Paint the Internet with Walter Benjamin

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ARTINFO: I read you were an art history major at Smith. I was an art history major too, and know well the frequency with which Walter Benjamin is assigned as reading for, like, every single art history class. Why did you choose him as the blog’s namesake?

Lauren: I was really fascinated with early photography in college— and Benjamin’s essay was like my bible. I read so much art theory, so there was something about Benjamin’s aura that always fascinated me. Something unique about the original. That’s why, mechanical reproduction was so noteworthy, because it couldn’t successfully reproduce an aura.

I’m paraphrasing…

Anyway, I knew I wanted to paint the internet, and I was thinking about what doing that actually means… elevating something like Grumpy Cat to an art object. It echoes some of Benjamin’s ideas. Except in the case of these memes, there really wasn’t an original to begin with. Memes are significant because of the reproducibility. A Benjameme creates an aura where none existed previously.

Then of course, I mechanically reproduce my painting and send it everywhere…


An excerpt from an interview with artist Lauren Kaelin.

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