Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Original Fake: Store-window takes on Originality

It's getting harder and harder to be "original."  Andy Warhol made that clear in the early 1960s, when he capitulated to capitalism and advertising in the most obvious way, making art that looked very much like a can of Campbell's Soup.  And, to add to the confusion over originality, much of his work was produced by his assistants, not by Warhol himself.  

At about the same time, architects abandoned the quest for the uniquely original aesthetic, retreating to the postmodern preference for mixing and matching historical forms: a bit of the neoclassical here, the pyramids there, and hey, why not a mansard roof?  It was original, but only if the definition includes reassembling the past in a somewhat different way. 

Popular music has always been evolutionary, the province of covers and copies, but especially so after 1970, with the widespread acceptance of "sampling."

That's all background for a couple of photos we took of Italian store windows, each of a shirt with a phrase on it.  One advised, "Don't Copy/Be Original,"  a curious injunction, given that the shirt was obviously mass produced--that is, copied.  The other questioned the idea of originality even more directly: "Original Fake."  


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