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It\’s only \’appropriate\’ to mark the birthday of this Japanese artist

June 11, On This Day

Copycat? Nah, it\’s recontextualizing art work into new forms!


What is appropriation art? It\’s the art of using pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. Inherent to this is the understanding that the new work re-contextualizes whatever it borrows to create new work. In most cases, the original remains accessible, without change.


A good example of this? On June 11, 1951, was born Japanese appropriation artist Yasumasa Morimura.

Morimura borrows images of figures from history and art history (like Audrey Hepburn, Édouard Manet, Rembrandt and more), and inserts his own face and body into them. Through the use of disguises, he overturns the effects of the male gaze, gender, race, ethnicity, and cultural standards, and challenges traditional methods of portraiture as he alters original Western artworks by incorporating details related to Japanese culture.


His exhibitions have been shown at shown at the Guggenheim Museum, the Yokohama Museum of Art in Yokohama, Japan, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and more. His collections are housed at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, besides several more iconic locations.

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