ave art's wide influence explored

Updated: 2013-12-16 07:22

By CAROLINE BERG in New York (China Daily USA)

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"Only occasionally this artistic borrowing is simple and direct as stealing software or airplane production secrets or producing Gucci bags and Prada footwear," he said. "Artistic borrowing is a universal affair."

The great expressionist Pablo Picasso once said, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." As Silbergeld noted, the artist wasn't the first person to say this, so even this aphorism he either borrowed or stole.

The difference, Sibergeld said, is the borrower merely reproduces art, whereas the thief makes something unrecognizable out of what he took. In other words, if an artist has been influenced, you can see the connection easily. If an artist has been inspired, they do not merely copy an artwork, but a new creativity is triggered.

"The great artist makes what he has taken so different that it can't be returned and therefore it must be considered to have been stolen," he said. "Most important to know is what to take, what to steal, and what will allow the artist to create something new and of his own."

The curator said the artists in the current Dunhuang exhibition scarcely represent one another because they all saw and took away different things to blend their inspirations from this old art with their own contemporary state of mind.

"I think what this exhibition is all about really is about tradition and learning," Silbergeld said. "What is remarkable about this [exhibition] is you can find the way [Dunhuang] mattered in each artist's work, and yet it all comes out so different."

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