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Lesson Plans

Art reproductions vs. the real thing

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 28 Jul 1996 12:42:25 +0000

Hi all! Recent postings about original art versus art reproductions
has jogged the dusty corners of my mind. In 1992, at the Northeast
California Arts Project Institute, we grappled with some 'aesthetic
puzzles' from a wonderful book titled " Puzzles About Art: An
Aesthetics Casebook," by Margaret P. Battin, John Fisher, Ronald
Moore, and Anita Silvers, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1989. The
following is an excerpt from that book.


As a result of advanced experimentation in molecular physics, a small
manufacturing company announces that it has perfected a process by
which any work of visual art can be replicated on a
molecule-for-molecule basis. In painting, this process makes
possible replication of an entire work, including canvas, frame and
all lower as well as exposed layers of pigment. No human guess work
(or error) is involved, and the finished replica is indistinguishable
from the original to the most sophisticated visual, physical, and
chemical analyses.

1. The company applies for a permit to produce one replica each of
the Mona Lisa and ten other very well-known works at the Louvre as
insurance, it says, against "natural disaster." The replicas are to
be stored in a permanent underground vault and are not to be removed
unless the originals are destroyed by calamities such as earthquake,
vandalism or nuclear war.

2. The company applies for a permit to produce 100 replicas of each
of the above works to establish satellite museums in major cities and
regional capitals throughout the world.

3. The company applies for a permit to produce unlimited replicas of
the works, and announces that it plans to market the replicas in
sundry and department store outlets for $14.95 each.

Would you grant any or all of the above permits? If you would grant
one or two, why not all?

Definite food for thought. I'm thinking of trying this one out on my
7th grade art classes. What do you think?

-Alix Peshette
Emerson Junior High School
Davis, CA