The Case for Copying | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios


NARRATOR: This is a
photograph by Walker Evans. And this is a photograph
by Sherry Levine. Walker Evans’ photograph
dates from 1936, when he was hired by the
Farm Security Administration to document the American
South in the wake of the Great Depression. Sherry Levine’s
was taken in 1981 from a reproduction of
the Evans photograph, as part of a series titled
yes, “After Walker Evans.” Credit where credit is due,
but if forgery is not at issue here, what is? Evans’ photographs are iconic
and indisputable documents of the Depression. They show us its face. But what exactly do Levine’s
photographs show us? Recent art is full of copying
of all kinds and degrees. Art that borrows,
steals, pilfers, or poaches existing images. Some of them iconic, others not. Are these confessions
of creative inadequacy, bald opportunism
masquerading as concept? Are these cries for help
as we drown in an image saturated world,
or the death rattle of the great
pictorial tradition? How are we supposed
to distinguish this kind of copying from
a long history of art full of allusions, influences,
and innumerable instances of visual sampling,
long before hip hop spread the sonic version
of it coast to coast. A sample after all is just
one part of a whole song. But what if the
copy is the artwork? This is the Case for Copying. Artists, of course, have been
copying since time immemorial. In fact, the earliest Western
traditions of aesthetic thought defined art as mimesis, or
imitation of the visible world. But artists don’t just
imitate the world, they imitate each other. Copying in order
to train their hand or demonstrate
stylistic innovation. They copy to signal the
influence of other artworks, to claim the prestige of
a particular heritage, or to rework a stock artistic
subject for their own time. Working from existing
imagery and traditions can also suggest new
ways to navigate history. Rafael’s intimate portrait
of Pope Julius the Second became a model for Velasquez’s
portrait of Pope Innocent the 10th, which in turn inspired
Francis Bacon to make over 45 versions of his
own, each portrait transgressive in
its own time for how it exposed psychological
depths of the man at the seat of the
church’s power. Velazquez’s Las Meninas
was also metabolized by Pablo Picasso,
who additionally made numerous versions of “le
Dejeuner sur l’herbe” painted by Edward Manet in 1863. Manet’s “Dejeuner” in turn
borrowed its composition from a Raimondi engraving
of Raphael’s “Judgment of Paris” and its subject
from “Le Concert champetre.” But it’s Manet’s “Old
Musician” that establishes him as the modernist mix master. Though it might look
like a genre painting, the “Old Musician” is in
fact a composite image with an extravagant
number of citations. “A painted phrase,” as the
art historian Carol Armstrong called it, that reads, “‘after
Watteau,’ ‘after myself and Murillo,’ ‘after Le Nain,
and Velazquez,'” and so on. Manet’s painting is not a
window onto another reality, but a cluster of
representations, each one like a song that can be
sampled again and again. Manet’s mashup, moreover,
stares back at us. The “Old Musician”
personifies the way that all pictures, so
to speak, regard us. Images aren’t just neutral
depictions of the world. They’re instruments
influencing how we perceive ourselves and others. This awareness inspired a number
of artists in the late 1970s to make art that foregrounded
representation itself. Art historians refer to this
work as Appropriation art. In 1977, art critic Donald Crimp
curated an exhibition titled, “Pictures,” bringing
together artists who shared an interest
in understanding the picture itself. Artists of the
Pictures generation, as they came to be called,
plundered existing images for their own work. Jacques Goldstein’s film
“Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer” loops the familiar
MGM lion’s roar, suspending us between the
pleasure of anticipation and the frustrating deferral
of the feature film. Dara Birnbaum’s technology
transformation, “Wonder Woman,” fragments and repeats
clips from the TV series to draw out the relationship
between technology and sexual objectification. By isolating and
manipulating images, these artists direct our
attention toward their subtexts and demonstrate how they
get their meanings, not through our actual experience
with lions or superheroes, but through our associations
with other pictures like them. In her series of film
stills, Cindy Sherman photographed herself in
the poses and scenarios of generic feminine personas
that evoked stock narratives, so that each version
of Sherman seems overdetermined from the start
by our expectations for her. As Crimp wrote, “We are not in
search of sources or origins but of structures
of signification– underneath each picture, there
is always another picture.” These artists certainly
weren’t the first to use images from pop culture. The aptly named Pop
Art movement built upon the work of artists
including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, who
made bronze casts of mass produced objects or incorporated
newsprint and rubbish into their work. Art historian Leo Steinberg
described this work as belonging to the
Flatbed Picture Plane, borrowing the term from
the flatbed printing press that had flooded the
post-war world with mass media images. As Steinberg saw
it, paintings were no longer doorways to imaginary
worlds, evoking our visual. Experience they
were like tabletops, strewn with papers
and objects, that simulated how we
look at pictures in newspapers and magazines. Not incidentally Andy
Warhol began his career in advertising. Warhol explained that he chose
the subjects of his paintings, from commercial
products to celebrities, precisely because everyone
already liked them. The artist’s job,
so Warhol claimed, was not to offer up
new images of beauty, but to reproduce what
society had already approved. This authorized him
to appropriate images of mass produced objects, and
to turn them out in the studio he called The Factory,
blurring the distinctions between artist and
factory worker, and between commodity and art. In more recent years,
Richard Prince, who may sit atop the
high throne of copydom, described his interest
in copying this way. “Advertising images aren’t
associated with an author. They look like they have no
history to them, like they showed up all at once. They look like what art
always wants to look like.” Yet, of course, Prince,
Warhol, and other pop artists certainly didn’t fade
into the woodwork. On the contrary, a
Campbell’s Soup can is almost synonymous with the
name Warhol, a single blown up cartoon frame with
Roy Lichtenstein. Pop art held up a mirror to
the ubiquity of mass media. But a mirror is often the
weakest form of critique. After all, that other thing
that looks like it showed up all at once without
history, that’s the mass produced commodity. Perhaps it’s no surprise then
that the art market quickly embraced Pop Art as
one more luxury object. Appropriation art
on the other hand, had a very different
relationship to popular imagery. More like certain strands
of Dada and Surrealism, Appropriation art sought to
understand how images around us inform our psyche and provide
a basis for collective life. Martha Rosler’s
“House Beautiful– Bringing the War
Home” used a technique similar to surrealist
collage, inserting photographs from the Vietnam War into scenes
of American domestic life. Both sets of images were
taken from copies of life. Rosler just reassembled what
was already bound together in the magazine, and what
only a serious threshold for cognitive
dissonance holds apart. Appropriation art also hearkened
back to the “Readymade” by highlighting how an
artist’s gesture of selection could confer value on
the most mundane object. Like the “Readymade,”
Appropriation drew attention to the
institutions whose operations depend on ideas of
exceptionality and originality, even and especially in the
face of total unoriginality. Appropriations by
Sturtevant, who made perfect copies of artist’s
work– in the case of Warhol, actually borrowing
his silk screens to get the job done– as well
as those by Sherry Levine, compel viewers to question
just what kind of value is added by a signature,
and more importantly, what kinds of people
have historically been authorized to sign
works in the first place. Hint, hint– they’ve
usually looked more like Walker
Evans and Duchamp than Sherry Levine
or Sturdevant. Indeed, countless creative
achievements in our museums are considered anonymous, many
of them seized from regions and social groups that have
been denied recognition and representation. This is to say nothing of
conventionally unauthored cultural contributions
from quilts, to recipes, to folk or blues songs. In his essay, “The
Death of the Author,” the theorist Roland
Barthes argued that writing contains many layers
of association that can only be unified in the
reader’s experience of a text. This meant that the author
had no particular authority over the meaning of a book,
because anything she wrote existed in a web of connotations
and cultural significance. To interpret a
book or an artwork was therefore not to
decode it, or to identify its definitive meaning, but to
demonstrate how it functioned in this web of significance. Michel Foucault
followed with his essay, “What is an Author?”,
which argued that an author is actually just
an organizing principle that allows us to group
together a certain number of cultural objects. More importantly,
it clarifies who did not make the work, impeding,
rather than helping along, the free circulation
and inventiveness of creative output. No less of a paradigm
for the artistic genius than Pablo Picasso once
said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” This is often taken to mean
that great artists transform their influences into their
own authentic and original inventions. But Appropriation art turns
this meaning on its head. Appropriation art
asks us to recognize that so-called great artists
managed to convince us that their works are authentic
and original because society has already given them the power
to be authentic and original for reasons that have little
to do with genius and a lot to do with the structures
of power that concerned Foucault. Yes, there are people
who have done amazing things and gotten credit for it. And we’re grateful
for their work. But copying shows that the idea
of the original originating genius is a myth. It shows that this
myth is linked to the power of
images themselves to determine what kinds of
representation, visual as well as political, are made
available in our societies. Appropriation art, while
sometimes confounding and often contested, helps us see
that the context of pictures is absolutely integral
to their meaning. It reminds us that pictures
don’t just have histories, they exist in history. A copy, no matter
how perfect, is never really the same as the original,
since its context is always shifting. And since we exist in
history, our perspective is always shifting, too. When artists copy, we
recognize that they’re making fresh meanings through
their interaction with signs and symbols and
bits of information already out in the world. And that this work is never
done, not for them, and not for us. The Art Assignment is funded
in part by viewers like you through Patreon.com, a
subscription based platform that allows you to support
creators you like in the form of a monthly donation. Special thanks to
our grand master of the arts, Indianapolis
Homes Realty. If you’d like to
support the show, check out our page at
Patreon.com/ArtAssignment.

100 thoughts on “The Case for Copying | The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studios

  1. Please do The Case For Artists who grow things!!! would love to hear your theories on Olafur Eliasson ..

  2. that was great thanks so much. I hope that one day I'll be able to explain things like this just like you. Make people understand the supposedly dumb and crazy side of art isn't as dumb as it seems

  3. "If you think about why any story moves us, it’s because of a quaking moment of recognition. It’s never the shock of the new, it’s the shock of the familiar." — Joshua Oppenheimer

  4. "Artists don't just imitate the world, they imitate each other." They also don't just imitate each other. They grow and form a unique voice. Many of the examples you show here have one artist using the other as a starting point, for a composition or some such, but the final work becomes distinct, unique. Can you say that about Jack Goldstein's Lion or Levine's copy of Evans? Is there any discernible "shift in context"? I don't see why you're even putting Picasso and Levine in the same argument. They certainly don't belong together.

    You say it brings into question the importance of authorship. Does it? Isn't that a rather shallow question? We already know that the dollar value of an artwork is arbitrary and based greatly on fashion trends that change like the wind. The intrinsic value of an artwork exists independently of the author – that kind of value is also a bit arbitrary, weighed independently in the mind of each viewer, although we must admit, many people will hold similar opinions based on the skill, quality, concept, etc. of the work. Knowing the author gives insight into the history behind the work and the movements involved. In that sense it adds historical value and knowledge. But, so far as credit, there's no question. The first artist deserves the credit. The copyist shouldn't consider himself an artist at all, unless he/she adds something substantial.

    So far as calling history's greatest artists "so called geniuses" who's works only seem to be authentic, having little do with genius and everything to do with power structures? What? Really? Originality is a myth? It sounds like you're asking me not to believe my own lying eyes. Perhaps we define originality differently. It seems the standard you hold is unfair, especially when it casts all artists in the same lot with Levine.

  5. Love love love the art assignment – and this is probably my favourite case for. Just wondering if the art assignment had a reading list of accessible and modern texts if we wanted to know more? Thanks

  6. I am going to have to watch this a few more times, I had a bit of a hard time keeping up all the way through!

  7. Wow – what a great case for remix culture! We are a new series on PBS Digital Studios getting started and we're all about media literacy and inquiry…would be fun to collab with you all some day. You're an inspiration!

  8. Great video! Can you please make a video on sacred art. Icon painting or islamic calligraphy in particular.

  9. Love love love these videos! Would love them more if they slowed down a bit, I feel like I'm missing so much!

  10. Damn, this was amazing. I will have to return to it again and again to absorb it fully and I tots look forward to it!

  11. I found this video so fascinating – I feel like I learnt so much watching it. Thanks to the whole team for your effort and insight.

  12. And I guess this is how memes are created…well meme actually had a traditional definition for something passed down…

    A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. -wiki

  13. Copying one's work is okay, but tracing amd claiming it as your own is an irredeemable crime, unless its paper dolls.

  14. In a lot of these artworks that you are citing, they aren't copies. They are reinterpretations. They are not simply reproducing the original. They are iterating on it. There is a marked difference between someone who essentially just reproduces a work and someone who uses it as a jumping off point.

  15. Great video! This brings to mind Borges' short story Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, where he discusses much of what was mentioned here — building on Barthes' the Death of the Author theory, he analyses the premise of art as creating meaning rather than creating a *thing*. In that, copying or replicating almost becomes irrelevant and the artistic value shifts to the semantic value of the piece.

    First time commentator here. Love your work on this channel! 🙂

  16. This is a very a vague criteria for me, but I think if you manipulate the original image by at least 25% then you're fine. As an artist, anything less than that just screams theft to me. It's ok to be inspired, but don't fucking copy an exact image. — or if you're going to outright copy a piece of art, you should at least credit the original artist as well. Sure, no idea is 100% original, but the artist's perspective is

  17. This really didn't convince me of anything. Yes, copying has some very interesting implications, but there is a huge difference between transformative copying and literally copying that you don't address. If these people have done nothing transformative – merely added there name and allowed me to think about that choice until I decide upon its meaning, then though it is art, that person isn't the artist. You might say "that's the point" and, sure.

    So why are we paying them for it?

  18. Last year we had a giant media scandal about painter Luc Tuymans "copying" a photographer's headshot of a politician. His practice is all about copying images and how we look and manipulate images, his initial paintings were made by projecting film stills onto the canvas to reproduce the picture. Yet because he thought it was despicable for the Belgian court to even take this case seriously he defended by saying it was a parody. Eventually they made arrangements outside of court but since then people actually think he's just a copycat rather than an artist.

  19. Copying in art means to transform it. One work today copying one or many from the past is a new take, a remix of sorts, that takes the past use of images and forms and makes a new way for them to be seen and understood in the evolving contexts of the society and communities in which it's made.

  20. I am an artist and I am against copying. Why would an artist purposefully deny himself/herself the euphoria generated by creation? Why would you be socially percieved as "the copycat" instead of "the unique and iconic artist"? It's as if one would purposefully walk outside in public with stinky garbage stuck on his/her clothing, as if one has no dignity and wants to ruin his/her public image by doing something so low class as copying is. Would that be purposeful or artistic? I really doubt that. Allright, copying a work to improve technique is one thing, I don't do it, but for those who do it, afterwards,please, just burn it! Out of respect for the original artist and the original work, seriously!

  21. What Picasso did was NOT copying, it was re-interpreting. I agree with that, but NEVER with Sherrie Levine's shameless and disgusting copying and claiming as her own.

  22. again, missing the important point here. Copying in itself is not the issue, its the motivation to or purpose for the copying: the value system that lies behind why the copying is being done. The reason Francis Bacon's pope holds up, without receiving the same criticism for "copying" that others would receive, is because Bacon's purpose for copying followed the tradition of WHY artists copied in the past: to refer to another point of understanding or method toward the grand purpose artists shared: to uplift their sense of being through a meditation on the divine, a devotional purpose. With Bacon there exists a "brutality of fact" that he recognizes in this tradition as we move along in the "enlightened" era, preserving certain feelings of reverence that still remain by "copying" from tradition. When artists copy for self aggrandizement and easy legitimizing, its a meditation on self, a tactic for notoriety, and people see right through this as well.

    This quick conclusion that “copying shows that the idea of the original, originating genius is a myth” also relates to the nihilistic, atheistic state of mind that artists find themselves in while also taking on the role of artist today, a role birthed in the tradition of devotional making, with values for making rooted in the value of divine origin. If a person cannot justify their origin because “god is a myth", they also cannot justify their own being and thus the things that they make. The weak proposition that authorship is a myth is a projection of the fear that god is a myth, thus nothing is of original or significant creation, it all just “happened”. In most cases, the copying today has a very simple and understandable purpose given the multiple desperate situations artist find themselves in: the purpose is to easily legitimize their career by 1. grabbing the attention of the powers that be with familiar signs and 2. using the logic of copying created by those same powers with the very same terminology: "appropriation". Its playing by the rules to have a shot at the "big time". The ultimate goal is to give value to the self (in the form of praise and pay?). There is a lot at stake and a lot expected of an artist and when their own purpose is unclear to themselves , their actions become desperate. We see this more often than we find an artist with faith of any kind. EVERY problem in art even up to present day has to do with God and the inherent implications of such an abstract concept of origin: purpose (value in function) , infinity, (value in time), ideals (value to be), whether we try to bypass such an essential element of art history or when we face it head on.

  23. I think it's ok as long as we give credit or compensation. Borrowing from others is ok, we do it all the time but copying the exact same artwork without modifications and passing it off as your own is theft and plagiarism. If you get permission from the original artist and if you give him or her credit and/or compensation then it's ok. If I saw someone making millions off of my photography and passing it off as his own I would be pissed!

  24. I like this series but there is something in the way the contents are read (maybe too fast, no pauses?) that make them very difficult to follow for over a few minutes especially for non English mother tongue audiences.

  25. Picasso was initially coy about his artistic influences in interviews. The "Great artist's steal," comment should have silenced the army of hack writers hoping to fill magazine pages with… Picasso's- art-gibberish. The line about there being 3 basic literary plots and millions of variations on said plots, applies to art as well. 'Original' and 'derivative' are 'stupid critic' words for the aforesaid reasons. Having said all that, child and mentally ill artists have amazing power and, dare I say it, originality. Professional artists know this and shamelessly copy them.

  26. Pieces of art are instruments of perception. Taste, sample, riff, but don't gobble unless you can bring something new to the work.

  27. This reminds of why I enjoy the music genre 'vaporwave' lots, my friends just think I'm a bit of a loser/pretentious hipster that has taken a 'meme' too far, mainly because it is just slowed down music, (well it depends, some has more added to it than just some slowing down) but even as slowed down music there's something interesting to be said about it's re-contextualising of music from 'the past', which what copying is able to do

  28. How do you get away with copyright infringement and also the misrepesentation of a product logo and trademarked image?

  29. There seem to be a trend in the popular world to justify reusing old ideas, particularly in art and culture. Let's face it, when the goal is to make money, the best approach is to continue to do what works. New ideas are risky and most of the time doesn't make money. Copying as a tool to learn is different than copying because the artists is just unable to come up with new ideas.

  30. You lost me as soon as you threw in that "Cultural Marxist" Foucault. This guy has poisoned the American well, and those of us who know this are careful where we drink.

    A five year old can tell you that Picasso's guitar is not an actual copy of that African mask; that same five year old can tell you that Levine's work is a copy. I guess reading French Structuralists and Post-Moderns will take away your ability to see (better keep that five year old around).

    "So called Geniuses"? Come on, guys, I thought this was an art channel? Are you calling your own history a fraud? Why study it then? And if Levine is so unimpressed with Art history why is every work a reference to it?

  31. Copying is bad when the person doing the copying is taking it from someone who doesn't want their work copied.
    "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"
    As long as people give credit where credit is due, it's actually GOOD for the original artist to be 'sampled.'

  32. I'm sure this has been said before, but the fact that the science philosopher Francis Bacon and the British modern artist Francis Bacon have not a thing in common is wild.

  33. I want to see someone do like an Artist/Philosopher video. I know in the Analytic Tradition Wittgenstein did Photography and Architecture after doing his Tractautus. Decades later Nelson Goodman did a contemporary dance work challenging the distinction between art and sport in Hockey: A Nightmare in 3 Periods and Sudden Death, after doing The Languages of Art and The Ways of Worldmaking. Nietzsche composed music that has been played by others in addition to constructing an new Zarathustra in Thus Spake Zarathustra.

  34. Fyi you say art critic Donald Crimp, but it’s Douglas Crimp as you can see at the bottom of the catalog essay.

    From the website
    Organized by critic Douglas Crimp, Pictures includes the work of Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Philip Smith. Their work represents the first look at important new developments in art thoroughly discussed in the catalog essay written by Douglas Crimp. The five artists in the exhibition share a common interest in the psychological manifestations of identifiable and highly connotative, though non-specific, imagery. Crimp has remarked in his text that “representation has returned in their work not in the familiar guise of realism, which seeks to resemble a prior existence, but as an autonomous function…It is the representation freed from the tyranny of the represented.”

  35. Don't mind me. Just here for a homework assignment. Gotta watch again cause it all just literally flew over my head.

  36. If you can't tell the difference between an original image being photographed, and an original image being done in a completely different style, then something is wrong with you.

  37. interesting to see how this video has aged since it's release, considering that Jay Z and Beyonce released a collaborative music video titled "ape sh**" almost bringing to life the exact concept of the dancing at the louvre piece by Faith Ringgold.

  38. Through this whole video I was thinking "meme culture meme culture meme culture." Especially Youtube poop. I'm not claiming that YTP is great art but that a lot of these great art examples seem to be visual or physical prototypes of the kind of meaningless absurd remixing that YTP survives on. I wasn't expecting the really good point about who, culturally, gets to be named vs who has to be anonymous!

  39. I disagree with about 30-40% of what was said in this video, and you never came back to the conclude the point on the two identical photos at the start. Still food for thought I guess.

  40. Nope, this video was a travesty. Everybody loves Roy Lichtenstein but few know who Russ Heath even was. He was the artist whose comics Liechtenstein stole from to make some of his most famous paintings. I get the "theoretical" case for copying, but what about the ethical case? Commercial artists, including comic book artists like Russ Heath, often struggled to make ends meet and (like Heath last August) died in obscurity, while a flat, soulless version of their work that somebody else got paid MILLIONS for hangs in the Tate Modern. The art that Pop Art appropriated may have been created with the intent of being mass produced, but the art itself is a unique object that came from some other artists' minds and labor, and respect should be paid to them.

    How about "The Case for Commercial Art", or "The Case for Sequential Art (Comics)"?

  41. i don't know if it's just me but so much was being mention, so many images appearing and like no time to digest what the last sentence was talking about

  42. That says it all ! A painter gets $10 for a picture, 20 years later it is resold for $1M .
    A person writes a song and expects the world to pay to listen for ever ?
    Not in my way of reasoning.

  43. Saying that works of ancient art are somehow oppressive of the people who created because they are unsigned or the artists are unknown is disingenuous–they were created in a time and a culture when artists did not sign their works, because their works were not objects of self-aggrandizement or individual expression, but were in most cases religious or ritual objects, and signing them would have been seen as blasphemous and an act of hubris.

    We don't know those artists because they didn't WANT to be known, NOT because of some vast "Western Supremacy Conspiracy"…

  44. I would have loved more discussion on the controversy surrounding these instances of copying eg. Prince's ig exhibition.
    ps. There is a missing caption on one of your images. It is a gallery photo from the Gottfried Lindauer exhibition "The Māori Portaits" held at Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tamaki in 2016/17.

  45. All art is fanart. Gotcha.
    However, it's a different subject when someone claims art they did not create as their own (AKA Sherrie Levine). That's just stealing. If you don't put the time and effort into copying something, then you don't deserve to claim it as your own interpretation of it. Simple as that.

  46. I don’t copy. As a result when my art is viewed, it cannot be associated with anything ever seen before. It is original.

  47. Isn’t this video protecting plagiarism? When the line becomes blurry between originality and plagiarism, we shall recognize that we are in a cultural low tide. TAA feeds well for the mass. Very disappointing.

  48. Holy shit the concept used in 3:31 for the mgm intro and Wonder Woman are actually devices used in adult swim’s too many cooks

  49. I love this channel but the content sometimes is a bit too fast especially when there are loads of concepts to be digested. Maybe you could slow down a bit in future productions and allow people to speed up using the Youtube playback speed if needed.

  50. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time now. I’d like to read more about it. Do you have sources or books listed, which helped you for this video?

  51. I think it's unethical to copy someone else's work exactly or almost exactly and take credit for it. Plagiarism is wrong.

    However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone taking a photo or painting and using it as inspiration to make a "copy" of it is a completely different style that is distinguishable from the original. For instance, I see nothing wrong with someone painting or drawing something they copied from a reference photo; because paintings and drawings are so different than photos. I see nothing wrong using a painting as a reference to make a different version of the same painting.

    For instance, I see nothing wrong with taking the Steven McCurry painting called "Afghan girl" and painting it in hyperrealism style (because although it looks similar a different method and medium were used), or cubism style, or impressionism style. I wouldn't see a problem with someone sketching it, or making a stained glass version of it, or making a sculpture of it. I guess those would all be examples of "copying" the photo; but, they wouldn't really be examples of plagiarism.

    Actually, I think taking someone's art and reinterpreting it is the highest form of compliment the artist of the original piece can get. Every artist wants to inspire creativity in others.

    In my opinion, Sherry Levine plagiarized Walker Evans work. I don't really know how she copied his photos; but, it looks like Levine took Walker's photo of the woman, shown at the start of this video, and just photoshopped a little hair over the tiny thinning part she has on the left side of where her hair is parted. Other than that, the photo looks exactly the same.

    However, Velazquez, Bacon, and Picasso definitely didn't plagiarize the images they "copied;" they just used them as a jumping point and made them their own.

    Similarly, if someone does a cover of a song in the same style as the original, and they even try to impersonate the original singer by copying his voice, and then they tell people the song is their own, that's unethical. Yet, if a woman takes a heavy metal song, sang by a man, and turns it into a pop style song with a rap interlude, and changes the pace of the song a little, she isn't attempting to steal the singer's song, she is simply putting her own flare on a cover of that singer's song.

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