Re-appropriating images: in preparation for assignment 3

Assignment 3 requires to look for an example of re-appropriation within visual communication:  I am to choose an original image, do a semiotic analysis and research the original context of the image, reflect on the chosen re-appropriated image and make a comparison between the two images.

Before starting to work on my assignment it seems useful to explore the concept of appropriation at large.

Appropriation in art and visual communication

I start from the definition of appropriation in the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, since though very condensed it touches upon all the main points:

‘taking over, into a work of art, of a real object or even an existing work of art’

‘can be tracked back to the Cubist constructions and collages of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque made from 1912 onwards’

‘appropriation was developed much further in the readymades created by the French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp from 1913.’

‘Surrealism also made extensive use of appropriation in collages and objects’

‘In the late 1950s appropriated images and objects appear extensively in the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, and in Pop art.’

‘However, the term seems to have come into use specifically in relation to certain American artists in the 1980s, notably Sherrie Levine and the artists of the Neo-Geo group, particularly Jeff Koons.’

‘Appropriation art raises questions or originality, authenticity and authorship, and belongs to the long modernist tradition of art that questions the nature or definition of art itself.’

‘Appropriation artists were influenced by the 1936 essay by the German philosopher Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, and received contemporary support from the American critic Rosalind Krauss in her 1985 book The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths.’

Following a precious suggestion by my tutor, Dr. Michael Belshaw, I have also accessed a seminal essay on allegory and appropriation in the light of Postmodernism by Craig Owens, The Allegorical Impulse.

I have then found some interesting articles online.

I also bought a book which I hope I shall have to time to read one day …for the series so many books so little time (Evans, 2009)

Last but not least I have discovered the videos of three lectures by the University of California, Berkeley, on  ‘Appropriation, Recontextualization, Integration’




Benjamin, W. (1969) ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ In: Illuminations, edited by Hannah Arendt, translated by Harry Zohn, from the 1935 essay [online] At: (Accessed 2/03/2017)

Evans, D. (ed.) (2009) AppropriationDocuments of Contemporary Art. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press

Gemmell, G.-Y. (2012) ‘Appropriation Art (Or How to Steal Like an Artist)’ [online] At: (Accessed 24/02/2017)

Owens, C. (1980) ‘The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism.’ In: The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology. New York: Oxford Press, 1998 [online] At: (Accessed 17/03/2017)

Rowe, H. A. (2011) ‘Appropriation in Contemporary Art’ [online] At: (Accessed 24/02/2017)

Sabatiuk, L. (2015) ‘Appropriation Art: The Meaning Is in the Media’ In: Media Theory § Meaning Systems (CCTP-748) [online] At: (Accessed 28/02/2017)

Video 1.  UC Berkeley (2013) ‘Practice of Art 8 – Lecture 6: Appropriation, Recontextualization, Integration’ in Introduction to Visual Thinking 
At: (Accessed 2/03/2017)

Video 2 UC Berkeley (2013) ‘Practice of Art 8 – Lecture 7: Appropriation, Recontextualization, Integration’ in Introduction to Visual Thinking
At: (Accessed 2/03/2017)

Video 3 UC Berkeley (2014)’ Practice of Art 8 – 2014-10-13: Appropriation–Recontextualization – Integration’ in Introduction to Visual Thinking
At: (Accessed 2/03/2017)

Wilson, S. and Lack, J. (2008) The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms. London: Tate Publishing












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