In a previous post, we defined an artclone™ as follows:

noun. [licensed clone of original masterpiece] an officially-licensed replica which preserves the form, integrity, and cultural value of an original sculptural masterpiece.

But in terms art-history, we have to ask where exactly does the artclone fit? Is it merely another commercial object, occupying retail space in museums, or does it have life as a “work of art” in itself?

Furthermore, how does the artclone change the museum experience? Does it extend, as we believe it does, the cultural legacy of the art work by bringing it into the everyday lives of the museum visitor? What role does it play in sparking the imagination of children?

These are questions that cannot be dismissed lightly. Art education must bring art and history into the lives of people – inspiring us all with the Greek phrase Kalòs kai Agathòs – “beautiful and good.”

What differentiates an artclone from a replica? How does it create value from its relationship with the original work? And does it have new value that the original does not?

In the weeks and months ahead we will be surveying museum visitors to get their opinions on this matter. Stay tuned.

Barbara Dal Corso works at the intersection of art, history, and technology. She is the co-founder of ARTficial™, the maker of the world’s first officially-licensed artclones.