The original sin.

“QUOTATION,” “APPROPRIATION,” “IMAGE-SCAVENGING,” “age of simulacra”. . . . For several years now these words have filled the air as we have tried to explain to ourselves what has been happening in recent art. They are such complex words. They provoke a certain nostalgia for the clear brightness of slang. Sometimes, when thinking about quotational art, I call such works “After Art”—works that are openly after other pieces. And then I think, but hey, isn’t a French term de rigeur, and just imagine—in contrast to art nouveau, art passé. Then again, as things have been going lately we may soon be reading about the “postneo”: the stuff that comes after the idea of the new has gotten old. The term one doesn’t hear so much anymore is “original.” Not long ago it was a whole credo, this word, a whole way of approaching life. But things have gotten, funny; we’ve begun to wonder what it might mean.

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