Throughout history reflections of art have been produced, creating a unique expression of time and place. Art was created as a social expression, creating an artistic flow an authenticity of both the artist and the social situations involved in the creation. The aesthetic value of what is considered art is not valued as perfection, rather a social value that is added to the product. This social value is not applied materially, rather with authenticity of the presence and time it represents.
Early forms of art started with engravings in wood or stone, such as expressional carvings created by early Etruscans in catacombs or tombs. These engravings created an expression of the culture, the way of life, and the feelings associated with the culture. These creations are unique in their dating and authenticity as a product of time. These engravings could not be replicated and each engraving is one of a kind which creates a sense of authenticity.
Other examples are paintings that were created in cathedrals, which were only available to people only if they had the opportunity to enter the buildings where they were created. Early paintings represented the beliefs and attitudes as well as the artist’s expression which was one of a kind. Reproductions could not be created which added a sense value that could not be replicated anywhere else. Paintings and portraits only existed in the hands of the wealthy or on the walls of churches and it was thought to be a social status to obtain such items.
Today, the world of art has been taken over by reproducible objects and images with inventions such as photography. Photos and self portraits can be owned by nearly anyone of any social class due to the easy reproduction of photos and images. A painting can be copied, capturing every detail to perfection, so that it is no different from the original. The distribution of these images makes these images common, lowering the aesthetic value of the image and creating a unique cultural distribution of art.
Art is created and seen by nearly everyone, no matter what class they are part of. For example, the Mona Lisa painting has been redistributed nearly everywhere with duplications, internet images, and even t-shirt print screens. It is not just the wealthy that are privileged enough to witness the work.
The artist Michael Godard is a well known artist with his creation of life-like olive paintings. His paintings have been distributed and marketed all over the place with painting replications, web images, posters, and many other sources. Due to replication advances, anyone has the ability to witness these images, making the value decrease. Although each particular image is sold cheaply, the distribution and mass production creates new techniques for marketing of these objects.
Although these images can be seen nearly everywhere, there is still added value to authenticity that is exploited. While looking through the paintings at the mall, they had an entire store full of replicas of famous paintings. You could not tell the difference, other than the fact that each one would be worth allot more than it was priced if it was an original.
I asked the store owner if she had any originals, just out of curiosity and she showed me a painting by Michael Godard that he had painted in the store when he had made a guest appearance. The painting looked like a child’s finger painting with no talent to it. It was an olive with some splashed colours, but it was priced ten times higher than any other painting in the store. I studied it, trying to imagine who would actually buy it. Although it was the worst piece of art in the entire store, it was considered authentic because it was one of a kind.