The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.
- Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German cultural critic.
His celebrated essay on ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936; in Illuminations, 1970) is most relevant to contemporary art and theories of photographic meaning. Benjamin explores the effects on art of its reproducibility through photographs, claiming that the original work’s aura of authenticity withers as it comes closer to a mass audience