The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Mass Consumption and the Master Manipulators of the Marketplace: Duchamp, Warhol, Koons , Kinkade and Kruger
During the twentieth-century the role of art as commodity raised interesting and often barbed inquiry in which artist and audience alike came to understand art, in significant part, as transmutable goods readily exchanged in the marketplace. This paper considers ways in which Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Thomas Kinkade, and Barbara Kruger set up interesting playbacks on the forces of consumer culture. Duchamp, claiming art to be a bourgeois myth, embraced machine made products as stand-ins for the hand made object. Warhol, who wanted to "be a machine", proposed a further neutering, one intended to produce a bland sameness on everyone and everything. Today, Koons teases our gullibility, wrapping the banal with high-toned rhetoric. Kinkade's strength is not in the work, but exploiting our gullibility, having us believe that mass-produced prints are "original reproductions". Kruger employs commercial imagery and rhetoric, torquing them into an interrogation of our gullibility.
Keywords: Market Place, Commodification, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Thomas Kinkade, Barbara Kruger
Professor James McManus
Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History, California State University, Chico