I think the article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” brings up a lot of good points and ideas about reproducing art. There is a very fine line that is being walked here and he talks about how in ancient Greece they were always reproducing art for coins and making terra cottas, where it makes sense for the art to be mas produced. When I think about using other artist’s art in my pieces, I usually stop and think about how I can comment on their piece and make sure that I am not just taking their work and making it seem like it’s my own work. Furthermore, I feel as though many art pieces come from inspiration from previous works, you can feed off that inspiration without directly using the piece itself. You have to think long and hard about how you can make this piece, that is someone else’s, and make it new and exciting and artistically challenging enough to label it as your own original.
I think about Banksy who uses popular images in his work all the time, but he is altering the way we think about that image. Or even Duchamp who took everyday items, such as a urinal, and turned it upside down and called it a fountain. How can one take one predetermined item or creation and change it so slightly to call it their own art. It’s a type of reproduction that we have all come accustomed to and I feel like in this circumstance of recreating, it isn’t copywriting or stealing. The article talks about writing as being a popular form of reproduction, it’s so easy to take someone’s words and not give them credit for saying them. Just as it is even easier now to find an image online and alter it enough to make it your own. I am not sure if its right or wrong, but I know it should be debated. I feel like this article is important to read because it goes back and forth on these issues and helps you think critically about reproducing a piece or even enjoying a reproduced piece of art.
I think about this all a different way, there is more value in something that is rare. If your art got massed produced you wouldn’t be happy about it. No one would think it was that special to have all these prints and duplications of the same work. It has that rare uniqueness that is uncanny to a duplicated work. Politics come into play though when it comes to modern day works because of the comments that could be made by reproducing something. It is difficult for me to say there is a definite right or wrong answer, but I do think about this issue more and more as an artist. Just because its easy, doesn’t mean its always the best way to go.