Special cover by Maurizio Cattelan
Flash Art #329
Special project for Flash Art:
Maurizio Cattelan, LARRY, 2019. Collage. Photography by Paige Powell.
Today’s image consumption has become a primal, even nurturing aspect of our daily life. Whether originating from commercial or private streams of communications, we ingest and recirculate images incessantly. Yet the meaning of each image is entirely dependent on context; the same image with a different caption may deliver entirely new content, as if freshly produced.
This issue of Flash Art explores a sort of archeology of images. The questions we wish to pose have moved beyond notions of legality; for our purposes, we are not engaged with issues of intellectual property, nor are we interested in determining whether an idea, slightly modified from an already existing one, is more or less relevant than the original.
We aim to reflect on issues of appropriation and authenticity in their most contemporaneous sense, whereby any original or preexisting artwork, image, or product can be invested with a multiplicity of meanings. For this new sense of authenticity Gea Politi, Flash Art Editor-in-chief, has coined the term “Post-copyright,” and to that end the issue have focuses on several case studies of artists who are working to remove categories or definitions, even breaking down the barriers between consumer images and art objects.
All the artists featured in this issue — beginning with Maurizio Cattelan, who has conceived a special cover project for our theme, here in conversation with the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh — combine language, iconology, and the everyday sensibilities of the “iPhone generation.” From artists of the Pictures Generation, as Sherrie Levine, to the manifold messages in Barbara Kruger’s images; from the “affective proximity” in Arthur Jafa to the complexities of the human brain in Jordan Wolfson; from the Alice Channer’s repudiation of authorship to Olivia Erlanger’s embracing of the image as a free-floating signifier, each uses appropriation as a means of grappling with our relentlessly refractive present.
Also in this issue:
An essay on “the Copy as Origin and Renewal” by Jane Ursula Harris on the work of Renee Cox, Deborah Kass and Yasumasa Morimura; a conversations from the late 1980s between Jeff Koons, Haim Steinbach, Ashley Bickerton, and others; lastly, a special artwork conceived by Dinamo.