Noël Carroll proposes a generalist theory of art criticism, which essentially involves evaluations of artworks on the basis of their success value, at the cost of rendering evaluations of reception value irrelevant to criticism. In this article, I argue for a hybrid account of art criticism, which incorporates Carroll's objective model but puts Carroll-type evaluations in the service of evaluations of reception value. I argue that this hybrid model is supported by Kant's theory of taste. Hence, I (...) not only present an alternative theory of metacriticism, which has the merit of reinstating the centrality of reception value in art critics’ evaluations, but also show that, contrary to a common conception, Kant's aesthetic theory can house a fruitful account of art criticism. The benefit of this hybrid account is that, despite being essentially particularist, it should be appealing even to generalists, including Carroll. (shrink)
Katy Deepwell calls for a vital and visible "new" feminist criticism in 1997 amidst a pessimistic overview of the state of feminist art and criticism in Britain, Canada, and the U.S. As an update to this review, I note that Deepwell took decisive and effective action on her pessimism and for the past twenty years (as of this writing in July 2017) created an online feminist journal--n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal--that has published over 550 articles by 400 writers (...) and artists from more than 80 countries. After 40 issues, the journal has come to an end. What a success story! (shrink)
Most recent discussions of reasons in art criticism focus on reasons that justify beliefs about the value of artworks. Reviving a long-neglected suggestion from Paul Ziff, I argue that we should focus instead on art-critical reasons that justify actions—namely, particular ways of engaging with artworks. I argue that a focus on practical rather than theoretical reasons yields an understanding of criticism that better fits with our intuitions about the value of reading art criticism, and which makes room (...) for a nuanced distinction between criticism that aims at universality and criticism that is resolutely personal. (shrink)
Kant’s theory of taste might suggest that there cannot be any legitimate, useful art criticism, which guides others’ art appreciation: on the Kantian view, each of us must judge for him- or herself, autonomously, not follow the judgments of others; and no empirical concepts, or empirical knowledge, is supposed to be relevant for making a judgment of taste. Thus, it would seem, we should not follow others who have superior knowledge of art, because they have such knowledge. Despite these (...) elements of Kant’s view, I argue that there is nonetheless a role for Kantian art critics: to serve as exemplary judges, “incorporating” empirical knowledge of art into their judgments of taste, communicating the richness and playfulness of aesthetic judging, and exemplifying the claims to universality of judgments of taste. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Grant Kester’s notion of socially-engaged art criticism via a retrospective mapping of the four most important 1990s artistic practices: relational art, institutional critique, tactical media and socially-engaged art. While both relational, or participatory, art and institutional critique seem to have run out of steam, and have fused more or less seamlessly with the institution of art, socially-engaged art still seems to hold critical potential by making use of the relative autonomy of art beyond (...) the narrow confines of the art institution. The journal Field, founded and edited by Kester, is an attempt to develop a new art criticism that is able to account for this kind of practice. The turn to ethnography in order to analyse often open-ended community-based projects is relevant – and the. (shrink)
As visual art becomes more international, ways of writing about art become more uniform. This essay proposes that two disciplines concerned with contemporary visual art, art criticism and art theory, are on the verge of being effectively homogeneous around the world. They share concepts, artists, artworks, institutions, and bibliographic references. For comparison, I consider two other fields that may also be increasingly uniform: studio art instruction and the novel. The last, in particular, is the subject of a large literature; (...) critics and historians debate whether contemporary global novels are becoming more self-similar if not more predictable. The literature on the novel allows me to conclude that it is likely writing on art is following the same tendency. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: The Rise of Philosophical Art Criticism 1 -- Chapter 1. In the Beginning Was Formalism 17 -- Chapter 2. The Structuralist Adventure 33 -- Chapter 3. The Historicist, Antiessentialist Definition of Art 55 -- Chapter 4. Resentment and Its Discontents 71 -- Chapter 5. The Deconstruction of Structuralism 87 -- Afterword: The Fate of Philosophical Art Criticism 111.
I argue that Kant’s aesthetic theory yields a fruitful theory of art criticism and that this theory presents an alternative both to the existing theories of his time and to contemporary theories. In this regard, my dissertation offers an examination of a neglected area in Kant scholarship since it is standardly assumed that a theory of criticism flies in the face of some of Kant’s most central aesthetic tenets, such as his rejection of aesthetic testimony and general objective (...) principles of taste. If art criticism is an enterprise of providing evaluations of artworks supported by reasons, then it is hard to see what the Kantian art critic can do for us. If I cannot defer to the critic’s judgment that she loved Blade Runner and there are no feasible general principles linking the depiction of futuristic cityscapes, or the accompaniment of a haunting minimalist soundtrack to the goodness of a film, then it does not seem to matter whether the critic communicates to me her evaluation of Blade Runner or supports her evaluation with descriptions of Blade Runner scenes. Nevertheless, the assumption that these Kantian tenets preclude the possibility of art criticism is mistaken and it is my aim to show how this can be. The project has two phases. In the first phase I develop a new interpretation of Kant’s theory of artistic beauty. In the second phase I make use of this interpretation to put forward a Kantian account of art criticism. Central to my interpretation is the notion that judgments of perfection, e.g., Blade Runner is an excellent neo-noir science fiction film, inform our aesthetic evaluations and receive support from descriptions of non-aesthetic properties of the film. It is precisely this underappreciated role of judgments of perception that I exploit in making room for Kantian art criticism. (shrink)
Since the mid-1980s, Arthur C. Danto has been increasingly concerned with the implications of the demise of modernism. Out of the wake of modernist art, Danto discerns the emergence of a radically pluralistic art world. His essays illuminate this novel art world as well as the fate of criticism within it. As a result, Danto has crafted the most compelling philosophy of art criticism since Clement Greenberg. Gregg Horowitz and Tom Huhn analyze the constellation of philosophical and critical (...) elements in Danto's new- Hegelian art theory. In a provocative encounter, they employ themes from Kantian aesthetics to elucidate the continuing persistence of taste in shaping even this most sophisticated philosophy of art. (shrink)
How have the theories of aesthetics which were worked out in europe evolved in america? are there widely differing standpoints between european and american aestheticians? what herrmann tried to do, to shed light on these questions, was to look over the issues of "the journal of aesthetics and art criticism" since 1941. thomas munro, a pupil of john dewey and founder of the journal tried to provide in the united states a broader and more open-ended and undogmatic platform for (...) aesthetics including such separate disciplines as philosophy, psychology, and cultural history. this interdisciplinary approach was an important part of his campaign against an a priori aesthetics. once this encyclopedic view concerning art and its theoretical understanding is adopted, one is in a position to go beyond the one-sided, partial, and dogmatic attitude in aesthetics that often dominates in european journals. the author concludes by considering an example that is closely related to contemporary aesthetics as well as to the present american scene. what is the reason that there have been so few articles on these contemporary art movements? (shrink)
About the Author James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His many books include Pictures and Tears, How to Use Your Eyes, and What Painting Is, all published by Routledge. Michael Newman teaches in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths College in the (...) University of London. His publications include the books Richard Prince: Untitled (couple) and Jeff Wall, and he is co-editor with Jon Bird of Rewriting Conceptual Art. (shrink)
In the strong or radical sense, the creation of a work of art succeeds, as Kant said, in exhibiting originality that is exemplary and unteachable. The creative artist generates new and valuable outcomes. He or she accomplishes this in a way that is neither predictable before it ..
To a superficial consideration, art criticism might appear as a profession of a parasitic nature, nourishing itself on what is produced by others: by artists. In fact, however, the relation between artistic practice and its criticism is more adequately conceived of as a sort of symbiosis. For, while it is true that criticism depends on and presupposes the existence of its objects - that is, works of art - on the other hand nothing would prevent good art (...) from being equated with and contaminated by bad art if critics ceased to draw a distinction between the two. (shrink)
Roland Barthes, the French critic and semiotician, was one of the most important critics and essayists of this century. His work continues to influence contemporary literary theory and cultural studies. Image-Music-Text collects Barthes's best writings on photography and the cinema, as well as fascinating articles on the relationship between images and sound. Two of Barthes's most important essays, "Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative" and "The Death of the Author" are also included in this fine anthology, an excellent introduction (...) to his thought. These essays, as selected and translated by Stephen Heath, are among the finest writings Barthes ever published on film and photography, and on the phenomena of sound and image. The classic pieces "Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative" and "The Death of the Author" are also included. (shrink)
What implications does goodman's "languages of art" have for the theory and practice of art criticism? to account for the cognitive value of pictorial representations, It apparently requires to be supplemented by a concept of depiction, Or indefinite reference. For goodman's theory of expression to be convincing, Criteria are needed to discriminate exemplification in goodman's sense from the mere possession of labels. Some of the fundamental criteria of evaluation very widely used by art critics do not seem to be (...) those called for, Or authorized, By goodman's sketchy but highly significant theory of aesthetic value. (shrink)
As a criterion for judging avant-garde art, newness has been regarded as more important than excellence. kermode's single venture into art criticism, "objects, jokes & art," suggests this search for the new has led to a trivialisation of art. ideas from his more recent literary criticism such as "the classic" could be applied to avant-garde art, providing a non-reactionary means of assessing value on the basis of a work's openness to a plurality of interpretations. this would offer an (...) alternative reading of the history of modern art, opposed to formalist and reductionist views of the modernist continuum. (shrink)
This paper explores the dialogue between Collingwood and Guido de Ruggiero on art and art criticism. The sense of identity of these two activities, it will be argued, can be understood only if one considers the criticism of living art: The art of one who also creates, who through a critical process transforms an outline into a work of art. Thus understood a work of art belongs to the life of the spirit, if considered from the dimension of (...) becoming. Only by reliving the past can it be transformed, yet this requires an understanding of the map of human experience. This is what constitutes specular phenomenology, a phenomenology reflected in the mirror of art and scientific analysis. (shrink)
This article brings together two prominent topics in the literature over the past few decades—the ethical criticism of art and art interpretation. The article argues that debates about the ethical criticism of art have not acknowledged the fact that they are tacitly underpinned by a number of assumptions about art interpretation. I argue that the picture of interpretation that emerges from the analysis of these assumptions is best captured by moderate actual intentionalism. Reflection upon the nature of ethical (...)criticism, I argue, offers new reasons to prefer moderate actual intentionalism to hypothetical intentionalism. I conclude by arguing for the necessity of broadening our conception of ethical criticism. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is methodological. It offers a comprehensive mapping of the theoretical positions on the ethical criticism of art, correcting omissions and inadequacies in the conceptual framework adopted in the current debate. Three principles are recommended as general guidelines: ethical amenability, basic value pluralism, and relativity to ethical dimension. Hence a taxonomy distinguishing between different versions of autonomism, moralism, and immoralism is established, by reference to criteria that are different from what emerging in the current literature. (...) The mapping is then proved capable of (1) locating the various theories that have been proposed so far and clarifying such theories’ real commitments, (2) having the correct relationship with actual art making and art criticism practices, and (3) showing the real weight of the alleged counter-example to a moralist position of a work that succeeds artistically because of its immorality. (shrink)
I present a puzzle – the “puzzle of aesthetic testimony” – along with a solution to it that appeals to the impossibility of testimonial understanding. I'll criticize this solution by defending the possibility of testimonial understanding, including testimonial aesthetic understanding.
Margolis's main concern is to clarify aesthetic terminology, and especially to distinguish between normative and descriptive uses of such terms as "taste" and "aesthetic." His own definition of a work of art, however, "an artifact considered with respect to its design," hardly improves on the definitions he criticizes. Some of the problems he discusses can be seen as versions of the One and the Many: e.g., the relation between a symphony and its different performances or between a poem and the (...) different interpretations it gives rise to. Among the more interesting chapters are those on figurative language and on "truth and reference in fiction."—W. B. K. (shrink)
According to comic moralism, moral flaws make comic works less funny or not funny at all. In contrast, comic immoralism is the view that moral flaws make comic works funnier. In this article, I argue for a moderate version of comic immoralism. I claim that, sometimes, comic works are funny partly in virtue of their moral flaws. I argue for this claim—and artistic immoralism more generally—by identifying artistically valuable moral flaws in relevant actions undertaken in the creation of those works. (...) Underlying this argument is the idea that such generative actions are partly constitutive of a work's identity, and, therefore, they may affect the ethical value of an artwork either positively or negatively, and they are the proper objects of ethical appraisal. (shrink)
Over a decade ago, Arthur Danto announced that art ended in the sixties. Ever since this declaration, he has been at the forefront of a radical critique of the nature of art in our time. After the End of Art presents Danto's first full-scale reformulation of his original insight, showing how, with the eclipse of abstract expressionism, art has deviated irrevocably from the narrative course that Vasari helped define for it in the Renaissance. Moreover, he leads the way to a (...) new type of criticism that can help us understand art in a posthistorical age where, for example, an artist can produce a work in the style of Rembrandt to create a visual pun, and where traditional theories cannot explain the difference between Andy Warhol's Brillo Box and the product found in the grocery store. Here we are engaged in a series of insightful and entertaining conversations on the most relevant aesthetic and philosophical issues of art, conducted by an especially acute observer of the art scene today.Originally delivered as the prestigious Mellon Lectures on the Fine Arts, these writings cover art history, pop art, "people's art," the future role of museums, and the critical contributions of Clement Greenberg--who helped make sense of modernism for viewers over two generations ago through an aesthetics-based criticism. Tracing art history from a mimetic tradition through the modern era of manifestos, Danto shows that it wasn't until the invention of Pop art that the historical understanding of the means and ends of art was nullified. Even modernist art, which tried to break with the past by questioning the ways of producing art, hinged on a narrative.Traditional notions of aesthetics can no longer apply to contemporary art, argues Danto. Instead he focuses on a philosophy of art criticism that can deal with perhaps the most perplexing feature of contemporary art: that everything is possible. (shrink)