I used to hate artists who refer to art historical images, whether through appropriation or more subtle reference. It struck me as elitist and dull. Why don’t they make their own images? And aren’t they attracting a really limited audience? But now I myself have started a new series with the aforementioned dreaded art historical references, and I am fascinated with other artists who do it.
Yasumasa Morimura is a Japanese artist who recreates scenes from famous paintings and inserts himself in the “protagonist” position. His end products are photos in which he pretty faithfully reproduced the painting, but with himself in it, often as a woman.
I think they are hilarious and fascinating. Some dismiss him as frivolous and superficial. But underneath the façade, or some would call it a gimmick, is an interesting commentary on race, gender, and history. About five years ago, Moimura’s art would have irritated me. Now I am mesmerized. So I have two questions here:
1. What do you think about art about art?
2. Have you ever had a turn around experience with art in which something you hate becomes something you love? Did it have anything to do with trying that hated thing in your own work?