Appropriation is the intentional borrowing, copying, and alteration of existing images and objects. A strategy that has been used by artists for millennia, it took on new significance in the mid-20th century with the rise of consumerism and the proliferation of images through mass media outlets from magazines to television.
Pop artists reveled in reproducing, juxtaposing, and repeating everyday images from popular culture in their wide-ranging work. In doing so, they both mirrored and critiqued the ideas, desires, and cultural trends of their time. As Andy Warhol stated, “Pop artists did images that anyone walking down the street would recognize in a split second—comics, picnic tables, men’s pants, celebrities, refrigerators, Coke bottles.” Today, appropriating, sampling, and remixing elements of popular culture is common practice for artists working in many different mediums, but such strategies continue to challenge notions of originality and authorship, and to push the boundaries of what it means to be an artist.
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