Monday, June 6, 2016

Walker Art Center “Ordinary Pictures” Exhibition: The Sturtevant Wall Installation—the notions about authorship

Sturtevant (American, 1924-2014)
[wall installation piece, center portion pictured] photograph by versluis 2016.

Warhol Flowers 1966
synthetic polymer screen print on canvas
Collection Bill Arning. Houston

Warhol Flowers 1971
synthetic polymer screen print on canvas
Collection Klaus Ottmann and Leslie Tonkonow,
New York

Beuys La rivoluzione siamo noi
(We Are the Revolution) 1988
screen print on paper; ed. 50/60
Photo: Arpad Dobriban
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2011

Serpentine Owl Wallpaper 2013
digitally printed vinyl wallpaper
Estate Sturtevant, Paris
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris-Salzburg

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

Beginning in 1964, Sturtevant (born Elaine Sturtevant)began to “repeat” the artwork of others in an attempt to expose the function of the artwork as commodity and question established notions of authorship. Creating from memory artworks by Jasper Johns. Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and others, she issued a striking critique of the art system's faith in originality.

Serpentine Owl Wallpaper is a wall covering that repeats an image the artist found on a stock photo website. It serves as the backdrop for two examples of her Warhol Flowers paintings, a series she initiated in 1964. At that time, Sturtevant borrowed Andy Warhol’s generic screen-printed image-one he originally sourced from the pages of Modern Photography magazine-performing a two-fold act of appropriation.

For her version of Joseph Beuys’s 1972 print La rivoluzione siamo noi (We are the Revolution), Sturtevant cast herself in Beuys’s role, donning his trademark vest and hat. Here she suggests that originality is best understood as a function of artistic persona and not as a quality of an artwork itself. When compared to their models, Sturtevant’s works offer up a number of subtle differences that allow them to be simultaneously familiar and singular.

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