Assignment 2: The Displaced Image

Find three examples of work in which the work of others is incorporated.

Find three examples of work that appropriates, copies or references everyday objects and reuses them as works of fine art.

Appropriation art pushes the boundaries of our understanding of what art can be and very much depends on whether you subscribe to the notion that anything can be art. Appropriation artists are in direct opposition to ideas of artistic genius and even authorship, appropriation is about the concept and those who oppose appropriation art criticise that it is devoid of talent and even that it represents illegal theft. Most appropriation artists care little about this, in fact for many this is the very point of their work. Appropriation can be defined as the act of borrowing, stealing or taking over others works, images, words and meanings for ones own ends, including amongst other things; recontextualisation, pastiche and referencing. (Sturken and Cartwright, 2009) Appropriation is frequently pervasive with postmodern art and culture and is the borrowing of ideas or images and incorporating them into new representations or objects. (Pooke and Newall, 2008)

In the early twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp challenged the very nature of art with his ready made urinal sculpture ‘Fountain’ (1917). To be successful however, the concept that anything can be art if the artist says so requires others to agree. It was not until the 1960s that this really became the case when pop art explored themes of consumerism, the banal and embraced what was deemed low culture. A decade later the idea began to gain real traction with postmodern artists like Sherrie Levine who took the work of another artist, rather than an everyday object like DuChamp, and presented it as their own work. An approach which challenged the value of art, originality and the myth of artistic genius rather than what art can be.

For the purposes of this assignment I have chosen work that is unified by having been made consciously as the work of an artist rather than looking at how artworks can become significant culturally and their meanings changed through the way they are used. I have chosen the artists and artworks here based on my own interest rather than trying to make some wider comment about what appropriation is in modern art. I have tried however to make a selection that enables discussion of different aspects of what appropriation can mean, as well as the many ethical and legal difficulties this can present.

Richard Prince: New Portraits (2014)

‘New Portraits’ is a series of screen grabs taken from Instagram and ink jet printed onto 6 foot canvasses. Prince experimented with various printing techniques before deciding upon the canvass as the way he wanted to present the series, the surface was tightly wound giving the canvas almost the appearance of photo paper. The printing process meant the whites were brilliantly white and colours intense, saturated and rich. The way the ink fused with the canvas also made the image slightly out of focus: “When I first saw the final result I didn’t really know what I was looking at. A photographic work or a work on canvass?” (Prince, 2015)

Hannah Jane Parkinson (2015) is less enthusiastic about the final effect achieved, she regards the quality as awful, “The text of the comments in particular is so blurry it feels like I’m looking through contact lenses clouded by having slept in them.” Although she does concede this is hardly surprising as iPhone screenshots were hardly intended to be blown up to this size.  This is part of the meaning of ‘New Portraits’ however, not only are images not intended to be shown in a gallery setting but they were never meant to have any sort of existence other than a digital one. Indeed, one of the criteria Prince uses when choosing which images to appropriate is that they would only appear, or better still exist, on Instagram. He shows (perhaps wilfully) his age and separation from the young people for who an online existence is so natural they could be termed ‘digital natives’ – he refuses to use the term selfie: “Selfies? Not really. Self-portraits. I’m not interested in abbreviation.” And quaintly thinks that Tumblr is spelt tumbler. By presenting ‘New Portraits’ in this way, Prince confronts questions about art, ownership, voyeurism, identity and image projection in the twenty-first century.

Prince describes his arrival at ‘New Portraits’ as a natural progression in his work. In 1984 he made portraits by asking friends to select five images of themselves and give them to him, he would then select and rephotograph one. This had many advantages, the friends did not need to sit for their portrait and they were guaranteed to like the chosen image as they had provided it themselves. He admires Larry Clark, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe, but concedes he would not know where to begin to take a great portrait, he has tried but did not enjoy the experience, he feels more comfortable in his bedroom looking through other peoples pictures: “Looking. Wondering. Anticipating. Hoping. What will be on the next page.”

Before arriving at Instagram Prince experimented with Twitter. He made a series of text/tweets called ‘The Family’, 36 photographs of his extended family, captioned with a short description then inkjet printed. Although he liked twitter it is mainly text based and he wanted to combine images and words, which is how he came upon Instagram: “if Twitter is editorial…then Instagram was advertising.” The iPhone became his studio as he began to explore what was available. He started looking at the Instagram accounts of people he knew, and was soon led down a “rabbit hole” where he would check out new Instagram accounts based on who these people were following and their likes. He describes this as a psychedelic, out of body experience, “where you suddenly look at the watch and it’s three in the morning.” He struggles to articulate why he chooses the pictures he does, but sees similarities to a previous series where he made paintings of jokes – he would read a joke book and if he found one out of 101 it is a good day:

“People on IG lead me to other people. I spend hours surfing, saving, and deleting. Sometimes I look for photos that are straightforward portraits (or at least look straightforward). Other times I look for photos that would only appear, or better still . . . exist on IG.”

When deciding how to present ‘New Portraits’, Prince was unsure, although he was definite about what he did not want to do: he did not want to do anything physical to the photograph, whatever he wanted to do needed to happen inside the photograph. When screen saving an Instagram image you get three or four comments along with the person’s profile (which he felt was important to include.) He not only wanted to add his own comments to feature and be his contribution to the piece but often found his comments would appear out of frame, at the bottom due to the many comments that had already been made. By accident he hit upon a system where he could manipulate the screen shot to include his comments – if he reported those above as spam they would disappear which would enable him to get the effect he was after. The style of the comments he makes is deliberately obtuse and unintelligible, a mixture of nonsense and the seemingly profound. He calls the technique ‘birdtalk’ and it is also the system he uses on Twitter: ” Short sentences that were funny, sweet, dumb, profound, absurd, stupid, jokey, Finnegans Wake meets MAD magazine meets ad copy for Calvin Klein.” The irony is that presented next to other Instagram users comments the absurdity of his words do not seem at all out of place.

Richard Prince is no stranger to accusations of theft and even litigation, most notably being sued by the photographer Richard Cariou when he rephotographed Cariou’s images and slightly modified them for his ‘Canal Zone’ series. Initially the court ruled in favour of Cariou, but Prince was deemed not to infringed copyright on appeal. Prince has consistently (and in typical style) said that copyright does not interest him and that it never even occurs to him to ask for permission. He also comments wryly that others have only become interested in copyright infringement as his success, and wealth, has grown. “For most of my life I owned half a stereo so there was no point in suing me, but that’s changed now and it’s interesting.” (Crockett, 2015)

The alternative modelling collective Suicide Girls responded to being appropriated by Prince for ‘New Portraits’ in pragmatic fashion – rather than threatening legal action (an approach they both could not afford and had little chance of success given the Cariou case) they decided to play Prince at his own game and offer the same images he has used for a $90 rather than $90,000. Like Prince, the comments section was used to change each picture, they added the comment “true art” to each one before printing the screen shots in exactly the same way and at the same size that Prince had. On the Suicide Girls website, co-founder Selena Mooney (aka Missy Suicide) comments that this is not the first time their images had been used without permission for commercial gain, what she objects to in this instance however is the inflated prices that the pieces are selling for and how this is an example of art being put out of the reach of normal people like her for whom the only thing they would spend $90k on would be a house. Of course selling the same images at 99.9% off their original price succeeds as a means of generating publicity, and most likely revenue, for the Suicide Girls website and brand. It does nothing to alter the value of the ‘original’ Richard Prince work, what you are buying for $90 is not the work of an internationally renowned artist who has been validated by the market and thus deemed to be able to command these astonishing prices, but a copy which is only worth the $90 it sells for.

New Portraits.jpg


Mishka Henner: Less Américains (2013)

If ‘New Portraits’ represent an established artist elevating the banal and throwaway then ‘Less Américains’ shows an emerging artist appropriating an admired classic. Robert Frank’s 1958 ‘The Americans’ is regarded as the ‘bible’ of photobooks, completely revered in photographic circles and beyond criticism. The title is a pun on ‘Les Américains’, the first edition of the photobook which was published in French because Frank could not find a US publisher – a reminder of how favour and fame can change dramatically over time. ‘Less Américains’ could be described as a ‘remix’ of ‘The Americans’, the 83 images from the original shown in the same sequence, except Henner has digitally erased parts of each photograph leaving only outlines and white space where there were once faces, bodies, graphics and flags. By doing this Henner tackles a number of conceptual themes: the fetishisation of vintage work, notions of authorship and ideas about memory – despite being created from some of the most famous photographs of all time some of the pictures are almost unrecognisable in their abstraction.

‘Less Américains’ is not only a comment on photography but also asks questions about the photobook as an art form that is experiencing a period of huge popularity that shows no sign of diminishing any time soon. The book itself features the images sequenced in the more well known Steidl edition rather than the original French version, except for the cover which echoes ‘Les Américains’. The essay by Jack Kerouac that introduces the book is included although in Henner’s version most of the words are blanked out making the text incomprehensible – the essay is also now credited to artist Elisabeth Tonnard with no mention of Kerouac. Henner chose to self publish the book using print on demand technology which allows him to fulfil ‘Less Américains’ as a physical object with all the gravitas that entails while ironically not requiring the approval of a traditional publisher.

The development of Henner as an artist is interesting and gives insight into his motivations for creating ‘Less Américains.’ He originally studied sociology and was drawn into photography after seeing the 2003 Tate exhibition ‘Cruel and Tender’ and being inspired by the work of the Dusseldorf school of photographers who elevated the seemingly ugly and banal, such as industrial estates, into the profound. He started working as a traditional documentary photographer on long term projects in London and Manchester and was just starting to make a name for himself in this field he dramatically changed direction and embraced conceptual art. He was motivated to reach an audience outside of what he saw as the conservative and narrow world of photography concluding that the documentary work he had been producing had little to do with the truth.

The inspiration for ‘Less Américains’ came from what Henner saw as the creative/destructive relationship demonstrated by Robert Rauschberg’s 1953 work ‘Erased de Kooning Drawing.’ Similarly to Rauschberg, Henner feels he is creating something new from Frank’s photographs through his process of digital erasure. Unlike Rauschberg who completely removed all traces of De Kooning’s sketch without even taking a photograph of it, Henner is using Photoshop to alter a facsimile of the original images which remain untouched. His working methods were to take several months experimenting with erasing different parts of the photographs and meditating on what the results mean both aesthetically and conceptually. He likened this to the way a painter works, playing with shape and texture.  For me the work forces close examination of the images and for me to question not only what I am seeing but also my ability to remember, on the one hand the Henner’s images seem recognisable and yet they are also definitely new works. Despite thinking that I know ‘The Americans’ well, some of Henner’s pictures are only recognisable when viewed alongside the source material.. Sean O’Hagan describes them as more like “surrealist puzzles than photographs” and the only reason they are controversial is because of the source material. (O’Hagan, 2012)



Adam Curtis: Bitter Lake (2015)

Adam Curtis describes himself as a journalist who makes films for television (Harris, 2015) but his brand of journalism is not something that is instantly recognisable. His films defy classification: they are history, current affairs, polemic, experimental and opinionated. For more than 20 years he has been producing films that are unified by being made entirely of found, archive footage which is matched with a distinctive narration from Curtis himself, described by Sam Wollaston as “schoolmasterly in tone and apocalyptic in message.” (Wollaston, 2015)

Curtis has long been interested in the way the world is understood and journalisms relationship to this. Among the many themes in his work, it could be argued that exploring this relationship is his main preoccupation. For Curtis, while the world has become seemingly more difficult to understand, current affairs are presented in increasingly simplified terms – mainly as narratives of good versus evil. This is partly a considered strategy by those in power but also one that news organisations are complicit with, he believes that modern news programming and presentation is not conducive to dealing with the complex situations of the modern world which in turn leaves those in power unaccountable and is bad for democracy. Not understanding the mistakes of the past is a concern for Curtis and one he uses Bitter Lake to address –  he proves his thesis by demonstrating that a number of major concerns for us the modern world from Islamic radicalisation, terrorism, the war in Afghanistan and the banking crisis, can be traced back to events set in motion in 1945 and a meeting between President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, aboard a warship on the great Bitter Lake in 1945.

Bitter Lake is made up almost entirely of archive footage, mainly (but not exclusively) unedited rushes from BBC journalists in Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan is the centre point of the film and Curtis uses this to prove his assertion that by not understanding the mistakes of the past we continue to repeat them. Because Curtis is famous for using found footage Jon Ronson imagines him holed up in a darkened room in some corner of the BBC, searching through hours and hours of forgotten videotape looking for some sort of marriage between his ideas and the pictures shot by others. The truth is slightly more boring, there is no special room only a giant open plan BBC office in London where he watches archive films ordered from anonymous warehouses. His choices are guided by instinct, he looks for a mood that he sees present in the films that can be used to give force to the arguments he wishes to make. This is the antithesis of what we understand as objective journalism – the concept that the world is shown to us exactly as it is, without prejudice or agenda – Curtis makes no attempt to hide the fact that what he is presenting is his world view. From the outset Curtis approaches his work from the opposite end of the spectrum – he already knows what he wants to say and he is searching for ways this can be shown. His view is that there is too much reliance on journalists presenting television and film as literal.

Curtis has an interest in forgotten images, archives and what he calls “hidden material.” This led him into contact with BBC cameraman Bill Goodwin who brought back to London hundreds of thousands of digitized rushes from the BBC station in Kabul – which represents most of what the organisation would have shot in Afghanistan. Goodwin found that no one at the BBC was interested and gave the footage to Curtis who was fascinated by the material, from which 10/20 seconds at most is used for broadcast and much of which had never even been watched back. He found much of the footage extraordinary and was immediately struck by how at odds this was with the simplistic stories that were presented about Afghanistan. This crystallized his opinion that it is not the journalists on the ground who are the issue but the news organisations and the way they choose to use, or not use, their work. For him these journalists are the heroes of Bitter Lake: brave and intelligent people working in difficult situations to trying and make sense of complex situations and he was conscious about not wanting to embarrass them through his use of unedited material.

The way Bitter Lake unfolds is unlike anything else and defies categorisation as either current affairs, documentary or art house cinema – there are elements of all of these in the work. Despite Curtis’s narration providing a strong narrative tie to the images, perhaps half of the film has no dialogue at all which is at first disconcerting and gives a dreamlike feel. Often we are unsure of what we are watching as we have become so used to tight editing that tells us how to react. Sometimes an extended scene is nothing more than a beautiful aside, the shots held longer than we expect having a mesmeric effect. At other times, the seemingly innocuous is transformed by a sudden, brutal act of violence – as a viewer, without the signposts we have become accustomed to seeing the effect is overwhelming. Curtis does not just use archive news footage however, the Tarkovsky film ‘Solaris’, ‘Carry On Up the Khyber’, ‘Blue Peter’ and the Afghan version of ‘The Thick Of It’ are all used almost as a way to make it clear that this is not a typical piece of journalism we are witnessing. ‘Bitter Lake’ is not only original in itself but also has not taken the traditional approach to broadcast being shown only via the BBC iPlayer. Some commentators have been disparaging of this saying that the BBC is showing a lack of faith in the project by not giving it traditional broadcast. Curtis himself sees iPlayer as the perfect way he can present this experimental work outside the confines of normal broadcast, hinting that without the innovation he would not have been able to make the film he envisaged. It is true that it is difficult to see how such a long and complex work could fit into what we traditionally understand as documentary broadcasting.


Vik Muniz: Pictures of Garbage (2009)

Vik Muniz is a Brazilian born artist who is famous for appropriating famous images and art history and popular culture and reworking them using everyday materials before photographing the results. He could be described as a photographer but his work is often a mixture of drawing and sculpture with photography being used to record the final result. For example, ‘Action photo, after Hans Namuth’ (1997) is a recreation of the famous photograph of Jackson Pollock in his studio producing his iconic action portraits, but rendered using Bosco chocolate syrup. Muniz first experiment with this technique was following a project he undertook documenting sugar plantation workers on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Originally he intended the work to be a series of photographic portraits but was inspired to ‘draw’ images of the workers and their children using sugar and then rephotographing the results. ‘Sugar Children’ (1997)

His series ‘Pictures of Garbage’ represents an altruist break for Muniz, he describes reaching a point in his career where he wanted to step away from the fine art world and give something back, coming from a poor family he realised that it was only luck that had led to his success and with a twist of poor fortune he would have never have been able to achieve the lifestyle he had achieved. He was drawn back to Brazil and specifically to Jardim Gramacho – a huge 32 acre open air landfill site outside Rio. The waste is picked over by an informal workforce of Catadores (waste pickers) who make a living by reclaiming and recycling useful items from the dump. Muniz expected the Catadores, people at the extreme end of consumer culture, to be beaten and broken. Instead he found survivors. This changed his approach, instead of painting portraits he began a collaboration with some of the workers: first he would photograph them in a scene inspired by classical art before recreating these images in his studio using rubbish from Jardim Gramacho. The Catadores became Muniz’s art assistants; picking rubbish from Jardim Gramacho and transporting to Muniz’s studio where he directed them from a platform to produce sculptures before capturing the finished work as a photograph. There is an interesting irony in the use of rubbish here: the Catadores scavenge for items in the dump that have value or can be reused – an enterprise which takes huge effort for small reward. In collaboration with Muniz, the sculptures and subsequent photographs they make have no use value and yet the finished work sells for tens of thousands of dollars on the art market.

The project was also made into a documentary film ‘Wasteland’ (2010, dir: Lucy Walker) in which the humanity of the Catadores and their impressive resilience really comes through – despite their apparent desperate situation living in abject poverty literally in rubbish they are positive, likeable and driven to make their lives a little better, for example Zumbi who educates himself with the books that have been discarded in the tip as well as using these to set up a library for his co-workers. At the end of the process, the workers/art assistants attend the opening of the exhibited works at Rio’s Museum of Modern Art with Muniz and he donates all proceeds from the sale of the work to the workers cooperative. It is a feel good ending despite the fact that the very next day the Catadores will be back amongst the garbage, trying to provide themselves with some sort of living and existence. This has led some to criticise Muniz for at best being naïve in his intervention and at worst exploitative. To me he is an idealist, driven by the need to use his success to do some good in the world and particularly the country of his birth which is clearly faced with many challenges. Can art really change the world? I am not so sure, I do however admire Muniz’s need to try and make a difference, especially in this practical way that enables the Catadores to be collaborators in the project rather than recipients of handouts and pity. Whether this seemingly non political approach does anything to make real lasting changes I am not sure, I am also not sure how Muniz would go about achieving this or even if it would be desirable for him to do so.


Broomberg and Chanarin: Holy Bible (2013)

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin have worked together since the early 1990s, their politically motivated, conceptual and thematically designed projects developing in steady continuation since then. In 2008 the pair spent time embedded with the British army in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and their practice has focused increasingly on the depiction of war since then. The output of their experience was typically conceptual as they left their cameras at home and chose to ‘document’ events by exposing 50m long pieces of photographic paper to the Afghan sun. The project culminated in an exhibition ‘The Day Nobody Died’, a nod to the fact that their time in Afghanistan coincided with the deadliest month of the entire war. The project is definitely anti-mainstream war photography, that does not mean they do not respect those who choose to document war zones and are willing to pay the ultimate price like Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros who they describe as a different breed. They are only interested in visiting conflict zones to explore ideas about how human suffering is documented and then consumed as images and how individuals respond to this. They see the debates about photography and its relationship to truth and authenticity to be arguments that are long over, the only question that remains is what constitutes evidence. Against charges that their work is anti-photojournalism they respond that it is not, but it is anti-empathy.

Their ‘Holy Bible’ project follows directly from their previous work, the 2013 Deutsche Börse prize winning ‘War Primer 2’. For this they reinterpreted Bertolt Brecht’s original ‘War Primer’ – a 1955 book in which he coupled newspaper clippings with his own four line poems, keeping Brecht’s original text but matching them with contemporary images of the war on terror. While researching ‘War Primer 2’ they came across Brecht’s personal Bible in which had placed clippings and small annotations after running out of notebooks – the proved to be the genesis of the ‘Holy Bible’. At the same time they came across, and were deeply influenced by, the writings of Adi Ophir – a radical Israeli philosopher with particular expertise in the Old Testament. His book ‘Divine Violence’ (a section of which provides the afterword of the Holy Bible) draws parallel between the violence of The Bible and the violence of the modern world and reads it as a parable for modern governance and its relation to catastrophe and punishment. This struck a chord with Broomberg and Chanarin and their interest in how photography is used to understand the world and yet is often drawn to power, war, catastrophe and sites of human suffering.

Broomberg and Chanarin’s ‘Holy Bible’ contains images sourced from the Archive of Modern Conflict superimposed over a reprint of the King James version of the Old and New Testaments. Each of the 512 images are accompanied by text underlined in red which not only provides a new caption for the images but also a strange narrative throughout – one which is very much open to individual interpretation however. The Archive spans the history of photography and provides an unofficial version of the history of war which is opposite to the straightforward narratives we have come to expect. For example, there are shelves containing the personal albums of Nazi soldiers that contain pictures showing familial intimacy, human emotions, tenderness and desire – all counter to the narrative we are used to seeing and morally difficult to cope with. Although the time they spent in the archive was difficult and depressing spending so much time around images of suffering and death they also came across humour. They found a large collection of photographs of magic tricks and used these as a running motif throughout, almost to punctuate and relieve the horror of the disturbing images of death and destruction that are also contained. Each of the magic images are combined with the phrase “and it came to pass”  which provides a running motif and strange kind of punctuation throughout.

Can the Bible be seen as an everyday object? It remains the best selling book of all time but perhaps the time where it is the centre point of many peoples lives is gone – although it undoubtedly is hugely important to Christians all over the world and Broomberg and Chanarin’s appropriation of the sacred text could be seen as provocative at the very least and blasphemous by many. The work is fundamentally an object and requires experiencing the artefact itself to understand and disseminate. Much can be gained from the tactile feel of the book, I am not a religious person but holding Broomberg and Chanarin’s Holy Bible instantly transported me to school assemblies, weddings, funerals and christenings – the Christian touch points of my life. Apart from the names of the artists on the spine and the publishers name on the back, to all intents this is a real bible with embossed gold text and a cover with a texture that gives the feel of imitation leather. The pages are gold edged and there is a familiar red bookmark ribbon down the centre. For me the feel of the paper is the most tactile, it is a strange thin but strong paper that almost has the feel of tissue which I have only ever experienced in a Bible. The book somehow demands to be red from cover to cover, the obstruction of the text by the images make reading it as an actual bible impossible. The highlighted text seems captions each image but the connections are not obvious although they seem to form some sort of narrative, albeit with oblique and possibly personal meaning. The initial feeling I have when looking through the book cover to cover is to question the truth and meaning of what I have seen, not being overtly told how I need to respond to the images provides a puzzle and leads me to questioning old notions of truth and objectivity – the apparent hallmarks of photojournalism. It is also a physical struggle to get through with every page demanding attention and thought to link what has gone before – not to mention the length. I wonder what the archives of the future will look like, in the age of citizen journalism when anyone and everyone record almost every moment of their lives and experience how do we log and make sense of this? Despite this seemingly improved way of collating images the same old eco system of photo journalism driven by editors who are increasingly accountable to ad agencies and revenues prevails. Perhaps the only question remaining is the one that Broomberg and Chanarin ask with the Holy Bible: what constitutes evidence?

holy-bibleMiriam Elia: We Go To The Gallery (2014)

I have chosen to include ‘We Go To The Gallery’ by Miriam Elia for a number of reasons: I have owned the book for a while and it is a work I admire, the object itself is a convincing imitation of the Ladybird books I read as a child, it contrasts starkly with Broomberg and Chanarin’s ‘Holy Bible’, the threat of litigation by Penguin books and Elia’s response is interesting, and, unlike the other works I have chosen which are all quite serious, it is funny!

‘We Go To The Gallery’ is a parody of the Peter and Jane Ladybird books of the 1960s and 70s and pokes fun at the contemporary art world – the innocence and old fashioned optimism of Peter and Jane contrasting in amusing ways with the nihilism of the modern art scene. The book is instantly recognisable as the Ladybird books it pastiches, the size, printing, choice of paper, design, artwork and style of writing are all instantly familiar to anyone for whom the original ladybird books formed part of their childhood. For the first edition, a print run of 1000 funded by £5000 raised on Kickstarter, Elia used the Ladybird logo on the cover, thoughts of copyright did not occur to her because she was producing an artwork. When the project gained attention on social media, Penguin books, who own Ladybird imprint, sent legal letters stating that Elia was infringing their copyright and ordered her to pulp the remaining books. Elia obliged but then went on to rework her original changing the artwork and the children’s names to Susan and John and inventing her own publishing imprint, Dung Beetle books, in place of Ladybird. The new artwork was achieved using models from a modelling agency with the “right look”  and dressing them in period clothes before enacting the scenes. The second edition of 5000 has now sold out and a more affordable mass market edition of 20 000 is now selling well.

Penguin made no attempt to take legal action about the second edition. Instead, possibly ‘inspired’ by the success of ‘We Go To The Gallery’ they released their own Ladybird books for adults in October 2015, eight titles including The Hipster, The mid-life crisis and The Hangover. Elia responded with a mock up cover on her website for a book she may produce in the future: ‘We Sue An Artist’ and a printed response available on her website and published in The Guardian. With typical sardonic tone she reasons that Penguin were right to produce the new Ladybird books as independent artists are worthless to the economy, unlike Penguin who employ more people, who will feed more children, who will be able to buy Ladybird books. Also, and for me most cuttingly the “new books clearly demonstrate that it is the working class, not the intelligentsia, who present the greatest hazard to our cultural, artistic and political heritage.”



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Schjeldahl, P (2014) Richard Prince’s Instagrams. The New Yorker, September 30th 2014. Available at [accessed January 2016]

Seymour, T. (2014) The Dodo Effect. British Journal of Photography, August 2014, pp. 58-61

Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist With A Camera. London: Robert King Publishing

Sturken, M. and Cartwright, L. (2009) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walker, L (2010) Wasteland

Williams, R. (1983) Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. London: Fontana Press.

Wollaston, S (2015) Bitter Lake Review. The Guardian 26th January 2015. Available at [accessed January 2016]

Project 1-6: Photography: The New Reality

This project requires reading the essay ‘Photography Versus Painting’ by Osip Brik in ‘Art in Theory 1900-2000’ (Ed. Harrison and Wood) before considering the following questions:

 Do you think that Brik’s article points to a practice that was taken up by photographers or other artists to any great extent?

 Although Brik’s article was written in 1926, nearly 100 years since the earliest surviving photograph by Nicéphore Niépce, he makes a passionate argument as to why photography is an important art form while acknowledging it is still in its infancy. As a Russian Constructivist Brik would have been concerned with art that serves a political and social purpose as well as art’s relationship with the industrial. As a Leninist living in post-revolutionary Russia the ties between art and the ruling classes would have informed his thinking; he recognises how the cost of photography is accessible to everyone, unlike painting, “The cheapest painting is more expensive than the most expensive photograph.” For me, there is a real sense of purpose and urgency to his words along with a belief that photography can form part of social betterment.

For Brik, there is no contest in the battle between art and photography, “Photography pushes painting aside. Painting resists and is determined not to capitulate.” The advantages of photography over painting, “precision, speed [and] cheapness”, mean that painters cannot compete with the “faithful reproduction” that photography can produce. Despite this, the counter attack by painters was centred on photography’s inferior realism to painting because it was black and white. For Brik this argument is flawed in that painters can only approximate the colours of nature: “However much the painter tries s/he cannot go beyond the narrow limits of the palette.” He hints that accurate colour photography is yet to come while dismissing the lack of realism argument with the aside that at least photography does not falsify like painting by giving an object the wrong colours.

For Brik, photography’s difference to painting should be total. Photographers should concern themselves with how a subject looks while “The painter not only has the right to change reality, it is virtually his duty to do so.” he cites artistic movements that have emerged from the mid nineteenth century as proof of this, impressionism, cubism, suprematism, each of which makes a decisive divide between photography and painting. Although he cannot resist disparaging painting again, “The photographer captures life and the painter makes pictures.”

Despite all of his assertions that photography is superior to painting, Brik admits that photography is not yet fully mature as an art form. This is due to photographers not realising their social importance and regarding themselves as humble artisans practicing an “insignificant craft.” The reason for this is that artists are free to make work of anything that they please rather than to commission. (Although I think he is presenting an idealised version of what it is to be an artist here.) The importance of their work is compounded by important exhibitions which are regarded as cultural events. He explains that this is why some photographers try to mimic this style by employing painterly effects, a reference to the pictorialist school of photography. Brik believes however that photographers will attain the social recognition enjoyed by painters by creating their own aesthetic: “The photographer must show that it is not just life ordered according to aesthetic laws which is impressive, but also vivid, everyday life itself as it is transfixed in a technically perfect photograph.” He acknowledges that a new theory of the art of photography is in its infancy but cites photographers like Alexander Rodchenko who understand it’s “mission, aims and development.”

There is much in Brik’s article that I agree with – that photography is a an art form and is separate from painting, that it has the ability to recreate reality more closely than traditional art and that photography can be important politically and socially. He rightly asserts that photography will move away from pictorialism into more realistic modes although today there are many different photographic styles. Because the article is a polemic which does not give any room for multiple view points only the assertion of Brik’s argument, I also have a number of concerns: Brik suggests that there can be only painting or photography when clearly they can coexist side by side. It is quite common today for artists to work in many different media so clearly this is untrue and many exhibitions feature both photography and painting. Brik also completely accepts the view that photography is a faithful representation of reality, a position that although it has some truth has been widely discounted today, or at least approached with caution.

 Do you find any resonances with Brik’s ideas in contemporary discussions of photography and painting?

Until recently I would have said no, that the argument about whether photography could be art was over and had broadly been won. A recent pair of articles in ‘The Guardian’ however show this not to be the case. In response to a photograph (‘Phantom’ by Peter Lik) setting a new world record for the most expensive ever (it sold for $6.5m), the Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones set out an argument against photography being an art form. His main thrust is against ‘Phantom’ which he sees as “derivative, sentimental in its studied romanticism, and consequently in very poor taste.” And “Lik’s photography is beauty in a slick way, but beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature.” Not only does he find the subject matter derivative of 100 year old painting styles he also has issue with the use of black and white which he sees as a special effect employed solely to elevate the status of the work. Indeed, Jones’ main issue is that anyone could have taken ‘Phantom’ as long as they stand in the right place, at the right time with the right piece of technology: “this hollow and overblown creation exposes the illusion that lures us all, when we’re having a good day with a good camera – the fantasy that taking a picture is the same thing as making a work of art.”

In response photography critic Sean O’Hagan argues that he could as easily dismiss all painting by using a narrow example such as the BP National Portrait Award, an “uninspiring show, a hotchpotch”, which is “mostly comprised of rather old fashioned paintings.” He chooses not to because “the ‘photography is not art’ debate is so old it’s hardly worth revisiting.” He agrees with Jones on one point however, that ‘Phantom’ is not very good, “a rather boring photograph.” However, he argues that the huge selling price shows the problems inherent in global capitalism rather than photography, “obscenely rich people with more money than sense.” He could similarly attack all contemporary art because of Hirst’s “obscene” diamond skull or Jack Vettriano but rather chooses to celebrate the great artists that take photographs and the great photographers that are artists, whose work, “sings on the gallery wall. Their work makes you look at the world in a different way.” On the subject of technology, O’Hagan asserts that digital photography has merely made it easier for people to take and disseminate photographs, “A great photographer can make a great photograph whatever the camera. A bad one will still make a bad photograph on a two grand digital camera that does everything for you. It’s about a way of seeing, not technology.”

So who wins the argument? Although I am biased towards photography myself I would still have to say O’Hagan – a lot of the success of his piece comes down to his difference in tone compared with Jones. While he appears measured in his responses and passionate about his love of photography as an art form, Jones appears spiteful and irrational. It is unclear whether his piece is a knee jerk reaction or simply provocative. It seems that it could be the latter as many commentators on the piece point out he has been an advocate for photography as an art form in the past. Still, the difficulties raised about the mechanical nature of photography, whether it is the machine or the operator that makes a great image and the fact that anyone can take a photograph are probably more commonly shared than I first thought. My suspicion is that many people who are not invested with an interest in contemporary art would prefer ‘Phantom’ over the previous most expensive photograph ever ‘Rhine II’ by Andreas Gursky. The problem though is that we equate cost with quality, and as O’Hagan observes, in this modern capitalist age of inflated prices, this is a dangerous parallel to draw.

Find and annotate two examples of images that demonstrate the impact of photography on painting. How do these images acknowledge the shift in visual culture that came about with the advent of photography?

From my research I found little concrete evidence of photography’s impact on painting, by that I mean that a lot of what I read came down the authors opinion or considered hypothesis of how artists reacted to the emergence of photography. Through my research of different art movements during photography’s initial development I came across a number of thoughts of my own which I will detail. I may be off the mark and my opinion is sure to change as my knowledge of art history improves and I become familiar with more artists, also, my ideas are contradictory in that photography both encouraged a new type of realism (rather than the presentation of an ideal) as well as provoking artists began to experiment with more abstract representations which differentiated painting from photographs.

It is difficult to say for certain whether these changes in painting are a direct result of photography or driven more by the rapid changes in society brought about by the industrial revolution. This notion of photography’s impact is also compounded by the fact that as an emerging art form it would be at least one hundred years after the first photograph before photography started to find its way as an art form.

The realism movement in art of the mid-late 19th century aimed at breaking artistic and social conventions through choice of subject matter and by attempting to show the world as they saw it. Realism was interested in challenging the accepted bourgeois notions of what art should be: the pursuit of the beautiful, moral and improving. In ‘A Bar at the Foile-Bergere’ (1882) Edouard Manet paints a young woman standing behind a bar with the customers reflected in the background. The image was controversial at the time because of the subject matter; many think the girl portrayed is a prostitute – not an accepted subject for a painting. Also the paintings style which rather than using perspective focusses the viewers attention with the distortions and omissions in the reflections of the background achieve a kind of depth of field effect – which has now become part of the language and way we understand a photograph. I think it is doubtful that this would have entered the visual language at the time Manet was painting but the comparison is interesting none the less. It also seems somewhat coincidental that a movement that aims to portray life as seen by the artist emerges at the same time that photography is invented.

The impressionist movement, originating from around 1860, could be seen as a rejection of attempting to compete with photography on the grounds of realism. Impressionists explored ways to capture light, movement and colour through their work and thus provoke a sensory reaction from the viewer. It is only since the 1970s that colour photography has overtaken black and white as the accepted norm (certainly in reference to ‘serious’ photography) so it understandable that the impressionist’s use of colour was one of the central aspects of their work and a key differentiator with photography, see Claude Monet ‘Impressions, Sunrise’ (1872). On a separate note, the early pictorialist movements in photography can be read as an attempt to follow what was happening in the art world (and an attempt to have photography accepted as an art) and appears to me to be heavily influenced by Impressionism. Edward Steichen, ‘The Pond-Moonlight’, 1904.)

As art moved into modernism, painting became less concerned with realism and more abstract,  which again can be read as a further distancing between painting and photography. Certainly a work like Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, 1907) is unrecognisable as what was understood at the time as a painting through Picasso’s use of flattened perspective and jagged shapes.

A final example of how by the beginning of the twentieth century painting and photography are now beginning to inform each other can be seen in Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2’,1912 which clearly is influenced by cubism but also references the photographic studies of motion by Eadweard Muybridge (‘Woman Walking Downstairs’, 1887.)


As my main artistic interest and area of knowledge lies with photography and because of this I thought this would be an easy project to complete, the reality has been somewhat more slippery however. The difficulty has mainly come from trying to establish the relationship between painting, photography and reality as it applies to the mid-late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries. It quickly became apparent to me that it is impossible to look at only painting and photography in isolation as the development of both was probably influenced far greater by the fast changing world driven by advances in science and technology and also massive shifts in society. It seems probable that any serious artist would be aware of photography as an emerging medium and that seems to be demonstrated by the examples I have given, how much so is difficult if not impossible to assess. It is not unreasonable to assume that artists may have been subconsciously influenced by photography’s development rather than actively seeking it as an influence. That photography was influenced by art seems similarly likely because of the early photographic movement of pictorialism.

Realism in photography is a tricky subject. It is probably only very recently that we have stopped believing the cliché ‘the camera never lies’ and this is only because we are now sophisticated readers of visual culture. In the early days of photography this distinction would probably not have been made, conversely however it certainly took a number of years before photography developed its own visual language (the development of the technology played a part in this)  so it would certainly have been even longer for acceptance of photography as a visual language to be made.

In short, as with all the other exercises so far, what has seemed straightforward at the beginning has become less so as my study has progressed. I feel a little less certain about the relationship between painting and photography now despite my increased knowledge, maybe this is because I recognise that I have only scratched the surface and that the relationship is an extremely complex one with many other outside influences.

Keywords and concepts for further research:

Constructivism, Factography, Reportage, Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, Suprematism, Social Realiam, Futurism, Bauhaus movement, Neo-Classical.

Key figures for further research:

Osip Brik, Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzy, Vladimir Mayalowsky, Vladimir Tatlin, Dziga Vertov, Varvara Stepanova, Van Doesburg, Naum Gabo, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Kurt Schwitters, Charles Vantongerro, Pablo Picasso, Eduoard Manet, Marcel Duchamp, Eadward Muybridge.


Brik, O. Photography versus Painting in Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) (2002) Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell.

Jones, J. The $6.5m canyon: it’s the most expensive photograph ever – but it’s like a hackneyed poster in a posh hotel in The Guardian 10th December 2014

Available at [accessed January 2015]

Macey, D. The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory (2000) London: Penguin books

Murray, P and L. The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists 7th Ed (1997) London: Penguin Books

O’Hagan, S. Photography is art and always will be in The Guardian 11th Decemeber 2014

Available at: [accessed January 2015]

Sturken, M. and Cartwright, L. (2009) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Project 1-5: Art as Commodity

From 'We Go To The Gallery' (2014) Miriam Elia

This project requires reading an extract from ‘Fetishism of the Commodity’ by Karl Marx in ‘The Visual Culture Reader (2nd Ed.)’ (2002) Ed. N. Mirzoeff and consider the following questions:

Can you see ways in which Marx’s views of the consumer society may help us to understand the art market?

 Marx defined commodities as having a dual character with two very different types of value:

  1. Use-value: the satisfaction of a particular human need.
  2. Exchange-value: what a commodity can be exchanged for.

“by his activity, man changes the forms of the materials of nature in such a way as to make them useful to him…as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness.”

Mirzoeff p.122

 Because the value of labour is central to Marx’s thinking (and the exchange-value of a commodity is often greater than the cost of labour) Marx is critical of capitalisms emphasis on exchange-value over use-value.

The concept of “usefulness” is steeped in ideology, and often demonstrate a conflict between mass produced/affordable goods and exclusive/expensive items. An example could be a factory made, mass produced loaf of bread versus a hand made artisan loaf. Essentially the goods have the same use-value in that they satisfy our hunger, however, the exchange-value is quite different with the artisan loaf costing much more even though the ingredients are essentially the  same.

Commodity fetishism is the idea that mass produced items are emptied of the meaning of their production and filled with new meanings which mystify the subject. A famous example of the power of commodity fetishism is given by Buchanan (referencing Adam Smith, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, 1776) – that a diamond can be deemed of greater value than fresh water despite the diamonds lack of obvious usefulness. That the diamond is so highly prized is unclear, an explanation could be rarity, however, this is not satisfactory since other similarly rare items are not as valuable. This analogy goes some way to explain (albeit simplistically) how a particular artwork is attributed value – someone (or more accurately a group of people) decides that a particular work is more valuable than the raw materials it is made from.

During my reading two particular examples of how an artist themselves can become synonymous with value: Andy Warhol signing a dollar bill – the note was then worth hundreds of dollars rather than just one, Picasso towards the end of his life paying for meals by simply drawing on the table cloth rather than exchanging money.

Does the article go any way to explain the sort of work made by artists such as Jeff Koons?

If we accept that the exchange-value of a commodity is complex with many varying factors affecting it we can apply the same thinking to the art market and why certain works or certain artists are more highly prized than others. In ‘Playing to the Gallery’ artist Grayson Perry explores thoughts on the value of art. He asserts that validation is key and quotes Sir Alan Bowness (a former director of Tate) who believes that there are four stages to validation: peers, serious critics, collectors/dealers and (even) the public. Validators bestow upon artworks a layer of patina which builds over time into a reputation (and by suggestion increased exchange-value), this is important because few are confident enough to declare art as quality without first gauging the consensus. (He does note however that fortunes can rise and fall, quoting Francesco Bonami “Some artworks accumulate a patina and others dust.”) For Perry, collectors are key to an artist’s work gaining value. He uses the example of Charles Saatchi in the 1990s who could make an artists career simply by attending an exhibition.

The lineage of artists like Jeff Koons can be drawn back to the origins of conceptual art and the work of Marcel Duchamp who posited that anything could be art. Later, pop artists and particularly And Warhol played with ideas of art and consumerism, however, crucially their work still looked like traditional art. The group of contemporary conceptual artists that came to prominence from the 1990s onwards and who Koons would be associated embrace the idea that artworks are consumer goods. They replicate the expensive finishes and highly crafted finishes of luxury items – Perry asks the question however, is this art or product?

Find some example of Jeff Koons’ work and read up on Koons.

If I have learned anything in this course so far it is that leading thinkers in cultural theory are predominately left leaning. It stands to reason then that many critics would have difficulty with Jeff Koons – his work is mind boggling expensive to make and sells for millions, he presents himself as always smiling, athletic, happy, successful and clean cut – as Jason Farago observes: “He is unfailingly polite, endlessly good-natured. In a cynical, ironic art world he comes across as a suburban-mall Father Christmas.” Most damming of all he went to work in Wall Street after graduating from art school. When the myth of the struggling artist sacrificing all to pursue his vision is so accepted, this is almost like committing an act of terrorism. As Grayson Perry observes “art for art’s sake….does not pay the bills.” In 2013 ‘Balloon Dog (Orange)’ sold for $58.4 million making it the most expensive work to be sold at auction be a living artist.

It seems many critics have issue with Koons’ superficiality, however they praise Duchamp for his elevation of the banal so what is the difference? Duchamp was clear about his intentions with his ready mades while Koons says his work has no hidden meaning. Do we take this at face value though? It seems to me that Warhol worked in a similar way, is his obvious lack of conformity with the establishment the only thing that separates him with Koons? Is it too much of a stretch to think that Koons is not being entirely genuine here?

For critics to be so anti Koons seems to show how little real sway they have in deciding the value of an artwork. Jason Fargo sounds almost petulant when he says: “The oligarchical collectors of our age, we know, do not care: they like their art instantly recognisable, easily graspable, unchallenging and shiny.” Likewise Jackie Wulschager concludes her assessment of Koons’ retrospective at the Pompidou centre with “[it shows] what happens when money and celebrity become yardsticks for culture. It is not a pretty sight.”

It is difficult for me to assess how I feel about Koons work, particularly the sculptures, it seems to me that they rely upon being seen in the flesh. (In my experience it is only possible to get a fleeting impression viewing artwork in a book or on the internet.) Before reading about Koons I was aware of his balloon sculptures from his ‘Celebration’ series because of how famous they are and I found them appealing on both a conceptual and aesthetic level. Producing huge shiny, sculptures of items steeped in the iconography of childhood seems playful and fun to me. Reading more has not changed my mind. I find it difficult to agree that Koons is all surface without anything else going on. A work like ‘Michael Jackson and Bubbles’ (1988) seems to me steeped in references to celebrity culture and I find the pose and facial expressions truly creepy and haunting, indeed prescient of the legal challenges that would follow, and Jacksons untimely death. Likewise the seeming perfectionism of Koons and great lengths he goes to have his works made is staggering. Various sources talk about how he nearly bankrupted himself trying to perfect fabrication techniques until he had the moment of understanding that he could ask his collectors to pay for work not yet produced. Understanding the market and that the price of his work is rising he knew that collectors would do this – the perfect manipulation of the capitalist art market. All Koons is doing here is recognising the realities of the commoditized art world rather than pretending that artistry and finance are two separate entities that should not meet.

Before reading about Koons I expected his work to only consist of the balloon sculptures and was surprised at how diverse and wide ranging his work is. The elevation of common objects in the early work such as the vacuum cleaners in the ‘new’ series and the basket balls suspended in water of the ‘equilibrium’ series seems an interesting comment on consumerism, banality and how the every day can be elevated through being placed in a gallery setting. This contrasts strongly with the deliberately ostentatious later work like ‘Puppy’, a huge outdoor sculpture decorated with living plants and flowers that requires its own watering system. The question of why you would want to produce something so expensive and surely difficult to maintain – the only answer I can come up with is why not?

Find a couple of examples of artists who work in a similar way to Koons.

I have defined ‘work in a similar way to Koons’ as artists who work conceptually, use assistants, celebrate consumerism and whose works are sell for large amounts of money.

Andy Warhol:

Warhol needs a mention because his way of working and the myth he cultivated around himself seems a natural precursor to artists like Koons. He demonstrated it was possible to work in many different disciplines (painting, printing, photography, sculpture, performance, music, film) and that to be an artist you did not necessarily need to do any of the work yourself. The use of consumer and celebrity iconography in his work is of partucular relevance, howver, the bohemian set up of ‘the Factory’ is quite at odds with Koons modern and technologically driven way of producing work.

Damian Hirst

A google search for ‘worlds richest artist’ most frequently brings up Hirst, and his celebrity as well as standing as artist rivals Warhol’s. Hirst uses sensationalism and shock unashamedly in his artwork, for example in his ‘Natural History’ series with its animals presented in glass cases suspended in formaldehyde. (When reading about Koons I was struck that his floating basketballs could have been an influence on Hirst.) For me an event in 1994 speaks volumes about Hirst as an artist – his work ‘Away From The Flock’ (a sheep in formaldehyde) was vandalised by artist Mark Bridger when he poured black ink into the tank and retitled the work ‘Black Sheep.’ Bridger was subsequently arrested and charged at Hirst’s wish and received a two year suspended sentence. It cost £1000 to restore the artwork. The story took a final twist when Bridger sued Hirst after a photograph of the work in his autobiography featured a black card which could be pulled down to obscure the sheep. Bridger alleged that by doing this Hirst infringed his copyright of ‘Black Sheep.’ The whole incident not only highlights that Hirst seemingly wishes to have his conceptual cake and eat it while demonstrating the problems of authorship in modern art.

Hirst took the notion of luxury in artworks to its apparent extreme with ‘For The Love Of God’ (2007), a platinum sculpture of a human skull adorned with 8000 diamonds which alone were said to have a value of £15 million. (The piece is said to have sold for £50 million in 2007)

Takashi Murakami:

Murakami takes the idea of art as commodity to its logical conclusion. Since 2002 he has been associated with high end fashion house Louis Vuitton and has contributed artwork that has been used in their designs. He has then re-appropriated these in his own artworks and his 2007 retrospective at MoMA in Los Angeles featured a real, pop art Louis Vuitton shop. Murakami calls this his version of Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’, I am not so sure however.


The first project that requires looking at actual art and artists! I can see the groundwork that is being laid to promote understanding of concepts and ways of thinking so I am beginning to appreciate why we have not been asked to look at artists and artwork directly up until this point. Approaching the assignment I felt that my understanding of ideas around art as commodity was quite robust so I would be able to complete in a shorter timescale than previous projects. However, I found myself becoming tied in knots, delving into more and more reading and research. It was all interesting but not all of it relevant. Because time is such a premium I need to try hard to resist this urge and focus on the key questions being asked. I need not to try and establish definitive answers to the questions posed but to be more succinct. As I progress with this course I am finding my understanding of subjects I have previously explored being enriched through further study and I need to accept that understanding is going to be a long haul rather than quickly gained. My initial written draft was much more extensive than what I have published here, I have tried to pair it down and concentrate on key points rather than (for example) provide a full explanation of Marxism or a complete retrospective of Koons’ work. I also stopped myself delving further into other artists only picking artists I had come across that seemed to share a similar ethos to Koons. Now to see if I can be more focused with the next project….!

Keywords and concepts for further research:

Commodification, capitalism, minimalism, conceptualism, the fetish of the commodity, consumerism, alienation.

Key figures for further research:

Karl Marx, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Damian Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Grayson Perry.


Bennett, Tony; Grossberg, Lawrence; Morris Meaghan (Eds.) New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society, (2005)   Wiley-Blackwell, Revised Edition

Farago, J (2014) Jeff Koons: A Retrospective Review – great, good bad and terrible art, The Guardian, 25th June 2014 [accessed 12th December 2014]

Macey, D. The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory (2000) London: Penguin books

Marx, K. Capital (Chapter One) available at: [accessed November 2014]

Mirzoeff, N. (ed). (2002) The Visual Culture Reader Second edition. Oxford: Routledge

Murray, P and L. The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists 7th Ed (1997) London: Penguin Books

Perry, G. Playing to the Gallery (2014) London: Penguin Books

Pooke, G. and Newall, D. (2008) The Basics: Art History. Oxford: Routledge.

Salmon, F.  (2014) Jeff Koons: a master innovator turning money into art The Guardian 3rd July 2014 [accessed 12th December 2014]

Sturken, M. and Cartwright, L. (2009) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Williams, R. (2010) Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. London: Fontana Press.

Wullschlager, J. Jeff Koons at the Pompidou: inflated out of all proportion Financial Times, November 28th 2014 [accessed 12th December 2014]