Sunday, February 8, 2009

The New Real

I agree with Greenway’s notion that we have forgotten how to look at and really see a painting, or any other work of art. An aesthetic experience can only happen when one can really see, and is completely aware of, a work of art. It is interesting to consider that part of the reason for this forgetfulness could be how artwork is exhibited. Tallman got me thinking about the importance of an authentic experience when viewing art versus the importance of viewing an authentic work of art. Which is more important? She notes how a surprising number of people report being disappointed after viewing the Mona Lisa, and wonders if this has more to do with the experience of viewing it than desensitization to it. People seemed, from Tallman’s description, to have a more authentic experience viewing the facsimile of The Wedding at Cana at San Giorgio Maggiore. What sort of implications does this have for how museums display and exhibit artwork? I wonder what would happen if other famous artworks were cloned an exhibited as they were originally intended. Would people have more authentic experiences viewing the artwork? Or are these experiences just different kinds of aesthetic responses, and one is no better than the other? Thinking back to my own experiences, I think that my responses to art set in its intended environment have been stronger and more memorable than to those artworks in museums and galleries. That is not to say that artworks in museums have not elicited responses. When the lighting, atmosphere, and setting is as intended for a specific work of art, I think it is almost impossible not to be fully aware and really see the artwork. I am leaning towards the experience of viewing the artwork being more important than the authenticity of the artwork. An original artwork is important and has it’s own aesthetic value, but I think viewers should also have an authentic experience viewing an artwork, and that an authentic experience is possible without an authentic artwork.

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