Authenticity and meaningful futures for museums: the role of 3D printing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Downloads (Pure)


This article uses the COVID –19 crisis to re –evaluate the importance of reproductions – 3D prints – for art’s authenticity, and their significance in keeping art museums meaningful in a rapidly changing world. The fixation on ‘auratic experiences’, inherent to artworks’ materiality is integral to contemporary art theory and museum practice, resulting in a rejection of reproductions. However, the inaccessibility to engage with physical artworks due to the coronacrisis would suggest a loss of art’s significance and the museum’s importance. Yet, the opposite is happening, as engaging with artworks happened via anti-authentic: reproductions. Dennis Dutton’s analysis of authenticity helps unfolding the various values an artwork can have beyond its physicality. Additionally, Henry Jenkins’ convergence theory helps seeing our relationship with artworks as dispersed over mixed media, reaching beyond materiality. By considering museums as multifaceted mediums themselves, it becomes possible to understand the dynamics of authenticity in museums without physical borders. Authenticity is not static; it is a social construct allowing various perceptions that change over time, resulting in shifting appreciations of both artworks and 3D prints. Finally, ways are proposed in which reproductions can attribute to developing meaningful narratives that can take place with limited or no engagement with artworks or museums’ physicality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-122
JournalJournal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Authenticity
  • Museums
  • 3D technology
  • Perception
  • Exhibition design
  • Art
  • Painting reconstruction


Dive into the research topics of 'Authenticity and meaningful futures for museums: the role of 3D printing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this