In Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomson-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-19 (2008)

Sherri Irvin
University of Oklahoma
Virtually everyone who has advanced an ontology of art has accepted a constraint to the effect that claims about ontology should cohere with the sort of appreciative claims made about artworks within a mature and reflective version of critical practice. I argue that such a constraint, which I agree is appropriate, rules out a one-size-fits-all ontology of contemporary visual art (and thus of visual art in general). Mature critical practice with respect to contemporary art accords artists a significant degree of stipulative authority regarding the features and boundaries of their works. This results in ontological variation among visual artworks. Any claim to the effect that all works belong to the same ontological category will thus come out false or uninformative. Interesting, substantive claims about ontological status can be made only in relation to specific works; that is, we must consider the ontological status of each contemporary artwork individually. The only general ontological claim that can be made about visual artworks (and also about artworks in other forms) is that they belong to the sort of thing that artists create. But this is not a substantive ontological claim.
Keywords contemporary art  ontology of art  visual art  artist's sanction  intention  David Davies  Gregory Currie  abstract objects  physical objects  artifacts
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References found in this work BETA

What a Musical Work Is.Jerrold Levinson - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (1):5-28.
Abstract Objects.Gideon Rosen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Ontology of Art.Amie L. Thomasson - 2004 - In Peter Kivy (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics. Blackwell. pp. 78-92.
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Museums and the Shaping of Contemporary Artworks.Sherri Irvin - 2006 - Museum Management and Curatorship 21:143-156.

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Debugging the Case for Creationism.Patrick Grafton-Cardwell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3509-3527.
History of the Ontology of Art.Paisley Nathan Livingston - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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