Appropriation is a common technique in contemporary culture. People appropriate when they make things their own and integrate them into their way of life, by buying or stealing commodities, acquiring knowledge, squatting and so on. Artists appropriate when they adopt imagery, concepts and ways of making art other artists have used at other times to adapt these artistic means to their own interests, or when they take objects, images or practices from popular (or foreign) cultures and restage them within the context of their work to either enrich or erode conventional definitions of what an artwork can be. As such, this technique could be described as comparatively timeless, or at least, as being practiced as long as modern society exists.
Verwoert, Jan. “Living with Ghosts: From Appropriation to Invocation in Contemporary Art,” Art & Research, vol. 1, no. 2 (2007), accessed September 26, 2016, http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v1n2/verwoert.html