The Art of Appropriation and Intellectual Property

May 2nd, 2019 6:30-7:30PM
SFMOMA, Public Knowledge Library, Floor 2
151 Third St. San Francisco, CA 94103


Many notable modern and contemporary artists use pre-existing objects or images from logos and advertising, to celebrity portraits for example in their work to challenge the ways we engage with art. Appropriation often raises questions of originality, authenticity and authorship. What are the bounds of appreciation versus appropriation? How do the principles of intellectual property protect against or encourage appropriation in art?  This talk discusses how appropriation manifests itself in visual art, shifting our understanding of creativity and the meaning of ownership.



Enrique Chagoya, is an artist and Full Professor for the department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70’s, and also in Europe in the late 90’s, Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America, and the world. A new monograph “Aliens”will be released in early 2019, published by Kelly’s Cove in Berkeley, California. His work can be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He has received several awards, including fellowships from the National Endowments of the Arts and the National Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, and residencies at Giverny and the Cite Internationale des Arts in France.

Sonia Katyal is a Distinguished Haas Professor and Co-Director for the Center for Law and Technology at University of California, Berkeley. Katyal’s award winning scholarly work focuses on the intersection of technology, intellectual property, and civil rights (including antidiscrimination, privacy, and freedom of speech). Katyal’s current projects focus on the intersection between internet access and civil/human rights, with a special emphasis on the right to information; artificial intelligence and discrimination; trademarks and advertising; museums and technology; cultural property; and a variety of projects on the intersection between gender and the commons. As a member of the university-wide Haas LGBT Cluster, Katyal works on matters regarding law, gender and sexuality. Katyal is also the first law professor to receive a grant from the Creative Capital Foundation, for her forthcoming book, Contrabrand, on art, advertisign and appropriation.

Sriba Kwadjovie (moderator), manages copyright and licensing for a variety of digital and print media platforms, exhibitions, and events organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She also moonlights as a freelance dancer and choreographer and has worked with Bay Area-based modern/contemporary companies, having performed with Robert Moses’ Kin, Company Chaddick, Leyya Tawil’s Dance ELIXIR, Kiandanda Dance Theater, and Epiphany Dance Theater.