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Five Works Artists Should Never Ever Copycat

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In the studio working on an exact replica of a famed abstract painting?


Thinking about displaying a readymade for irony's sake?


It's fine to quote your favorite creative types -- it's basically impossible not to -- but to paint, mold or shoot something that's an exact copy and slap your name on it?


A word to the wise: If you're going to duplicate an art piece, make sure it's your own stuff and not these five pieces that should never ever be copycatted.

5. Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya Art Attack, while taking in this weekend's Ponce Crush art event in Atlanta, came across Saturn Devouring His Son (circa 1819-1823), the most disturbingly awesome work that Spaniard Francisco Goya originally painted on an interior wall of his home. Except it wasn't Goya at all, but rather an amateur artist's not-that-great take of the thing, including the exact same title. Gross.

4. Fountain by Marcel Duchamp The most well known of Duchamp's "retinal art"/readymades is a pisser from 1917 that's since vanished. Only replicas authorized by the French dadaist/surrealist exist and are on display. Let's keep it that way.

3. Farbtafel by Paul Klee Klee's geometric paintings are too often referenced in contemporary art exhibits and they're usually always awful. The granddaddy, the oil-on-canvas Farbtafel (1930), is not a "colourful picnic basket" (as one United Kingdom-based online art seller claims) or a piece that should be copied by art students that have just completed color theory.

2. Menstruation Bathroom by Judy Chicago This period piece (get it?) by Judy Chicago featured a bathroom full of feminine hygiene products, the most striking of them being used and bloody tampons. A spin-off of Womanhouse's 1972 installation is absolutely welcome but an exact replica would be trying way too hard.

1. I'm too sad to tell you by Bas Jan Ader

Out of the late Dutch artist's body of work -- oft-times humbling and sometimes dangerous performative pieces -- the short film

I'm too sad to tell you

(1970) is Bas Jan's most powerful. It also has inspired a number of wannabee videos. If you want to hate humanity, go ahead and watch some of those bastardizations on YouTube.

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