levine in Weinmayr 2019

l construction of authorship. […] The author had become irrelevant
because the original gesture had become unimportant; the copy adequately stood
in its place and performed its legitimising

Artist Sherrie Levine, one of the leading figures in American appropriation
art, expresses the core theoretical commitment of this group of artists in her
1982 manifesto: ‘The world is filled to suffocating. Man has placed his token
on every stone. Every word, every ima

But does it
really present a critique of authorship per se? I shall propose three
arguments from different viewpoints — aesthetic, economic and legal — to
explore the assumptions of this assertion.

From the aesthetic perspective, Prince and Levine are making formal choices in
the process of appropriating already existing work. They re-photograph,
produce photographic prints, make colour choices; they enlarge or scale down,
trim the edges and take decisions about framing. Nate Harrison makes this
point when he argues that ‘Levine and Prince take individual control of the
mass-authored image, and in so doing, reaffirm the ground upon which the
romantic author stands.’[26](ch11.xhtml#footnote-500) It is exactly this
control of, and authority over, the signed and exhibited image that leads
Prince and Levine to be validated as ‘author[s] par
excellence’.[27](ch11.xhtml#footnote-499) Prince, for example, has been lauded
as an artist who ‘makes it new, by making it
again’.[28](ch11.xhtml#footnote-498) This ‘making it again’, a process that


[21](ch11.xhtml#footnote-505-backlink) In 1977 Douglas Crimp curated the
exhibition ‘Pictures’ at Artists’ Space in New York with artists Troy
Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo and Philip Smith.
Artist Cornelia Sollfrank interprets ‘the non-specific title of the show’ as a
first indication of the aesthetic strategies presented in the exhibition. The
presentation of reproduced visual materials marked, accor

ucation.net, 29 June 2012,

[25](ch11.xhtml#footnote-501-backlink) Sherrie Levine, ‘Statement//1982’, in
David Evans (ed.), Appropriation, Documents of Contemporary Art (London:
Whitechapel Gallery, 2009), p. 81.

[26](ch11.xhtml#footnote-500-backlink) Nate Harrison, ‘The Pictures
Generation, the Copyright Act of 1976, and


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