August Artist’s Salon: Cultural Appropriation

August 15th, 2019

The Artist’s Salon is a group open to all artists and art enthusiasts where we discuss one or various themes, artists, or topics in contemporary art. It takes place every third thursday of the month at Axis Gallery between 5:30 and 7pm. It is facilitated by Verge Center for the Arts Education Manager, who acts as a moderator. Verge provides refreshments but everyone is welcomed to bring snacks.

Our topics are chosen democratically during the end of the session, attendees can bring their own materials and ideas in relationship to the topic or read our shared reference materials prior to discussion. In the month of August we are discussing the topic of Cultural Appropriation in the context of contemporary art.

Cultural appropriation is defined by Susan Scafidi, author of Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law as “Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc. It’s most likely to be harmful when the source community is a ​minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other ways or when the object of appropriation is particularly sensitive, e.g. sacred objects.”

There have been numerous recent discussions about this topic within the ethics and practices of contemporary artists and art institutions, we will explore some of those during the salon.

Reference Materials:

Black Bodies, White Cubes: The Problem With Contemporary Art’s Appropriation of Race
by Taylor Renee Aldridge, Art News July 11th, 2016 


Verge’s mission is to extend the dialogue about contemporary art to the central valley. In order to create a safe and encouraging environment for discussion we ask that all attendees comply with Verge’s non-discrimination policy which prohibits unlawful discrimination and harassment based on race, color, gender, gender identity/expression, age, physical or mental disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other consideration made unlawful by the state or local laws. The discussion and opinion of attendees does not in any way reflect the opinion of Verge as an institution.

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Photo Credit: Golden Heads Female by Damien Hirst