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FA 101 INTRODUCTION TO ART
Theme Essay I
Integrating Written Feedback as part of Revision
§ You received points in the following five categories:
– Follow the guidelines and topic, *underline thesis in your essay*, turned in on time
– Specific evidence discussed
– Evidence cited properly
– Claim, thesis or argument (specific and debatable)
– Structure and level of writing,

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§ Respond to the points assigned to the above categories identifying specific ways to improve your
essay, whether from the body of your essay, references, appendix of images and/or works cited.
o For example, if you lost points for ‘4. Claim, thesis or argument’, you might revise your
central argument so that it is more specific. Then you rewove it back into your essay by
strengthening topic sentences for paragraphs two, four and six. Include this and the specific
sentences in your explanation of changes made.
§ If you would like clarification you are welcome to make an appointment to meet with the TA who
graded your classes essay. However, the revision is about your interpreting the feedback and
integrating it as part of the process of revising.
1. Revise your essay based on the above.
2. In a letter to the TA write point-by-point about specific ways that your essay addressed and
improved (highlight particular sentences, paragraphs, references, etc.) each of the five categories.
The revised essay and letter are due one week today as an electronic copy on Blackboard.
Your current grade will be replaced.*
(no emailed or late papers please)
*If you received an incredibly high mark and do not wish to complete this assignment, you may be excused.

 

 

 

APPROPRIATION AND ERASURE IN VISUAL ART

Kaiyuan Wu

Fine ART 101

2/17/2019

 

 

APPROPRIATION AND ERASURE IN VISUAL ART

The notion of appropriation is the intentional copying, alteration and borrowing of images that have been in existence for a long time. Appropriation can be defined to mean the use of images by artists that had been created by other artists a long time ago. They re-use the images without altering anything on them. The use of images that artists have not created has led to lack of originality amongst them because they copy the images they get that were used before. They mimic everything from the way the people in the images walk and look as well as the scenery surrounding the people in the images.

According to the Museum of Modern Art, New York[1], the artists get to mirror and critique the trends in those images. Appropriation can be confusing because the line between what is borrowed, copied and appropriated can become blurry within a short period. In visual arts, one will need to look at two images closely so that they can deduce whether they have been altered or not. To understand appropriation, one has to be very keen on every detail on the image because alteration that is noticeable will amount to theft or some other form and not appropriation. The details that have been altered could be very small in that looking at the images quickly without proper scrutiny could make one miss the point.

The use of appropriation by artists like Lady Gaga is done in an appreciative form where she draws inspiration from the contemporary work of Sandro Botticelli[2]. Lady Gaga uses the same imagery used by Botticelli in her album cover for artpop. The original work where Gaga borrows from is also an image that signifies the birth of something. It shows that Gaga did not alter the original work but simply borrowed the concept so that she could communicate the message she wanted her listeners to hear.

Fig 1: Cover Album of Artpop mimicking Botticelli’s work.

Lady Gaga uses the inspiration to make the work reborn in the minds of the young generation. Lady Gaga’s album cover is a visual example of how appropriation may be used to show that artists do appreciate the work that other artists have done before them. Lady Gaga uses the same concept adopted by Botticelli to signify the birth of a new kind of music which relates to the current generation of people. As an artist she sees that the world has changed and people think differently than before thus incorporating the current trends into the art will ensure the message being portrayed will be received positively.

Sherrie Levine is one of the contemporary artists who have used appropriation to send a message and share something with the public. What makes the pieces appropriation is that Levine recycles the images that had been used by other artists without trying to make them something that she owns. In 1981, Levine showed a series of a number of photographs at Metro Pictures gallery. The photographs she displayed were an exact replica of a famous documentary by Walker Evans known as Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Most people thought that was theftbut it was appropriation as she did not change the photographs or attempt to make any changes to another person’s original work[3].

She used the image that was not originally hers to come up with one of her own to pass a message and explain some concepts in the work. Levine has faced a lot of criticism because of this use but she has continuously defended her work as appropriated and not work that has been stolen. A true artist will understand Levine because she is using visual arts that have been in existence for a long time before some people were born. She incorporates the use of present activities in her appropriated works so that people could grasp the ideas easily.

Fig 2:Sherrie Levine’s artwork

Erasure in visual arts is altering an image or piece of art by doing away with some words in the image. Basically, the term erasure means rubbing or changing something and filling it up with what one needs. The alteration is done to make the image make more sense to the artist so that the message they want to portray can be easily understood. Erasure is mostly done by poets who come up with key words from original work to come up with short poems and so on. Erasure can be appropriate because the artists could use an original piece of work to pass a message by doing away with a word or erasing a part of a visual image.

The alteration can be minimal so that it amounts to appropriation without doing away with the original work that had been passed to the public. Erasure does not necessarily mean rubbing a piece of part to do away with some words or an image but can also mean adding some words or extend an image to bring something new into the surface. Erasure is different from appropriation because when artists use appropriation to make their artworks, they try as much as possible not to alter the work of the original artist in their new pieces. Artists who use erasure alter the original work of artists by doing away with some words or just erasing a part of an image to make it look like what they want to portray.

The extent in which erasure is appropriative is where an artist can erase few words or add some to an original piece of art without altering the image overall. Erasing most of the original work by another artist will amount to theft or plagiarism and not appropriation. The artist will be said to have stolen the idea of another artist to come up with something of their own and could be sued for theft. The relationship between erasure and appropriation is important today because artists have to be careful in the way they handle original works by other people so that they cannot be said to have stolen the work.

Erasure matters today because it is possible to do away with words and other phrases in documents that have been in existence for a long time. The world is fast changing and some documents may have been drafted when a lot of things were different to the way the things are as at the moment. Erasure can be done to some of these documents where some parts can be deleted and done away with or be replace with something that is more relatable. One specific example is the removal of the Confederate statues across many states in the US.

The removal amounted to moving the statues to other locations or simply destroying them even though they had been there for the longest time. The removal was not a good move because the statues signified important people in the history of the country and also important historical events which can be used to teach the future children on what the people did for the country. In as much as erasure may be beneficial, it can also be destructive because it destroys important historical objects. The statues are also used for direction giving by people thus removing them from the places where people were used to finding them could cause a lot of inconveniences. Removing the statues can be termed as erasure of history because children who are born after the removal will not know what the statues represented or what the people who are drawn from the statues did for the country or the state in question.

 

Works Cited

2014 recreation by Lady Gaga:

http://albertasocietyofartists.com/2014/03/12/artpop/

After Walker Evans: Sheer Levine’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Retrieved 31 July 2017.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/267214

Museum of Modern Art, NY’s definition of ‘Appropriation’:

https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/pop-art/appropriation

Pollack, Maika. ‘Will the Real Sherrie Levine Please Stand Up?’, The Observer, Retrieved

February 15, 2019 http://observer.com/2011/11/will-the-real-sherrie-levine-please-

stand-up-mayhem-at-the-whitney/

 

 

Appendix of images

Fig 1: Cover Album of Artpop mimicking Botticelli’s work.

 

Fig 2: Sherrie Levine’s artwork

 

[1]Museum of Modern Art, NY’s definition of ‘Appropriation’

[2]2014 recreation by Lady Gaga

[3]Pollack, Maika

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