Appropriation is the idea that ate the art world. Go to any Chelsea gallery or international biennial and you’ll find it. It’s there in paintings of photographs, photographs of advertising, sculpture with ready-made objects, videos using already-existing film. After its hothouse incubation in the seventies, appropriation breathed important new life into art. This life flowered spectacularly over the decades—even if it’s now close to aesthetic kudzu. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984” is less a critical survey of a highly influential aesthetic than a feel-good class reunion. Rather than opt for scholarship and tough choices, curator Douglas Eklund cultivated a gang’s-all-here coziness. It’s a huge show, with hundreds of objects, books, posters, films, and videos, and works by 30 artists. Had a museum outside New York originated a show this baggy, it’s doubtful that the Met would have had anything to do with it. (Though it’s fantastic that the fuddy-duddy Met is finally thinking about recent art. It needs to do so, more often and better.) But if you do pick your way through this hodgepodge, you’ll find a spirited introduction to a lively moment. In the seventies, a group of American artists seized the means not of production but of reproduction.

more from New York Magazine here.