Art Forgeries Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 1 June 2017

Art Forgeries

When one enters into an art museum, one would expect all of the pieces of art to be that of the original. However, when an art lover does not know the difference between an original from a forgery, then they may have been fooled by both the museum and by the forger. No one can really look at a painting and distinctly know whether it is a forged piece of work or an original piece of work. Art forgeries may seem like an artist copying a well-known artists work, but it depends on how one looks at a particular piece of art.

There are multiple reasons as to why art forgeries can be seen as something positive in the artistic world. Crispin Sartwell discusses about Jerrold Levinson’s definition of art from Levinson’s article, “Refining Art Historically,” in the Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism of 1990. To Levinson, art is something that is made to be intended to be “regarded” as a work of art (Sartwell). Luise Morton and Thomas Foster discuss Nelson Goodman’s definition of art from Languages of Art in Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism of 1991.

Goodman says that it is about how one looks at an original and a forged art depends on the way we look at it (Morton and Foster). Both Levinson and Goodman make good points because they are both saying that all depends on the person’s perspective. Not everyone sees the same piece of art the same way another person does, so given a choice between an original or a forged piece of art, some may be able to tell the difference and some may not. The idea of having different perspectives on what is real art or what is not depends solely on an individual.

Levinson and Goodman both see art by how the person intends it to be. According to Jonathon Keats who writes in The Daily Beast, art forgery helps take us out of our comfort zone, while the real art keeps us within our comfort zone. Keats writes that forgers credit their work to the original artist. In doing so, the artist’s work is more accessible to more people and that the artist who forged an original should be appreciated (Keats). Blake Gopnik writing in the New York Times says that the forgers can make recreate art with their hands; however, great art depends on the idea of the artist.

The idea of the forger comes from the original artists, like Pollock and Rothko, setting up procedures and ideas for making art (Gopnik). The forger is able to recreate a work of art because of the way a particular artist wanted their art to be seen. On the other hand, Ross Bowden writing in the Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism of 1999 about Alfred Lessing’s essay titled, “What Is Wrong with a Forgery? ” In Lessing’s essay, he disapproves of art forgery when talking culturally. Lessing believes that forgeries do not have that artistic integrity and lacks creativity.

He continues to say that one can recreate an amazing artwork, but it will lack the imagination it takes to create the original piece of work (Bowden). Forgeries in the opinion of Lessing lack imagination and creativity, however, Gopnik and Keats see that an artist has the imagination and creativity to recreate a famous piece of work. If one lacks that imagination and creativity then they would not be able to get away with forgery. These forgery artists are capable of pulling off century old paintings and able to sell them to museums as originals.

That takes imagination and creativity. W. E. Kennick brings up in the Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism of 1985 that every copy of an original piece of work is a forgery. Artists make their work in the style of others, but still make it their own. One is not actually forging a real piece of art, much less than copying or imitating that person’s style (Kennick). Gopnik also says that Andy Warhol’s works were sometimes made by him or sometimes made by his assistant. Warhol even attributed some of his work to other artists.

An artist by the name of Marcel Duchamp made art out of bicycle wheels, urinals, already made sculptures, and other reusable items. Duchamp encouraged others to do the same and copy his style (Gopnik). Every artist can imitate or copy someone else’s work, although that artist who made the original work may no longer be alive, their work is still living on. Art forgeries can be looked at as some sort of crime because someone is recreating masterpieces and selling them to museums.

However, if one stops to think about the fact that art forgeries are actually artists bringing masterpieces back, one would not think it was a crime. These artists are creative enough to be able to recreate an artwork and give art lovers the feeling of having a masterpiece in their home or be able to look at it in a museum. Art forgeries are a lucrative past time for those who love art and want to be able to see “their art” in a museum. It is a win-win situation for both the artist and the art lovers.

Works Cited

Bowden, Ross. “What is wrong with an art forgery? : An anthropological perspective. ” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism (1999): 333-343. Gopnik, Blake. “In Praise of Art Forgeries . ” The New York Times 2 Novemeber 2013. Keats, Jonathon. “Why Forgeries Are Great Art. ” The Daily Beast Kennick, W. E. “Art and Inauthenticity. ” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism (1985): 1-12. Morton, Luise H. and Thomas R. Foster. “Goodman, Forgery, and the Aesthetic. ” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism (1991): 155-159. Sartwell, Crispin. “A Counter-Example to Levinson’s Historical Theory of Art. ” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism (1990): 157-158.

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