Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The technology that creates the replicas of these painting is pretty amazing! I read a book over the summer that had a character who would steal paintings from museums to sell on the black market and replace them with counterfeit paintings. To be so precise as to create an undetectable replica of a painting takes a lot of skill and I admire that about him. There seems to be a similar kind of mischevious attitude behind the replicas that are being created now. Although they aren't breaking the law, there is a sense of questioning and breaking down of the established rules of how art should be displayed and experienced. There is also a feeling of democracy in that the works are being brought to places where more people can see them and experience them. If you think about how often people see works reproduced in books or on posters, the clones are a much better alternative.
One of the most annoying things about seeing works of art is being crammed in a museum and crowding around a work. If the pieces can be replicated in their original settings, such as the Veronese that's great. I would much rather experience the piece in that sort of setting than in a museum. I do think something would be different about the clone of a master work, but I would not necessarily say it is something that is lost. When viewing the piece it would be interesting to think about how the clone is different. That adds a new level to the art viewing experience and it should be embraced for what it is. Also, I think that works like the Last Supper can be appreciated for the composition and the colors and the gestures of the figures. To me, not seeing the brush strokes wouldn't be much of a loss. However, if i were to stand in front of a DeKooning replica I don't think it would be the same experience. In a piece that is so much about the artist's gesture, and movement, and the depth and texture created by the brush, a clone probably could not provide the same experience.
Greenaway's piece is incredible. I can never quite wrap my head around how things like that are accomplished. I'm very low-tech as an artist and in my thinking, so I was blown away. It's great that he took a masterpiece like the Last Supper and re-interpreted it. I would absolutly love to have an opportunity to be present for something like that.

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