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lauren armstrong — Walter Benjamin Response

October 22, 2009

I really enjoyed reading this excerpt from Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. This is the first time I’ve ever read anything about the idea of the unique existence of art or the effects of reproduced art. I had never before considered the implications of a piece of art work’s “fitness for exhibitions.” It seems to that as art became more easily reproducible or transportable, its value shifted to become based solely upon whether or not masses of people could view the piece. This brings to me the question: “Who decides what value to give a piece of art?” I know that we have discussed the question of “what” art is, but I now wonder who decides the value of an art piece. I think that the value of a piece of art can only be decided by the person viewing the piece. However, and I find this unfortunate, our society is able to place a value on certain pieces or types of art through pop culture or attaching a numerical value. These ideas almost make me sad. I like to think of art as a personal form of expression and creativity; however, once an artist puts their work out there for the world to see, they have very little control over how everyone else will judge it or place value on it. I guess that is just the nature of sharing your work with the public.

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