Art in the Simulacrum
"We are not in search of sources of origins, but of structures of signification: underneath each picture there is always another picture." - Douglas Crimp
Douglas Crimp











Sarah Charlesworth, Modern History, September 1977 - 1979.











Sarah Charlesworth, Modern History, 1977 - 1979.











Allan Mc Collum, Collection of Forty Plaster Surrogates, 1982.











"What these fledgling artists did have fully to themselves was the sea of images into which they were born—the media culture of movies and television, popular music, and magazines that to them constituted a sort of fifth element or a prevailing kind of weather.

Their relationship to such material was productively schizophrenic: while they were first and foremost consumers, they also learned to adopt a cool, critical attitude toward the very same mechanisms of seduction and desire that played upon them from the highly influential writings of French philosophers and cultural critics such as Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Julia Kristeva that were just beginning to be made available in translation. Among these thinkers' central ideas was that identity was not organic and innate, but manufactured and learned through highly refined social constructions of gender, race, sexuality, and citizenship. These constructions were embedded within society's institutions and achieved their effects through the myriad expressions of the mass media." - Douglas Eklund

Troy Brauntuch, Untitled, 1976.











Robert Longo, Men in the Cities, 1981.











Men in the Cities

Robert Longo, Untitled (Cindy and Eric), from the Men in the Cities series. 1981.











American Psycho, 2000
Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman (study for Men in Cities series).











Roland "Barthes infamously questioned the very possibility of originality and authenticity in his 1967 manifesto, "The Death of the Author," in which he stated that any text (or image), rather than emitting a fixed meaning from a singular voice, was but a tissue of quotations that were themselves references to yet other texts, and so on." "The famous last line of Barthes' essay, that 'the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author,' was a call to arms for the loosely knit group of artists working in photography, film, video, and performance that would become known as the 'Pictures' Generation.'" - Douglas Eklund
Louise Lawler, Pollock and Tureen, Arranged by Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine, Connecticut, 1984.











Caravaggio, Young Bacchus, c. 1452 - 1455.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #216, 1990.


Appropriation = the use of found or borrowed elements in the creation of a new artwork
Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  • In an age when images can be reproduced endlessly, there is no original
  • The "aura" is the feeling of awe created by unique object from the past
  • Capitalism destroys the aura because of proliferation, mass production and endless reproduction











Torso of Neil

Weston poster

Edward Weston, Neil Nude, 1925.
Witkin Gallery, Six Nudes of Neil, 1925 by Edward Weston.  Poster announcing publicationof a limited edition portfolio printed by George A. Tice, 1977.











Untitled After Edward Weston

Sherrie Levine, After Edward Weston, 1981.











Torso of Neil
Untitled After Edward Weston
Polykleitos, Doryphoros, 450 - 440 BCE.
Edward Weston, Neil Nude, 1925.
Sherrie Levine, After Edward Weston, 1981.











After Walker Evans 4

Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans #4, 1981.











Sherrie Levine, After Aleksander Rodchenko #1 - 12, 1987.











“Confronts the contradiction between photography (an infinitely reproducible medium) and fine art (commonly considered a unique object).  Many art photographers artificially curtail the size of their editions to give their work the aura of a unique object.  This exclusivity is compromised when their work is then reproduced in books and magazines [and on the internet].  Levine rescues them from this process.  The images she photographs originate in the media; but in framing and presenting them as singular works of art, she returns them to the privileged arena of fine art where such mid-twentieth-century photographers as Edward Weston and Walker Evans intended them to be seen.” – Linda Weintraub
Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans #11, 1981.





















After Duchamp
more on
Sherrie Levine
other versions of Fountain
Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.
Sherrie Levine, After Duchamp, 1991.











Prince aimed to "turn the lie back on itself" by revealing the "social science fiction" of seemingly natural source material.


Richard Prince, Untitled (four single men with interchangeable backgrounds), 1977.











Richard Prince, Untitled (four women looking in the same direciton) #1 - #4, 1977 - 1979.