Thursday, January 05, 2006

Too.Many.Thoughts ... Brain.MUST.Shut.Down... (Star Trek meets Walter Benjamin Open Thread)

Well, the excitatory synapses of my cerebral cortex are somewhat overloaded, so I'm gonna play off yesterday's post here somewhat. I had all this work to do yesterday, but got caught up in the great conversation here and (on the same topic) on the political blog I sometimes manage to write for, Obsidian Wings. I love to compare the different reactions to the same post between a mostly art-world-insider crowd and one that generally speaking is admittedly more knowledgeable about politics than art. The ObWi folks provided an equally fascinating discussion on the Carravaggio exhibition. In fact, Gary, a long time cyberfriend and rhetorical gladiator, asked what I thought was an engrossing question in the context of reproductions of important artwork:

What would you think of the value of "original" art over a copy, Edward, if, hypothetically, we had a Star Trek-like "replicator" that replicated on the molecular level?
We went rounds about that something extra that only an artist can inject into a work, but as Gary later points out in that thread, the advent of nanocopying may make concerns about this less science fiction and more science fact sooner that we may care to see it. There are already incredibly talented forgers making replicas of works that fool museums, but what if eventually they had tools that permitted them to make a copy that no degree of experimentation could detect? What value would we place on a "perfect" clone of a great work of art?

Consider this an open thread....

53 Comments:

Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear Edward,

Not to be flip, but doesn't the recent stem cell high school science project fraud reveal how easily detected these matters are with the slightest modicum of credible peer review?

I have a friend who works for the U.S. Secret Service. What I'm told is this: fake U.S. currency exists all over the world. However, once a suspected fake bill falls into the Forged Currency Unit of the U.S. Secret Service, they are ALL revealed to be the frauds that they are. No one has yet been able to construct a fraudulent U.S. bill that will fool a seasoned examiner.

Now, that's not to say that a "real" dollar bill has any real value! Not with an $8 trillion plus debt and record deficits and...

Oh, don't get me started!

James

1/05/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous George said...

Hmm, in the real world, achievable today, no fancy technology required. What if you duplicated one of Carl Andre's metal plate floor sculptures? Or one of Dan Flavin's fluorescent light pieces? Or?

Does "looks exactly like…" claim authorship? Does authorship matter?

Are we going to number the nanocopies? Require it?

Does anything 'special' happen to the materials in an artwork as they are manipulated by the artist into their final arrangement? In other words, do we still believe in the powers of a shaman to imbue an object with mystical properties?

1/05/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear George,

I think you make a good point with the following:

"What if you duplicated one of Carl Andre's metal plate floor sculptures? Or one of Dan Flavin's fluorescent light pieces? Or?

Does "looks exactly like…" claim authorship? Does authorship matter?"

However, I would argue that the design and construction of such works of art that lend themselves to such easily manufactured reproductions that those forged works of art could fool a so-called expert says more about the nature of the work and the training of the expert than its does about the ability of technology to create these works.

In other words, just like with the fake U.S. bill that will not fool a trained specialist, there are works of art that can not be reproduced and passed off as an original (with the artist's permission at least) that would fool a trained specialist.

A piece of George Ohr pottery, for example. I would submit that there's not a living potter on this planet that could successfully create, with the intent of fraudulent deception, a "Ohr" pot that would survive a 5 second examination by the 5 Ohr experts that I know. For one thing, a simple chemical analysis of the glazing (on a glazed pot) would give up the lie.

Some works of art are very easily forgeable. Some works of art that are worshipped in the church of the museum are no doubt forgeries that have yet to be declared as such.

I suppose what's interesting to me is this: Can a work of art (declared at auction to be by a certain artist) be forged so successfully that it would fool the artist in question? If so, what does that say about the work of art, the artist in question, and all the so-called experts?

James

1/05/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger adrian said...

So if you Nano-tech reproduce this awesome Rauschenberg and get the perfect copy authorship still matters? No wait thats okay, cause we can nanocopy the artist! Then we'll have somebody to put his all important hand in to the work.

Maybe it just comes back to the approriating and referencing problems art is always having. Where does the original end and the copy begin?

“…what does a DJ create that wasn’t there before? Ah, you’re a curator, I see! That changes everything. I’ll picture you riding a very small horse around an art gallery.”

-Momus (http://www.livejournal.com/users/imomus/138382.html)
from September

Appropriating sources is older than grandmaster flash and duchamp. I think the difference is that new medias have allowed more accurate sampling than pre-electronic authors who referenced others in text or oral tradition–which are chock-full of recontectualizing or stealing. Mixing what we (and others know) is usually more playful and less offending to the original material because it is known as a reference. But when daft punk took Edwin Birdsong’s ‘cola bottle baby’ to make ‘Harder Better Faster’ only the most cued up DJs knew its origins. Does it hurt the artist/viewer that the same idea behind prefuse 73 is the same concept behind Sprite Remix?

1/05/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

My point in bringing up Andre and Flavin were just as examples where the (-: nanotech duplicator :-) might as well actually exist. Do we know for a fact those are the original pieces made by the hand of the artist? What does it mean when the lightbulb burns out?

Regarding George Ohr's pottery, the premise behind the (-: nanotech duplicator :-) was that it would 'copy' the work on a molecular level and we would be unable to perceive the difference.

In fact, the existence of such a machine would be a conundrum itself, for it would have to destroy the original work in order to recreate it. Then what? Essentially we have just moved the 'original' artwork from one place to another using a very fanciful machine. assuming this became possible, the next major question would be could we make a second copy? To do this would require storing the information about the particle space somehow. How much storage space would this require? (ans. a heck of a lot)

Final question, why if it were actually possible to duplicate something complex on the molecular level, would anybody bother to duplicate an artwork, if you say could duplicate a kidney and save someone's life?

1/05/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

My sweet trekkies: isn't the product less important than the process? Authorship is a residual of the relationship of artist to work - it comes into being in the studio but rarely makes it out with a pulse.

You can copy an Andre, but you can't copy Andre's experience with an Andre, and that's where the 52B space molecular replicator will fail. That's where all future cloning products will fail. The "experiences" they will simulate will be entirely new ones; the products they will make will be wonderfully irrelevant.

Thou shalt not covet the art object, real or fake. You'll only be disappointed when it won't sleep with you or do your dishes.

Ciao
Edna

1/05/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Oh, and wasn't Gelitin's version just fabulous? An entirely space-age solution in my opinion.

E

1/05/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

why if it were actually possible to duplicate something complex on the molecular level, would anybody bother to duplicate an artwork, if you say could duplicate a kidney and save someone's life?

Look at the recent auction results for your answer.

But even that raises a question. Part of the point of paying $104 million for a Picasso is that you're the only one in the world who owns it. If anyone with a (-: nanotech duplicator :-) and the ability to borrow the Picasso can have one of their own, auction prices will plummet.

I kid, somewhat, but...

Edna hits on the primary difference...the experience and the importance we, the art appreciating public, place on it. There are copies of Duchamp's "Fountain," but we would consider the original one more valuable (it's gone now, no? or am I thinking of something else) were it available. Why? Because we imbue objects with value based on who touched them or where they had been. When the president signs a bill into law, the pen he uses becomes more valuable than the identical one in the stationery closet outside his office. An inn that George Washington slept in captures our imagination more than the similar inn down the road he passed by. Etc. etc.

An Andre-esque plate made by someone else is not the same as one he personally placed in the first gallery exhibition where he did so, no matter how few people could tell the difference if they saw them side by side.

Is that wrong?

1/05/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

I'll take the old Coke over the Classic Coke over the New Coke (remember that lame fraud copy?!) any day!

James

1/05/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Authorship obviously is hugely important. If not, why would the U.S. Army continue to horde reported paintings by Adolf Hitler seized after WWII in a "secret" basement which everybody knows is in Bethesda, Maryland?

Why would a family fight a court battle to obtain the return of supposedly original paintings by Hitler? -http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4054767.stm

What's a Adolf Hitler type painting worth if is not authored by Adolf Hitler? I think the answer to that is obvious - whatever the Salvation Army charges for a found painting in the junk painting bin by an unknown artist.

But slap Hitler's name on it and suddenly it becomes a matter of U.S. policy as to what that painting is worth and who gets to own it.

What's an exact copy of a Hitler painting worth? Who would you go to in the first place to get permission to copy it? And if you could get permission to place Hitler copies on the market, watch out - Hitler's heirs will be crawling out of the woodwork to claim their fair share of the auction loot!

James

1/05/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Ed, the reason I brought up Andre was because I think I don't think there ever can be a nanotech duplicator and reproducing an Andre is quite possible. So in this particular case, the experience of the artwork flows from the intent or process of the artist. It's monetary "value" may be determined by a different process.

An Andre-esque plate made by someone else is not the same as one he personally placed in the first gallery exhibition where he did so, no matter how few people could tell the difference if they saw them side by side.

This is an interesting question, I suspect that if you asked Andre he would have said it didn't make any difference whether or not he placed the plates personally, that the idea behind the act was more at issue (along with the physical materiality of the plates)

I also think the original Duchamp "fountain" exists in a way logically consistent with the body of Duchamps work. The 'original Fountain' exists as a photograph, and the "original objects" exist to reconstruct its memory, closing the loop.

I think it's a mistake to go overboard with object fetishism especially when the original work only used the object in a secondary capacity. (I think the problem here is primarily curatorial once the authorship of the work has been established)

I have a different attitude about paintings but then I'm a painter.

1/05/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

(I think the problem here is primarily curatorial once the authorship of the work has been established)

I think you're right. But I still want one of the plates or florescent light fixtures that Andre or Flavin actually touched...I'm silly that way, I guess.

1/05/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

ed,
Art Journal [Summer 1995, Vol 54, No2, p40] had an article discussing approaches to the curatorial issues with several artists, (Bochner, LeWitt, Hanson, Piper, Adams, K Smith, Coyne, Sandback)
Stuff wears out, gets frayed, leave it or replace it? Ans depends

1/05/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous jc said...

What would you think of the value of "original" art over a copy, Edward, if, hypothetically, we had a Star Trek-like "replicator" that replicated on the molecular level?

Did you post this to identify the true geeks here?

Okay, I'll bite. Getting back to the Star Trek idea, I know that when Scotty was on the new (next gen) starship, he was horrified by the synthetic alcohol (synthanol?), and thought it tasted nothing like the real thing. I imagine that replicator technology would always make a lesser copy in some way (kind of like mp3 are degredations of CDs are degredations of vinyl, though I know that's not a perfect analogy).

Of course, as others have mentioned, even if you could make a perfect copy, it would never be the original.

1/05/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Has anyone been in both the actual cave at Lascaux and the copy?

1/05/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Did you post this to identify the true geeks here?

No, I assume anyone who blogs is a true geek already.

;-)

I imagine that replicator technology would always make a lesser copy in some way

I tend to agree, but if people can thrill to a two dimensional photograph of a Caravaggio, imagine how they're respond to a three-dimensional replica.

I can't decide how relevant I think all this is, actually.

1/05/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear Edward,

"I can't decide how relevant I think all this is, actually."

When it gets to the point where the Sony Trinitron Sub-Celluar Human White Gene Mutater Replicator 3000 can perfectly freeze-frame copy Linda Fiorentino at the exact age and flawless beauty level she displayed in The Last Seduction so that her clone can star in the second film that picks up the story line on the day after she drove away in that limo, then the potential of this technology becomes of immense interest to me! ;)

James

1/05/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

She does look great in that film, James, but do I need to remind you how she treated her men?

1/05/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Justin Case said...

What about Coke Zero? I thought I might like it, but its just not the same without the 220 calories of sugar!

1/05/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Edward, based on your "touched by" criteria, can we please send Hirst, Koons, Close, Murikami and all the other lame asses who don't make their own work into another dimension so they can burn up into dust and distribute themselves into outerspace?

Just hoping.

E

1/05/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear Edward,

"...but do I need to remind you how she treated her men?"

Unfortunately, no. A couple of my ex-girlfriends (both from Mississippi by the way) would be happy to admit on your blog that they modeled their treatment of me on Linda's man-eating philosophy from that film! Uh...I think I'm going into more than I should here on open thread day. My mom might be reading this - she thought they were both nice girls. Southern mothers love to manipulate their sons into disasterous relationships...but that's another subject for another open thread discussion!

James

1/05/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What about Coke Zero?

I thought Coke Zero was made in a (-: nanotech duplicator :-).

Edward, based on your "touched by" criteria, can we please send Hirst, Koons, Close, Murikami and all the other lame asses who don't make their own work into another dimension so they can burn up into dust and distribute themselves into outerspace?

Only if we can also build a time machine and go back and prevent the advent of Conceptualism.

Chuck still makes his own work, no?

1/05/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Yes, Chuck apparently still makes his stuff. I don't like his work so I unfairly lumped him in. I guess I got carried away at the thought of launching all those blowhards into the outer hemisphere.

Are there any prominent female artists who don't make their own work? I know Louise Nevelson didn't toward the end, but it was because she was physically unable.

Perhaps girls can run the cloning equipment to keep men from making Linda Fiorentino clones ad infinitum. Golly, though - would she really be your top pick? I'd start with Rachel Welch and see if the machine could handle it.

Ciao
E

1/05/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous pc said...

I think Ed's "touched by" idea is crucial to why "originals" are and probably always will be valued over even the most identical of copies and explains why a place where George Washington slept is more interesting than one where he never set foot--even if there's no physical evidence (of sleep?) to prove it. What can't ever be faked is the observer's knowledge that the thing is original. It can be mistaken, but not faked. Of course, there's the case where the gazillion dollar painting reproduced in all its impasto so perfectly it fools the expert, but that's the less interesting case of forgery. If you're a post-Duchampian and a present-day Arthur Dantoian then you probably think it's the artist's claim to it (a perfectly non-physical and intangible thing, not subject to replication by the Space-Time Modulator) that makes art art. For some it might be the sentimental idea of the handmade, but for me it's the very real connection to the art that the artist makes when he or she claims authorship. But what if you could not only duplicate the Mona Lisa or the Andre, but clone the artist, who, being identical to the real artist, would be happy to hold a press conference and say to the world that the work was theirs and original.

1/05/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear PC,

"But what if you could not only duplicate the Mona Lisa or the Andre, but clone the artist, who, being identical to the real artist, would be happy to hold a press conference and say to the world that the work was theirs and original."

Houston, we have problem...

Cloning certain artists might be a very dangerous enterprise. Assuming it's not another South Korean science fiction stem cell fraud story, recent science reports (and surely they did the proper peer review this time) tell us that the white man is a genetic mutation. Of course the entire world is intimately familiar with the historic havoc caused by this mutation. I greatly fear placing the mutuated white genes of certain white male American dominate artists, primarily from the Ab-Ex and Minimalist schools, through the Sony Trinitron Sub-Celluar Human White Gene Mutater Replicator 3000. God knows what might come out the other end of that machine if another accidental mutation were to take place during the copying process!

James

1/05/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Barbaccia said...

All this begins to show the soft underbelly of the "art world". Art works as commodity. Value does not lay in the object. Value is transfered by the object through the artist from art.

1/05/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous juryduty said...

can we please send Hirst, Koons, Close, Murikami and all the other lame asses who don't make their own work

Oh Edna, come on. Since when does 'making your own work' really matter? Goodbye Warhol, LeWitt, Duchamp, Bernini and most of Renaissance Italy. What is 'making' anyway? Writers don't make books - publishers do. Composers don't make music - musicians do. Architects don't make buildings ... I could go on.

I don't mean to snap at you about this (just call this 'tough love'), but I hear this all the time and it seems, 'indie' ideals notwithstanding, like such a sentimental notion. Why does it matter?

1/05/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

BUt the point of being an artist is to make something that no one has copied yet but that everyone will want to soon enough. The machine isn't a problem for artists, just let me get my hands on one. A little tweaking and we'd have something new and interesting by tomorrow. how many do you want?

point; don't worry, artists will tell us how to use it. The issue of originality will move somewhere else. Carl Andre is proof of that.

1/05/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Ed n Edna,
another one is Mike Bidlo, Aide from all the conceptual and cynical shenanigans, he does make his 'own work', so his hand is 'in it', so to speak. I'm sure he can make an intellectual case for what he does, his technical skills are certainly there but in the end, when I see one of his works, I always feel had.

There is more to this than just duplication. When something is created, it is born of and embedded in it's time. In the case of Bidlo, the era allows for this form of conceptual cynicism but the works lose the authenticity of the originals. It is one thing to duplicate a Pollock today, we accept the work as art, but in the period around 1950, Pollocks drip paintings were a giant leap of faith about what a painting could be. Pollock had no assurances that his work was even art, just a belief. If Bidlo only 'recreated' the works of minor artists, would this undermine his work?
ugtdvyz

1/05/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Snap all you want, juryduty-baby. I totally agree. I was just using the "touched by" reasoning as an excuse to eliminate artists I don't like. Isn't that selfish and fun?

Frankly, I don't mind it so much when the work is good. I just like to create hair-brained theories based on the bad stuff.

But I must say - and I truly believe - making art cannot be compared to writing a book and having it published, or composing music and having someone else play it. Ain't the same, baby doll.

E

1/05/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edna -

What about Sherrie Levine?

1/05/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

She's not my bag, baby. Identity-crisis central. How long can you keep your head in that simulacra stuff before it eats up your insides and makes you stupid?

E

1/05/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Joseph, I'm not sure what you mean when you say:
All this begins to show the soft underbelly of the "art world". Art works as commodity.
Value does not lay in the object. Value is transfered by the object through the artist from art.


My take: If one makes objects, once it is out of the artists hands, its "value" is determined in the marketplace. It becomes a commodity and is traded like any other commodity with it's "value" determined by what someone is willing to pay. This may or may not have some relationship to the works "artistic value" When we look at auction results for contemporary artists, we need to realize that there is no guarantee that future generations (20 years from now, for example) will value the work just as highly in dollar terms. As such, it is questionable to equate "artistic merit" and auction prices. Over a more extended period of time. auction prices and the cultures sense of "artistic value" tend to coincide, but over the short term PT Barnum rules the day.

1/05/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger southern_comfort said...

I'm so glad I found this blog...LOL..Unfortunately, my artblog is in swedish, but I wrote something similar a couple of months ago...

Well, if I may join the conversation - couldn't we agree that we are just buying a reassurance when we buy art. I think that's the only time when art actually touches money and be it a copy or not, that is all written off in the marketing process. Otherwise no-one would have loved to pay millions for a portrait of an ageing Ingrid Bergman...no?

Ciao from Sweden... :-)

1/05/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Juryduty said:
Since when does 'making your own work' really matter? Goodbye Warhol, LeWitt, Duchamp, Bernini and most of Renaissance Italy. What is 'making' anyway? Writers don't make books - publishers do. Composers don't make music - musicians do. Architects don't make buildings ... I could go on.

This is a gross generalization. Writers expect their works to be published, the word is what carries the meaning, not the specific print. Music, can be seen both ways, but for the most part composers expect their works to be performed by someone else.

In the "art world" it's a mixed bag. If consider the Renaissance, it was true that artists often had a "factory" but it's organization was quite different than one would find today. Artists were guilded craftsmen who trained their assistants, often over a period of years. Today we have the MFA.

With contemporary artists, again it's a mixed bag. Warhol was the consummate commercial artist, a term not quite so pejorative then as it is now. Gagosian had a show recently of the very early 'hand made' works of Warhol which were quite extraordinary. Later, as he became more successful, his works were 'produced' by his team of workers, frankly most are not as good as the early works, even those made with assistants.

Koons, Longo, Hirst among others, work with a business model more like the fashion industry, where they manufacture a new "line" each season. In a sense the quality of the work depends on their managerial abilities (IMO, Koons is the best at this)

A "factory" is one way of working but it inherently leaves out a kind of personal interaction which can make an artwork compellingly personal. De Kooning had no factory.

1/05/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous juryduty said...

Edna - you could always just say you don't like them ... it's ok. : )

George - getting rid of the 'compellingly personal' is part of the point, right? Erasing DeKooning?

1/05/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous juryduty said...

... the word is what carries the meaning, not the specific print ...

Exactly my point.

1/05/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous juryduty said...

Wait, let me clarify - when the 'specific print' IS someone else's hand, it becomes part of the word/meaning.

1/05/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

juryduty: ...getting rid of the 'compellingly personal' is part of the point, right? Erasing DeKooning?

I doubt that any of the artists I mentioned are actually getting rid of the 'compellingly personal', more likely they are ust trying to produce a lot of work. I also doubt that the argument would apply historically.

I think it's ok if an artist removes the "compellingly personal" from their work as long as they replace it with something else that is compelling, and not just make a brand logo.

1/05/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

I think way too much value is put on the power of "artwork". Art affects change because we want it too. We (those of us who love art) need to believe it has power and therefore it does. Just like we when a "Rembrants" is discovered. We want it to be the real Mckoy. But should it be discovered to have been painted in his studio, (but not by him), interest drops like Enzo Cucchi in the nineties. Has the painting changed? Not at all, only our belief that it possess' something more than guck smeared on a surface. Take the Carravagio issue. If it was a Struth or a Jeff Wall, people would love and cherish it as important "artwork". Instead, the show is belittled as kitch, or worse: as the devils work in disguise.

1/05/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous juryduty said...

George, you're right - historical and contemporary are two different issues. The historical model allows the artist to 'produce a lot of work', where the artist assumes the role of director, and 'the word is what carries the meaning'. The contemporary model allows the artist to 'produce a lot of work', where the artist assumes the role of director, and the 'specific print' and 'brand logo' are also part of the meaning. Damned self-consciousness.

Evan said Just like we when a "Rembrandt" is discovered. We want it to be the real McKoy. Brand logo. Is the Prada bag you buy from the street vendor "worth" the same as the one you by from Prada?

Are we smart enough to notice this relationship but Koons/Hirst are not? Is it not part of their point? They're not dummies, right?

1/05/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous George said...

If it was a Struth or a Jeff Wall

I suspect this equivalence is part of Ed's original perception of the problem. I think we all assume we know, more or less, what the intention of the Loyola University Museum of Art might be. As a study exhibition it could have great value, but to try and sell it as anything else, would be a mistake in my opinion. Seeing lightboxed reproductions of a fameous artwork is not the same as seeing a Struth, or a Jeff Wall or even a Levine. The intentions are very different, a painting contains an image but it is not a photograph, to suggest otherwise is an error.

1/05/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

Hmmm, so, a replicator that could make an exact copy of works of art exists and we're wondering what the difference would be between the original and the copy.

I really think it boils down to why you desire to have the work in the first place. For some, the purchase of an original work is made because of exactly what Edward describes, that a poster of said work could not begin to compare to the original and, well, there are no replicators out there. They would be perfectly happy with an exact replica, especially if it cost less than thte "original".

Others may enjoy the work but their true desire is to be the owner of the work, to lord their ability to pay for "real" art and their skill in choosing such a great piece (or simply listening closely to their own Edward) over others. These people will not only pay for the original, but the artist might even see a rise in the price of an original should s/he be lucky enough to have the owner of a replicator choose to replicate her/his artwork rather than that of another.

Some don't care, as owning actual painted things, is just a way to differentiate themselves from the poster/kincaid* hanging masses. Whether the works are good or not really depends more on their income than their taste, evidence to the contrary shown by MTV's Cribs aside.

Me, I think that I wouldn't care. I honestly would relish the opportunity to own some great works of art provided that they match the originals, especially if the price would drop to a point where my eyes could better see them after spending less time in front of a monitor to pay for them.

1/05/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

*I don't care if I spelled his name wrong, in fact if I spelled it correctly that bit of knowledge is taking up room that could be better used to memorize the schedule of Cribs airings...

1/05/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I honestly would relish the opportunity to own some great works of art provided that they match the originals, especially if the price would drop to a point where my eyes could better see them after spending less time in front of a monitor to pay for them.

sigh...

It's so difficult being on both sides of the cost issue. On one hand, you have the collectors (including myself) who truly love art, and usually the most sincere ones are the ones not living off a trust fund. On the other hand, you have the artists living hand to mouth, with enormous student loans to pay back, and studio rents larger than the annual total budgets for many small countries.

Then, there in the middle, you have the dealer, who from the outside seems to be profiting from both sides, but who in actuality (at least in the beginning) is on the brink of total financial ruin probably at least 30% of every calendar year.

I don't have any easy answers here. An entire lifetime can go into a single work of art, not to mention an artist's heart and soul. None of which even guarantees it will be valued by the art viewing public.

Value and cost are sometimes surreal issues in this business.

One of my early mentors said she thought it should hurt a little bit to buy a work of art. It shouldn't be an impluse buy or something the person taking it home didn't know to treasure. I'm not sure I totally agree, but I do see where her POV aids in ensuring collectors take pains to protect the work and carefully consider who they leave it to in their will.

All of which is to say we project value onto artwork. Very little of it has any realworld value. Should all the humans on the planet suddenly die, none of it would mean anything to the cockroaches or dogs or birds remaining...not like our leftover food or water supplies or shelters would.

1/05/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

We do have artwork that exist only as perfect copies, movies, music, tv. We somehow manage to keep track of who owns it and what exactly that means. It doesn't spoil the experience but it isn't live art either. Everyone acknowledges that theater is something different from movies but we value both and recognize that film/cimema/movies has evolved its own set of standards and expectations.

With the nano-factory we might see the ascendency of the collector to be equal in importance to the artist in the production of work, being involved from conception to production to post-production and distribution, like the producer in movies now, whose job is to make the project a possibility by raising or providing the money. The job grows to encompass whatever is needed

1/05/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Edna said...

Light-box Caravaggios as Post-Apocolyptic "Cribs" decor would have been a better premise for the Loyola show. So the kids could relate, Yo.

Gio should have thought this through before he croaked off - put specifics in his will with regard to future technological advances.

Edna

1/05/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous onesock markie said...

There already is a cloning device in the art world,
its called an MFA program!HA HA! Dont mind me-just feeling a bit "wheres-my degree-taking-me down in the dumps today.
oh and i wanted to point out that the ORIGINAL original "Fountain" was at the hardware store.

1/05/2006 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

put it this way E, there's a Van Gogh, which a recent moto accident* prevents me from bothering to Google the name of, that depicts sunlight pouring through the clouds o a field. It resembles God pouring gold frm heaven, and its beautiful. But beyond that, Isaw that very scene in the pouring rain on my moto on a leg of my trip frm Reims to Amsterdam. I have earned my connection with that work far beyond what simply earning enough money to buy it would cost me. That's the piece I'd buy. I wouldn't be filling my home with masterworks cause i like my collection and want to support my guys & gals, but that one I'd like to have.

* broken rt collar bone, so typing onr-handed and lefty for awhile.

1/06/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

ouch, C...sorry to hear about the accident.

I agree that personal experience often attributes to our affection/affiliation with certain works...and that's a part of the "value" equation we haven't even touched on here yet.

It reminds me of what my mentor used to tell people who would say they really loved a piece they were looking at "Well, then you're the one who should have it."

Of course, she wasn't giving it to them, but I think she was sincere.

1/06/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Speaking of Duchamp's "Fountain" ...the "original" appears to be in Paris...and in peril. Some nutjob just attacked it at the Pompidou:

A 76-year-old performance artist was arrested after attacking Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” — a porcelain urinal — with a hammer, police said.

Duchamp’s 1917 piece — an ordinary white, porcelain urinal that’s been called one of the most influential works of modern art — was slightly chipped in the attack at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the museum said Thursday. It was removed from the exhibit for repair.

The suspect, a Provence resident whose identity was not released, already vandalized the work in 1993 — urinating into the piece when it was on display in Nimes, in southern France, police said.


I mean, I know it might not be your cup of tea, dude, but really....let it go.

1/06/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger patsplat said...

Thus far, every process of reproduction leaves traces of its presence. Furthermore, every advancement in the arts of reproduction leads to an advancement in the connoisseurship of reproduction.

I don't think the Nano-replicator-ruining-art scenario is realistic, b/c there will also be nano-replicator-dectecters to ferret out the real from the nano-replicated.

And some people will love the replicated, and some will love the originals. It's the osmosis between the competing loves which will keep everything spinning. Mechanical replication is what creates the drama in a moment of authorship.

1/06/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim Connor said...

If a nano-replicator made a Carvaggio painting infinitely replicable on an exact molecular scale something would be lost surely -- uniqueness, one-ness -- but that's a socially conditioned loss in the viewer. By your definition, nothing would be lost in the painting. Therefore nothing should presumably be lost in the viewer's experience ... UNLESS he or she knew it wasn't the original. So in this case the loss would depend on a learned, aesthetic snobbism defined by a caption card next to the painting or the word of a curator or a bunch of documents. Does that strike anyone else as ridiculous & a little bit sad?

I'm surprised no one has mentioned photography in this thread, except in passing. I thought photography had long since qualified as art. Yet it's infinitely replicable (as is film). With a digital print, e.g., once a photographer has made all the moves he wants to in photoshop, decided on size, paper, printer & so on, anybody can press the button, as many times as they like. Is the 15th replica less original than the 1st? Is the negative or digital file really the original? Maybe it's the skill of the photographer that's the original, not to mention the unrepeatable reaction/place/moment the photograph commemorates. I think it's the same with the Carvaggio. The painting is a sensual (& mysterious) record of his vision & skill in a particular historical moment. Of course it's not the same if you translate it to another medium (photographic light box). But if it's the same record,every shading, every stroke the same, it's the same record. It doesn't matter how many there are.

1/09/2006 03:11:00 PM  

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