Differences Of Cultural Appropriation And Appropriation

  • Words 1337
  • Pages 3
Download PDF

This paper is going to talk about the differences of cultural appropriation and appropriation, and this paper is going to use two specific examples to convey what is cultural appropriation and appropriation. Also this paper is going to make argument about whether cultural appropriation is good or bad.

Cultural appropriation refers to the adoption or theft of symbols, rituals, aesthetic standards and behaviors from a culture or sub-culture. Art appropriation is the use of existing objects or images, with little or no modification. The concepts inherent in our understanding of misappropriation are: The new work re-contextualizes anything it borrows to create a new work. The differences are cultural appropriation is an innovative art. It is only the symbols and symbols of some cultures or sub-cultures that are appropriated to create new art. Drawing lessons from other artists and cultural artistic forms has played a decisive role in the creation of modernism. And in most appropriation cases, the original ‘thing’ can still be accessed as the original thing without change. ‘Misappropriation’ is defined as ‘taking over a work of art, an object or even an existing work of art.’ If we look back at the history of art, cultural appropriation has lasted for centuries, and many of the world’s most famous art movements and objects are the products of it. Greek sculpture, especially its independent life-size nude, known as ‘Kuros’, clearly shows the influence of Egyptian art. The Romans absorbed a lot of Greek culture, and so on(Ruth, M.,2018, November 4).

Click to get a unique essay

Our writers can write you a new plagiarism-free essay on any topic

Mik Bidlo (1953 -) is an American artist, is a representative of the East Village Art in New York. Mik Bidlo uses extreme embezzlement techniques to question the concept of ‘originality’ in different ways(Mann, J.,2017, May 9). By changing the material or means of production of the original crop, then other people’s famous works are transformed into his own ‘creation’, which leads to the disorder of the overall order of art history(Mann, J.,2017, May 9). From 1993 to 1997, he created 5,000 different sketches of Spring, the only theme image is Duchamp’s fountain(Mann, J.,2017, May 9). Mik Bidlo’s design contains some changes such as the different materials and meaning, it could be said it is cultural appropriation as the fountain is a cultural item. But it is less than cultural appropriation. If Mik Bidlo uses the fountain as the cultural symbol or sign in his design, and adding innovative creations, then it is cultural appropriation. It can be said is an appropriation art.

In other words, Mik Bidlo does not really create cultural appropriation but is appropriation. This appropriation stifles creativity and attacks imagination. The importance of imagination is that we can imagine other people, other worlds, other experiences beyond where we are, beyond our own narrow viewpoints. Without such ability, artistic creativity will atrophy.

For the critics of appropriation, it is obvious that it is not in the field of visual appreciation, but in the order of museums, galleries, art auctions and art history. In other words, only this meaning is by establishing a hierarchical order of Commerce and culture that audiences can attach great importance to the differences between original and imitation, between original and non-original, between genuine and counterfeit products(Mann, J.,2017, May 9). It is on this point that Western art appropriation profoundly mocks art history and art market rules.

Here are an another example. Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass”. We all know that this work is the pioneer of Impressionist painting, it caused controversy at that time, and its important position in the history of art(Hervé, L.,n.d.). Art materials and literature often talk about the pattern and character dynamics of “Luncheon on the Grass”: the interlaced triangle of three characters in the foreground, the sexual implications of two men and naked women…. (Hervé, L.,n.d.)But one important thing is often overlooked by people: The movements and positions of these characters were not originated by Edward Manet, but from the printmaking ‘Judgement of Paris’, designed by Renaissance master Raphael in 1515. Manet placed the mythical scenes in Lemont prints in the 19th century French Browne Forest, thus giving it its own spirit of the times(Hervé, L.,n.d.). Audiences who have not seen the print ‘Judgement of Paris’ can still regard ‘Luncheon on the Grass’ as an independent work of art, because its techniques and contents are complete. The viewer who knows “Judgement of Paris” can see an interesting difference, comparing the mythological plot and Manet’s picture content to infer the artist’s implicit creative intention in “Luncheon on the Grass”. Appropriation does not mean complete copying, but a process of reprocessing, redrawing or remaking. It is the application of existing images to achieve itself.

In my opinion, everyone inside and outside the art circle is against counterfeit or pirated art. It is generally believed that art should be innovative. There are several categories of appropriation: disgusting cheap imitations, painstaking reproductions and appropriation with innovative creation. Because the third category, I have neutral attitude towards appropriation. And cultural appropriation such as Amanda Pl is a Toronto painter, who used aboriginal symbols and sign to design innovative art. The cultural appropriation arts contain much creative potential, which is why I have a more neutral attitude towards cultural appropriation.

Amanda PL is a Toronto-based painter and she is going to open her first arts exhibition what is going to display her arts which are about using indigenous symbols and signs to design innovation arts(Nazaryan, A.,2017, May 5). Canadian Aboriginal activists forced Toronto to cancel the art exhibition which is inspired directly by Aboriginal art(Nazaryan, A.,2017, May 5). Amanda PL said that no one ever tried to deceive the illusion. ‘They know… I am not an aboriginal. They didn’t find any problems at that time, ‘she said. This anger is strong(Nazaryan, A.,2017, May 5). ‘What she’s doing is essentially cultural extinction because it makes things worse when she retells their story,’ an artist at Chipiva Heritage told CBC News. ‘Others will see her work, and they will lose the connection between the real story and the work(Nazaryan, A.,2017, May 5).” The debate about ‘appropriation’ refers to whether any group can ‘own’ a set of metaphors, ideas or images. Critics of the concept of cultural appropriation argue that art cannot be bound by cultural sensitivity and ownership claims. For this group, borrowing is a form of respect and recognition.

If cultural appropriation forms modernist art to some extent, is it always a bad thing? I suggest we start with this question: What is cultural appropriation? The term is used to describe a cultural group taking over creative or artistic forms, themes or practices from another cultural group. It is usually used to describe the West’s possession of non-Western or non-white forms, with the meaning of exploitation and domination. This concept has entered the literary and visual art criticism analogy of cultural relics by the Western Museum-concise Oxford English literary companions(Ruth, M.,2018, November 4). From this definition, we can clearly see that this is the connotation of the cultural power of ethnic minorities, which makes it such a negative label that we should not take it lightly. It infers exploitation and racism. In Amanda PL’s case, what she does is basically making aboriginal cultural extinction, because when she retells their stories, people can not really understand the aboriginal stories and can not find out the real connection between the arts and real meaning or real stories. Even though because the arts are full of creative potential, and that’s why I have neutral attitude towards cultural appropriation, but we can’t take cultural appropriation lightly, because it is a serious problem in arts.


  1. Hervé, L. (n.d.). Luncheon On The Grass – Musée D’Orsay. Retrieved March 29, 2019, from https://m.musee-orsay.fr/en/works/commentaire_id/luncheon-on-the-grass-7123.html
  2. Mann, J. (2017, May 9). How Duchamp’s Urinal Changed Art Forever. Artsy.
  3. Nazaryan, A. (2017, May 5). A White Painter Was To Exhibit Her Indigenous-inspired Works, But Cultural Appropriation Charges Shut Down The Show. Newsweek. Retrieved March 29, 2019, from https://www.newsweek.com/cultural-appropriation-outcry-succeeds-cancelling-gallery-show-white-painter-594924?amp=1
  4. Ruth, M. (2018, November 4). Art History | Cultural Appropriation & The Art Of The Steal | Ruth Millington. Ruth Millington. Retrieved March 29, 2019, from http://www.ruthmillington.co.uk/the-art-of-the-steal-cultural-appropriation-art-history/


We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.