A rose by any other name still smells the same. We been talking recently and reading about many cases involving appropriation, adaptation, influence, sampling, remixing, reiterations, sequels, ganking, detournment , and reconfiguring. We simply call it as we see it- stealing.
But at what cost these days? There is a cost to those who are doing the stealing, not just to those being stolen. Not financial cost, but at what artistic and moral cost to a new generation that feels this is the new way of the world, the way things are done.
Art critic Jerry Saltz wrote a great article in New York Magazine a few weeks ago called “Generation Blank”. http://tinyurl.com/3ey2hpw
It’s a great read and Mr. Saltz gives a wonderful insight into how young artists seem to be a serpent eating it’s own tail. Or as he writes, a lot of the work by today’s young artists are “stuck in a cul-de-sac of aesthetic regress, where everyone is deconstructing the same elements”. He says the constant looking at the work of their elders and reworking it is producing an art generation that is turning into “The Lost Generation” of artists. He also states that this type of art “Instead of enlarging our view of being human, it contains a safe rehashing of received ideas about received ideas”. The hidden cost of stealing the work and ideas of others isn’t just in dollars and cents, it also lies in the moral cost to those who fall into the habit being creatively lazy. The rationalizations and reaching justifications that all appropriators try to use, fall short when you see work that is as creative as a “Rocky 23” movie sequel or as thoughtful as putting lipstick on the Mona Lisa. We get it, but it’s stale on delivery.
We will in this space in the near future (honest) be talking about two recent cases, and probably many more the way things are going, regarding Jay Maisel and Mel Sokolsky, who have had their work or vision “appropriated”. Is appropriation about expanding our knowledge, having see things in a new way, or is it just being creatively lazy?