The purpose of this essay is to analyze in what ways did the work of Marcel Duchamp prefigure Walter Benjamin's thesis in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Finding a single definition to what art is may be a very difficult task to accomplish…
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The essay "Marcel Duchamp Prefigure Walter Benjamin's Thesis" explores Walter Benjamin's thesis and Marcel Duchamp. Art has evolved since it was first discovered and the reason behind all these forms of evolution is to ensure that the production of works of art suit the aesthetic needs of the people to whom it is presented. A key point in global art history in terms of evolutionary art is the early 20th century when Benjamin Walter hypothesized and further came out with an essay on art in the age of mechanical reproduction. In this paper, the ways in which the work of Marcel Duchamp prefigures Walter Benjamin’s thesis in his essay shall be analyzed. Marcel Duchamp has been a major contributing icon to the work of art, especially in the 20th century. The 1887 French born had the opportunity of having his first exhibition in 1908 in what was termed Salon d’Automne through the influence of his brother . But since then, Duchamp took a lot of control over what he could do as an artistic personality. It is not for nothing that Perloff notes that Duchamp’s readymades now commands sky-high prices, with people applying for permission to reproduce some of his related images in a scholarly book on modernism paying as much as $200 apiece. This means that Duchamp has continued to remain a very influential figure in art since the 1990s and continues to dominate modern artistic theories. As far as the mechanical reproduction is concerned, a number of great pieces of art works could be attributed to Duchamp., most of which shall be discussed into detail in later sections of the paper. However, it is worth mentioning that the influence of Duchamp on art through the challenging commands of conventional thoughts he had over artistic processes gave so much scheme to what was yet to be born essay of Benjamin Walter3. Though it is said that Duchamp did not succeed in producing as many works of art as some of his predecessors and those that came after him, the few he did and some of his subversive actions predicted that he was a revolutionist of art who wanted the old aura to be replaced with a new one, which Walter later came to champion as a thesis in his essay. Overview of Walter Benjamin’s Thesis The major thesis of Walter Benjamin’s essay touches on the conceptualization that the form of technical reproduction of works of art that takes place today are not a modern phenomenon but that modernity has played a contributing factor in ensuring and enhancing much accuracy in the course of mass production4. Throughout the essay, this thesis is elaborate to more or less praise the role of modern artistic discoveries into making what used to be even better. The essay therefore analyses various for m of the development of mechanical visual reproduction including photography, stamping and engraving5. In each of these artistic practices, which in the opinion of Walter are not new but an exhibition of mechanical reproduction that has been with us for long, a new line of
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