Some image appropriation is a necessity, such as orthodox iconography where artists work to strict codes about how various religious figures can be depicted. Some subverts and comments upon the original image, like Richard Prince’s re-photographing of an already-existing photograph. While sometimes just a change of context, from hoarding to gallery, or TV screen to artists film can change the intention enough to be new.
And while appropriation of popular imagery is familiar in art works, it often works the other way, from art to advertising, as artists such as Fischli & Weiss or Gillian Wearing have mentioned.
And what are the effects of technology on this ongoing appropriation? Now that boundaries of authenticity and originality are even more blurred, artists (indeed anyone) can recycle and re-upload images, text and audio material more quickly and easily than ever before. Sampling, remixing and mashups proliferate online, and allow people to even adopt a social media profile that appropriates or parodies a well-known persona. But what is the right of the originator in all this? Can you copyright an idea? Or do you lose rights to control it when you put it in the public domain?
So, tell us what you think. When is appropriation of found material homage and when is it plagiarism?
Tate Debate sponsored by Vodafone