“Unoriginal sins,” by Elizabeth Farrelly from the

;Take three identical canvases, all square, all painted red. One is a famous minimalist painting, one a “clever bit of Moscow landscape,” and one a paint sample. The objects themselves, in this question as posed by New York writer Arthur Danto in 1981, cannot be distinguished. And yet the first is priceless, the last without value of any kind. How do we sustain this remarkable consensus?

Posted January 17, 2003

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