The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - The...

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The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction In 1936 , German literary and cultural critic Walter Benjamin wrote an essay on ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’. He analyzed how mechanical reproduction destroys the uniqueness and authenticity and he used the word "aura" to refer to the sense of awe and reverence one presumably experienced in the presence of unique works of art. There are two main themes of this famous essay: the question of art and politics and the impact of mass production on art works. Benjamin argued that the rise of easily reproducible artwork leads not only to the artwork losing its ritual meaning through the loss of its aura, but also art's political functions, its commodity value, and the social relations constructed around it. By doing so it attaches meaning to its exhibition value, which means the value of being sold, of becoming a commodity, a product rather than a creation gains meaning strictly from its intrinsic artistic quality. Benjamin uses this essay to postulate his
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course COMM 371 taught by Professor Scannell during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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