Against Repeatable Artworks

Allan Hazlett

in Art and Abstract Objects

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199691494
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746277 | DOI:
Against Repeatable Artworks

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There seem to be repeatable artworks. Plays and musical works (like Hamlet or ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’) can be performed again and again; installations (like Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #260) can be installed over and over; culinary dishes (like Jean-George Vongerichten’s tuna tartare) can be prepared many times. This chapter offers an argument against the existence of repeatable artworks. First, the chapter argues that an artwork is repeatable only if it is an abstract object. This jives with standard accounts of repeatable works, which take them to be abstracta. Second, it argues that abstract objects must have all their properties essentially. Finally, since repeatable artworks, if there are any, do not have all their properties essentially, the chapter concludes that there are no repeatable artworks.

Keywords: ontology; abstract objects; artworks; musical works; essential properties; conceptual art

Chapter.  7248 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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