THE PROPERTY OF KNOWLEDGE
We can note three phases in the tradition of the readymade and appropriation since Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel of 1913. First, they include early enactments in which the readymade posed an onto- logical challenge to artworks through the equation of commodity and art object. Second, practices in which readymades were de- ployed semantically as lexical elements within a sculpture, paint- ing, installation or projection. In a third phase, which most directly encompasses the global, the appropriation of objects, images, and other forms of content challenges sovereignty over the cultural and economic value linked to things that emerge from particular cultural properties ranging from Aboriginal painting in Australia to the ap- propriation of Mao’s cult of personality in 1990s China. This essay considers the most recent phase of the readymade in terms of its century-long history.
Copyright (c) 2019 David Joselit
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