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Unoriginal art

Why the obsession with originals? If a painting communicates a truth, then a precise copy should be able to do the same job

By Patrick Lyndon   April 2003

In the medium-sized city (population 1.9m) where I live, I can read the same book in the same edition as you do. In the music shops I can buy exactly the same sheet music as you can. We have half a dozen concert halls and the performers play from the same scores as they do in Osaka or Boston or Amsterdam. Our local actors memorise their lines from the same text of Julius Caesar as yours do, and dance companies follow the same models of the classical ballets. All are using copies of texts, scores and charts. The originals are…

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