Art Is Not Plagiarism Or Revolution?

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UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO EXTENDED ESSAY 4 “Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” –Paul Gauguin. What is your “art”? Is it plagiarism or revolution? Add a mustache and a beard to the Mona Lisa--it becomes L.H.O.O.Q., a Dada piece of art by Marcel Duchamp. Assemble a bicycle seat and handlebars--it becomes Bull 's Head, a found object artwork by Pablo Picasso. The creation of such works, which directly borrow ideas or actual parts of another work, can be considered plagiarism, but that assumption leads one to question the meaning of plagiarism, and, of course, the meaning of art. Plagiarism most often connotes to borrowing or copying someone else 's work or idea, but such a definition is superficial, considering only the outlines of its implications. Plagiarism originates from the root word plagiare-, which means "to kidnap". Thus, in its original context, plagiarism refers to the theft, the kidnapping, of intellectual possessions. Is art an intellectual possession? Art is much more than that. It is a means of communication, of self-expression, of a profound union between the body and mind. The creation of art places ideas of the past in new contexts and encourages entire political and social movements, as in the case of Dadaism, Cubism, and other Modernist movements. Art simply cannot be stolen, since a means of self-expression is a natural right, the natural right to pursuit of happiness. This indicates that art is not plagiarism, but is a revolution, stirring

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