At the age of 80, this relentless artist continues to deal definite blows to the very core of contemporary art production.
Elaine Sturtevant: contemporary art’s official counterfeiter /
Appropriation justifies many pieces of contemporary art; artists frequently take over, creatively, an infinite amount of things, ideas and even works of art from other periods. Since the Sixties, multiple creators began to imitate or appropriate many of pop culture’s and consumerist goods’ characteristics. Andy Warhol’s Brillo Box, or Lichtenstein’s painted vignettes are works which celebrate the inclusion of finance within the sphere of art and that of art within financial dynamics —a mutual appropriation.
Elaine Sturtevant (1930) is by far, the queen of appropriation, she is the undisputed master of replication and counterfeit. This octogenarian is the author of innumerable plagiarisms of contemporary art pieces, and her copying skills are undeniable. But, perhaps beyond this, what is truly impressive is her ability to recognise artists with the potential of becoming famous, since she has replicated famous pieces before they become famous. In her body of work of plagiarised pieces we can find works by Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Duchamp, Robert Gober, Anselm Kiefer, Paul McCarthy and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
In order to create her imitations, Sturtevant, actually masters a wide variety of disciplines including photography, video, sculpture, painting and installations. And although at first her work was considered a simple and humourless hoax, nowadays it is considered to be a crucial practice in the sphere of contemporary art. For this very reason, London’s Serpentine Gallery exhibited Sturtevant: Leaps Jumps and Bumps, which presented an intensive exploration by experts on the subject and the works, in order to reveal the creative act behind this American artist’s copies.
When Warhol was once asked about his creative process, he answered: “You better ask Sturtevant”. Risk taking creators that follow their impulse regardless of everything else, reach their goals and challenge the established order to obtain the recognition they always
deserve, and beyond that, the satisfaction of having followed their most rebellious impulses.Tagged: art, contemporary art, falsification in art, Elaine Sturtevant