David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Arthur Danto’s recent book, Andy Warhol, leads the reader through the story of the iconic American’s artistic life highlighted by a philosophical commentary, a commentary that merges Danto’s aesthetic theory with the artist himself. Inspired by Warhol’s Brillo Box installation, art that in Danto’s eyes was indiscernible from the everyday boxes it represented, Danto developed a theory that is able to differentiate art from non-art by employing the body of conceptual art theory manifest in what he termed the ‘artworld’. The strength of Danto’s theory is found in its ability to explain the art of the post-modern era. His body of work weaves philosophy, art history and art criticism together, merging his aesthetic philosophy with his extensive knowledge of the world of art. Danto’s essentialist theory of embodied meaning provides him with a critical tool that succeeds in explaining the currents of contemporary art, a task that many great thinkers of art history were unable to do. If Warhol inspired Danto to create a philosophy of art, it is appropriate that Danto write a tribute to Warhol that traces how Warhol brought philosophy into art. Danto’s account of ‘Warhol as philosopher’ positions him as a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century art, effecting a sea change in how art was made and viewed. Warhol achieved this by conceiving of works that embodied the answers to a series of philosophical puzzles surrounding the nature of art. Warhol, as Danto describes him, manifests himself in his art because he had transformed himself, in a way, into an icon of the times. This pragmatist notion that art should undermine the dichotomies that exist between art and life would, by some accounts, position Warhol to be the philosopher that Danto claims him to be, for he dissolved the philosophical questions posted by late modern aesthetic thinkers by creating art that imploded the accepted notions of art at the time. One of Danto’s greatest contributions to aesthetics is his theory’s ability to distinguish art from non-art, recognizing that it is the artist’s intention that levels the sublimity of art into the commonplace, thereby transfiguring the everyday. However, acknowledging this achievement, I argue that Warhol’s philosophical contribution actually manifests itself in a manner different from that proposed by Danto. Danto maintains that the internal drive of art leads to the unfolding of art theoretical concepts that ineluctably shift the terrain of world of art. I would agree with Danto that Warhol, almost as Hegel viewed Napoleon as Geist on a horse, pushed forward the boundaries of art through the actualization of art’s internal drive. But I would disagree that the conceptual nature of art is one that unfolds merely as a relation of concepts that artists trace through a connection to the meaning of history they forge using their unmediated grasp of style. Rather, I would argue that the artist’s style is not bound so narrowly to the meanings they express. Through their aesthetic articulations, artists initiate a process of social interaction. This process employs the philosophical logic which Danto attributes to Warhol indirectly, and through it, it is able to transfigure the vocabulary of art—the concepts of the artworld—by superseding the language of modernism. Warhol’s philosophical contribution is seen in his mastery of both the medium of art and the underlying logic of the medium’s expression and reception.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Nick Riggle (2010). Street Art: The Transfiguration of the Commonplaces. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (3):243-257.
Arthur Coleman Danto (1992). Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective. Farrar Straus Giroux.
Arthur Coleman Danto (1998). The Wake of Art: Essays: Criticism, Philosophy and the Ends of Taste. G+B Arts Int'l.
Lars Aagaard-Mogensen (ed.) (1976). Culture and Art: An Anthology. Humanities Press.
Daniel Herwitz (2010). Andy Warhol. By Danto, Arthur C. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (3):303-305.
James Foster (2011). Continuity or Break: Danto and Gadamer on the Crisis of Anti-Aestheticism. Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (2):36-48.
Diarmuid Costello (2004). On Late Style: Arthur Danto’s the Abuse of Beauty. British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (4):424-439.
Daniel Alan Herwitz (1993). Making Theory/Constructing Art: On the Authority of the Avant-Garde. University of Chicago Press.
Ingrid Scheibler (1999). Effective History and the End of Art: From Nietzsche to Danto. Philosophy and Social Criticism 25 (6):1-28.
Spencer K. Wertz (2007). The National Endowment for the Arts and its Opposition: Danto's Argument for Art for Our Sake. Journal of Aesthetic Education 41 (3):111-117.
Robert J. Yanal (2010). Duchamp And Kant: Together at Last. Angelaki 7 (1):161-167.
Added to index2012-11-14
Total downloads69 ( #25,606 of 1,410,267 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #28,482 of 1,410,267 )
How can I increase my downloads?