April 22, 2016
Natilee Harren: Knight’s Heritage: Karl Haendel and the Legacy of Appropriation, Episode Two, 2012
Natilee Harren: “Knight’s Heritage: Karl Haendel and the Legacy of Appropriation, Episode Two, 2012”, Art Journal Open, 22 April 2016.
Episode Two, 2012
Since the rise of appropriation in American art of the 1980s, the strategy has become so commonplace as to evade continued examination as a unique vein of artistic practice. At the same time, recurrent intellectual property battles around appropriative gestures in contemporary art have threatened its viability, giving rise to College Art Association’s important report published in February 2015, the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. This three-part essay on the work of Karl Haendel, an LA-based artist best known for his arrangements of meticulously rendered drawings of found photographic imagery, connects three moments in his early career related to issues of artistic and cultural heritage and power. The first two episodes directly involve knights. Taking Haendel’s work as a point of departure and considering the digital turn, the essay as a whole examines how the operations, effects, and reception of appropriation have changed in recent decades and discovers what may be the strategy’s longest-lasting politics of signification. “Episode One” considered Haendel’s early project of reconstructing works by the minimalist sculptor Anne Truitt, including Knight’s Heritage (1963). This second text examines Haendel’s confrontation with another artist of an older generation, the early postmodernist Robert Longo.
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