Replicas for the Rest of Us

By Sondra Bacharach and David Eng.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There is an inherent contradiction in the way that museums have evolved: on the one hand, art is a highly valued private property to which access is limited. On the other hand, museums are institutions whose goal is make art available to the public. The problem is that so long as art remains an expensive commodity, museums will be unable fulfill their mission. We argue that this inconsistency is merely apparent. We believe it is possible to make art available to the public – the entire public, because high quality reproductions can provide an aesthetic experience comparable to the original. To defend our thesis, we advance two claims: first, it is possible to construct a replica that can provide a comparable aesthetic experience as the original for ordinary viewers in a museum setting. Second, although replicas will always lack certain features that arguably are important to appreciating an original, replicas enable museums to perform their pedagogical function, in spite of these differences.

Keywords: Museum, Perceptual Equivalence, Replicas

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.365-372. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.164MB).

Sondra Bacharach

Philosophy Lecturer, Philosophy Programme, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I am a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Victoria University of Wellington. My area of research is in philosophy of art and aesthetics.

David Eng

Philosophy Lecturer, Philosophy Programme, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

I am a lecturer in the Philosophy Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. My main research areas are in epistemology and philosophy of art.

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