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

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June 11, On This Day

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

An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Skull Ring), photograph by Yasumasa Morimura | Via Wikipedia

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.

© Morimura Yasumasa | via e-flux

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.

Yasumasa Morimura, “Self-Portraits through Art History (Van Gogh / Blue)” (2016)
Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. © Yasumasa Morimura | Via Dazed Digital
Yasumasa Morimura Vermeer Study: Looking Back (Mirror), 2008 | Via artsy.net
Yasumasa Morimura, “Une moderne Olympia” (2018)
Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. © Yasumasa Morimura | Via Dazed Digital

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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