Reproducing Art Experience

Regarding "Color Reproductions Will Dull the Barnes Collection" (Counterpunch, June 17):

In her response to the Barnes Foundation's decision to publish its art collection in color, USC's Selma Holo declares: "The better the color reproduction the more it undermines the imperative to see the original."

By this logic, music lovers should avoid superb recordings of Beethoven lest they be discouraged from consulting his scores and attending live performances of his music. Chekhov should be translated poorly, if at all, since the original Russian texts are easily accessible and constitute his true vision.

Holo thinks that a work of art is best appreciated if we approach it without expectations, its "once-onliness" experienced in a haze of ignorance and mystery. But are masterpieces simply punch lines, ruined when given away? Or are they infinitely renewable resources, fully appreciated only after years of study and contemplation?

I will gladly forgo all reproductions of art if USC will underwrite my tour of the world's museums and galleries so that I too can "swoon over a work of art seen for the first time." But, until then, please don't deprive me of my full-color reproductions.

NEAL McCABE

Los Angeles

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