Artists Ray Beldner, Brendan Lott, Sonja Schenk, and Annie Seaton are pleased to announce their upcoming exhibition, Misappropriation. The pop-up show, which takes place during the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, includes paintings, mixed media, digital prints, and small-scale installation all using and misusing found photo-based imagery. The exhibition will be on display at Studio Orange in Culver City, California.
Since the early collages of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp’s use of found object for his series of “ready-mades,” artists have felt free to use, reproduce, appropriate and incorporate materials found within popular culture and society. These raw materials reflect and embrace the world around us: snippets of newspapers and magazines, film and TV excerpts, snapshots, advertisements, news headlines, bits of text, characters, fragments of song, and so on. Artists used this source material just as artists have used raw material for thousands of years.
Now with the ubiquity of computers, digital cameras and the Internet, artists have access to the world’s greatest libraries, image databases, and interactive tools at their fingertips. As a result, traditional artistic practice is changing once again as artists explore the potential of these new technologies and incorporate them into their working methodologies. For each of these artists, the Internet and digital technology play a vital role in their creative processes.
Appropriation as an artistic practice and visual strategy is not new to contemporary artists, but the case that this exhibition makes is that the Internet enables a new kind of appropriation or borrowing, a “mis-appropriation” which is the intentional—sometimes humorous, sometimes dark—misuse of someone else’s material. In this case, their images or their likenesses. Each artist in the show collages images they have taken or found on the Internet or elsewhere, and they re-purpose and re-contextualize them in a way that reflects on their origins. They are in a sense “meta-images” misappropriated for the purpose, in part, to reflect on the picture’s original purpose and meaning.