Appropriation art is a form of expression in contemporary artistic creation. It is usually classified as conceptual art. In a narrower sense, Appropriation Art is when artists consciously and strategically copy the works of other artists, whereby the act of copying and the result itself are to be understood as art (otherwise one speaks of plagiarism or forgery). Strategies include "borrowing, stealing, appropriating, inheriting, assimilating.... Being influenced, inspired, dependent, hunted, obsessed, quoting, rewriting, revising, redesigning.... Revision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, approximation, improvisation, supplement, accretion, prequel... Pastiche, paraphrase, parody, piracy, forgery, homage, mimicry, travesty, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke."
In a broader sense, Appropriation Art can be any art that deals with found aesthetic material, e.g. advertising photography, press photography, archival images, films, videos, etc. These can be exact, detailed copies; however, manipulations of the size, colour, material and medium of the original are also often made in the copy.
This appropriation in Appropriation Art can be done with critical intent or as homage.
Appropriation Art (Video)
Appropriation was introduced through the Pictures exhibition curated by Douglas Crimp at New York's Artists Space in the autumn of 1977. The early artists selected were Sherrie Levine, Jack Goldstein, Phillip Smith, Troy Brauntuch and Robert Longo. Cindy Sherman had had a solo show at Artists Space the year before; she was mentioned in Douglas Crimp's revised version of the catalogue text that appeared in the Marxist art magazine October in 1979.
The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles held major retrospectives of the Pictures Generation in 1989, and in 2009 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York showed the early work of thirty artists from the 1970s New York art scene in the exhibition The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984, curated by Douglas Eklund.
This Pictures Generation includes Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, Sarah Charlesworth, and from the art scene in Buffalo (New York State) came Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Dwyer, Charles Clough and Michel Zwack. The most important "hotbed" of the movement was John Baldessari's seminar at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, where David Salle, Jack Goldstein, James Welling, Matt Mullican, Barbara Bloom, Ross Bleckner and Eric Fischl had studied.