Painting fakes and singing covers

When a pop band goes on the road to promote a hit record, they’re almost certainly re-singing a version of their work that matches what the fan expects to hear, not the daring, original work that they actually might feel like playing that night.

And when, twenty years later, they go on a reunion tour, the same is true, but even more so. The band make-up has changed, their tastes have changed, and they’re an oldies act now. Playing covers of their own work.

Every once in a while, Pablo Picasso painted a daring new work of art. But most of his 10,000 paintings rhymed with the ones he’d done before. In his words, “I often paint fakes.”

Fakes and covers are an essential element of the creative cultural economy. But when we engage with them, we should do it on purpose and not be confused about what we’re getting (or creating).