The Institutional Theory of Art
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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he first institutional theory of art is outlined in a 1964 essay by Arthur Danto, “The Artworld,” which ruminates on the paradox that Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes is art though any of its perceptually indistinguishable twins—any stack of Brillo boxes in a grocery store—is not. Danto’s offers this solution to the paradox: “To see something as art requires something the eye cannot descry—an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld.” Ultimately, though, it is “art theory” that makes Warhol’s stack of silk screened plywood boxes into art
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