Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"what art is"





Will Arthur C. Danto give us the answer to the haunting question, "What is art?" or "Is it art?" ?

In his latest publication,  the philosopher and art critic introduces the subject with a condensed review of art history and basic philosophy in a  chapter which makes up half of the book. It could be considered a collection of essays: "Restoration and Meaning", "The Body in Philosophy and Art" are followed by a discussion of the crisis brought forth by the birth of photography and the ensuing shift in ideas about art.  Danto's mastery is fully displayed in the chapter about the philosophy of Kant as related to the work of art. I personally like Kant's idea of the "creative power of the artist" bringing "spirit" as a criteria to define a work of art.
 The future of Aesthetics, another branch of philosophy,  its politicization and subsequent marginalization is discussed as well as its importance in the the world of art.
From the start to the end, Danto refers to Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, two artists whose works, respectively the "Fountain" and the "Brillo Box" have revolutionized the art world.
Danto in this book offers a concentrate of philosophy of art across centuries and cultures and when the reading is over, stimulates more thoughts and reflections about art.



"what art is", Arthur C. Danto, Yale University Press, 2013

photographs:
"Refugee", Susan Collis, 2007 (by the author)
"My Bed", Tracy Emin, 1998 (Flickr photo sharing)

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