Appropriation Art

what is art appropriation?

Artistic appropriation, like found object art, is defined as “the purposeful copying, borrowing, and altering of previous imagery, objects, and concepts as an aesthetic method.” Appropriation in art highlights issues of uniqueness, legitimacy, and ownership.


Appropriation art may be traced back to Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso’s cubist assemblages and collages from 1912 onward, where genuine things such as newsprint were used to symbolize themselves.

early 20th century

In 1915, Marcel Duchamp proposed the readymade notion, where commercially created functional items achieve the stature of art through choice and display.

realism and pop art

The Fluxus art movement made use of artistic appropriation as well, as its members combined many artistic fields such as the visual arts, music, and writing.

neo pop and pictures

Before, appropriation in art was represented by ‘language, and today, it has been symbolized through photography.

the 1990s

Artists continued to make appropriation art throughout the 1990s, utilizing it as a vehicle to confront theoretical and societal concerns rather than focusing on the pieces themselves.

21st century

Many metro and street painters, such as Banksy or Shepard Fairey, employ imagery from mainstream cultures.

digital age

A never-before-seen quantity of appropriations permeates the visual arts and cultural fields. The new breed of appropriators sees themselves as “archeologists of the moment.”

important artworks

Fountain (1917) by Marcel Duchamp Campbell’s Soup Cans (1968) by Andy Warhol After Walker Evans (1981) by Sherrie Levine We Don’t Need Another Hero (1986) by Barbara Kruger Hymn (1999) by Damien Hirst