Thursday, March 27, 2008

After Borges- After Walker Evans- Appropriation in Art


When discussing Borges and House of Leaves in class- something else occurred to me. There is a whole genre in art, particularly contemporary art, which is sometimes referred to as "appropriation art." The figure that I thought of immediately was Sherrie Levine. She's a photographer whose most well-known works are actually photographs of famous photographs. Kind of like the idea of an author re-writing Don Quixote. The photograph above was photographed from a catalog of Walker Evans photography. This could be considered even more significant (in relationship to House of Leaves) because he, along with Dorthea Lange (who is quoted in the book), were two of the best known documentary photographers of the 20-30's, forerunners of sorts to Navidson.

Levine was able to photograph the works and hang them in galleries as her own work (titled "After Walker Evans") because they were no longer protected by copyright laws. Of course, her work is covered by those laws (although she waives them.)

I'd highly recommend you check out the site www.aftersherrielevine.com and/or www.afterwalkerevans.com where you can read about the motivations for her project. You are also encouraged to print out your own copies of the work each with its own certificate of authenticity. For whatever that's worth.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Sean Dolinar said...

You are a busy poster tonight. This "After Walker Evans" is very interesting. People can get famous for 'copying' other people's work. I think we should reconsider rewriting Pitt's plagiarism policy.

This just makes me think more about what is a narrative - a representation or re-representation of reality. Does it matters how many times it's been copied?