-Peter Feldman  (1941-) • Robert Heinecken  (1931-2006) • Barbara Kruger  (1945-) • Nikki S. Lee  (1970-) • Sherrie Levine  (1947-) • Yasumasa Morimura  (1951-) • Vik Muniz  (1961-) • Osamu James Nakagawa  (1962-) • Richard Prince  (1949-) • Robert Rauschenberg  (1925-2008) • Gerhard Richter  (1932-) • James Rosenquist  (1933-) • Thomas Ruff  (1958-) • Joachim Schmid  (1955-) • Cindy Sherman  (1954-) • Robert Silvers  (1968-) • Laurie Simmons  (1949-) • Andy Warhol  (1928-1987)
HomeThemesArt > Appropriation 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
Experimental and manipulated photography 
Political collage from 1970 onwards 

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Appropriation

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan -

Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (April 29, 2012)
ThumbnailPainting in Photography. Strategies of Appropriation 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (August 4, 2012)
ThumbnailThomas Allen: Uncovered 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (November 21, 2007)

HomeVisual indexes > Appropriation

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailAndy Warhol: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailAndy Warhol: Appropriation: Jackie Kennedy 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailAndy Warhol: Appropriation: Marilyn Monroe 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailDaniele Buetti 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailKarl Baden: Appropriations 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRichard Prince: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRichard Prince: Appropriation: Marlboro Cowboy 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRichard Prince: Publications 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRobert Heinecken: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailRobert Silvers: Photomosaics 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailSherrie Levine: Appropriation 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailThomas Allen: Uncovered 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailWalker Evans: Penny Picture Display, Savannah, Georgia 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailWalker Evans: Signs 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailYasumasa Morimura: Self portraits 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailDorothea Lange - Louis Pierson - Karl Baden 
ThumbnailHenri Cartier-Bresson - Karl Baden 
ThumbnailMan Ray - Karl Baden 
ThumbnailPaul Strand - Karl Baden 
ThumbnailTV screen captures 
   Still thinking about these... 
Refreshed: 18 August 2014, 11:27
 Facebook LuminousLint 
 Twitter @LuminousLint