Susan Meiselas, the owner of the original photograph of molotov man, says that no one can “control” art, but what she cares is decontextualisation of re-creation. “Indeed, it seems to me that if history is working against context, then we must, as artists, work all the harder to reclaim that context.” But if all re-creations follow the same context of the original piece of artwork, are they still re-creations? Or, can we call them revision on the original work?
The re-creation on Marilyn Monroe must be one of the most wide-spreaded artworks of Andy Warhol. The context of this re-production does not necessarily fit with the original photograph. Actually, I even wonder if there is any context in this re-creation. But this piece of artwork does make Andy Warhol and pop art popular. The value of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe is no longer its context. People, instead, value the unusual printing method and rich contrast of colors.
Thus, does the context really matter in an artwork? I think that a good context will give artworks much more meaning sometimes, but it is not a must. This topic reminds me of Walter Benjamin’s “kultwert” in his book The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. As for me, context just plays a role that makes a piece of artwork kultwert. An artist has the freedom to choose to recreate the artwork tending to become more kultwert or more ausstellungswert.