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Abstract

This paper reopens the question of the place of high art in the period identified by Walter Benjamin as the age of mechanical reproduction. Walter Benjamin, Bruno Latour, and Adam Lowe are wrong to think that mechanical reproduction has transformed the concept of art, destroying the aura of art or transmitting that aura from original to copy. The concept of art cannot be redefined by the modern change in the capacity to reproduce art unless art was initially defined primarily by its uniqueness/nonreproducibility. Photographic reproduction has caused major changes in the visual arts and in the way we consume art, but reproductive techniques have a long, continuous history that includes the production and reproduction of exact, artistic copies.

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