Stephen Willats

The Appropriation of the Art Object, 1974

The lack of concern by artists over social function has enabled society to misuse, or to develop its own usages for works of art. In practice, an artwork by being taken out of context, through the absence of any constraining specifications made by the artist, can be given any function by society, and can theoretically at least, be integrated into other criteria. For instance, in the case of an artwork made with religious content being collected as investment, resulting in a clear change of the criteria for assessing its performance from the artist’s high spiritual intentions, to its monetary performance, ie. its percentage increase in market value over x years.


Printed in Society Through Art, Stephen Willats, Haags Centrum voor Aktuele Kunst, Den Haag, 1990