For going on 100 years, modern and contemporary art have been referencing, imitating and even flat-out copying itself and other artists. This was VERY apparent to me walking through the Scope Art Fairduring Art Basel Miami on Friday. I sometimes look for a theme to thread through a blog post about any given fair, which is a journalistic convention, that isn’t always fair, but it gives one something to hang an idea on. Art copying art came to the forefront about the sixth booths and fifth Warhol “hommage” in. Fair to say that, Marcel Duchamp (Warhol’s idol, btw) started it with his mustachioed Mona Lisa and it continues up to the preset with Romero Fudyama‘s relief Mona. Andy aped old masters as well, like this Georgio di Chirico, but no one is copied more than Andy himself. In the 70s with Richard Pettibone and Elaine Sturtevant made their Warhols, which were considered by many at the time, copies in the first place. Sherrie Levine, Mike Bidlo and a host of others have made their “fake” works as conceptual commentary but this is nothing new and the proliferation continues…
The impulse to do this, especially as a young artist who is finding their own voice, is multi-layered; paying “homage”, exploring aspects of originality, authorship and context like Richard Prince, are anothers, as well as the notion of “taking-down” the anointed, like Ryan McCann’s “Death To Shepard Fairey“, a 3D wall sculpture that plasters Fairey beneath his own OBEY logo. Mark Beard takes another tact by creating various painter alter-egos like Bruce Sergeant, below, aping an art star of another era. Martin. C Herbst paints fragments of old masters on reflective wall sculpture and Christian Voigt showed this large-scale photo of museum interior/ temple of art lovers use to worship. Now, it’s the art fair.
I’ve been working on a new series for a few years now called “Originality Is Overrated”… that, well, that’ll have to be for another post. This is a BIG subject. I’ll leave you the piece of mine below entitled, “I.O.U. (everything.) While I had this piece show up in New York in a solo show in 2011, I went to the Armory Show just down the street and discovered this new series by pop art star, Mel Ramos. Mine was made with vintage originals from the 70s –when Ramos’s star was still rising– and his “Hollywood Suite” is brand new. (Note the “pop stars” of the day, like Paris Hilton, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston…) So, to all those artist who have come before and those still in art school, a quote, that I’ve now “appropriated”;
“My work is completely original. I take other people’s ideas and make them my own.”