Notes from the field: Appropriation



Publication Details

McLean, I. A. (2012). Notes from the field: Appropriation. The Art Bulletin, 94 (2), 179-181.


That "appropriate" is one iteradon of a panoply of terms associated v«th art—copy, duplicate, emulate, homage, imitate, influence, mimesis, mimic, mirror, plagiarize, quote, reflect, repeat, replicate, represent, reproduce, simulate—attests to the subdedes, complexides, longevity, and ubiquity of the idea of repedtion and imitadon in thinking about what art is. Ancient myths about the origins of art locate it in acts of appropriadon. In Australian Indigenous art, the longest condnuous tradidon of art making, replicadon or appropriadon of ancestral designs is a founding aesthedc principle. No doubt the first art resulted from an act of appropriadon. The modernist nodon of originality and its taboo on imitadon is but a brief aberradon in this story of art, whereas the postmodern cliché that the original lies beyond our grasp and the copy remains our only ontological source is business as usual.

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