Why Reproductions Are Good for Art

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about why art can’t be photographed.
In this entry, I will ignore the issue of copyright, and taking pictures of art directly. Instead, I will talk about the reproduction of art in general. I will explain why I do not think that the reproduction of artworks is a bad thing. In fact, I will be arguing why I think that reproducing art is actually a very good thing.

Before I go forward with this argument, I would like to go back. Way back.
In the 1935 essay “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Walter Benjamin wrote about the mechanical reproduction of art, and the damaging effect this had on tradition and value. Reproduction was seen as a threat to the authenticity of a piece of art. He made use of the word “aura” to describe this value.
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