Copy Oscar

In the documentary “Visual Acoustics” about photographer Julius Schulman’s work, one of the buildings presented is externally inspired on Oscar Niemeyer’s Alovarada Palace.

Coachella Valley Bank (Palm Springs, USA, 1961)

Coachella Valley Bank (Palm Springs, USA, 1961)

Although very easy to criticize this building when compared to the original, the Coachella Valley Bank building, in Palm Springs – and all other copycats that came after, as the result of the work developed by one of the most stimulating artists in the last century, Oscar Niemeyer – is a really good example of work designed by a “good artist” and not by a “great artist” as mentioned by Pablo Picasso.

Moimenta da Beira Primary School (Portugal, 1962)

Moimenta da Beira Primary School (Portugal, 1962)

Without either the proportions or the structural purification of the Niemeyer’s Alvorada Palace, in Brasilia, these copies only promote even more the effort and talent of unique creators like the Brazilian architect. It also is a way in which we can reflect on the way in which cultural products were disseminated through the available media at the time and then copied and how copies can occur in a time where dissemination of ideas and images is just so much more intense. Will we have a bigger number of “good artists” because we can better catalog everything that humans create? Or simply will it be more difficult to distinguish a simple “good artist” who merely copies from a “great artist” who steals?

Palácio Alvorada (1958)

Alvorada Palace (Brasilia, Brazil, 1958)

 

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