We humans are a curious species. Of all the life forms that inhabit the earth, we alone strive to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves. For thousands of years we understood the world through stories. Our ancestors told stories of how the world began, how our people originated and came to be at this place, and how those people across the river or beyond the mountains came to be where they are. Some stories were of animals (...) and plants in our neighborhood, and their powers to help us, feed us, or cure our ailments. But in the last few centuries, starting in Europe and spreading throughout the world, a new way of understanding began competing with storytelling as a means of comprehending our world. Science supplanted storytelling largely because it empowered us to transform the world in ways that were unimaginable to our ancestors. We understand the world scientifically by describing the world instead of by telling stories about it. The stories our ancestors told no longer explain the world, but are data within the world, part of the world that science describes. Our stories have become myths, cultural artifacts that may be interesting and a subject of study, but cannot possibly be true. Yet even in societies that have thoroughly embraced science as a means of understanding the world, myths remain a powerful force. Myth and science exist side by side, often creating confusion and conflict. (shrink)
Our life with art is suffused with trust. We don’t just trust one another’s aesthetic testimony; we trust one another’s aesthetic actions. Audiences trust artists to have made it worth their while; artists trust audiences to put in the effort. Without trust, audiences would have little reason to put in the effort to understand difficult and unfamiliar art. I offer a theory of aesthetic trust, which highlights the importance of trust in aesthetic sincerity. We trust in another’s aesthetic sincerity when (...) we rely on them to fulfill their commitments to act for aesthetic reasons — rather than for, say, financial, social, or political reasons. We feel most thoroughly betrayed by an artist, not when they make bad art, but when they sell out. This teaches us something about the nature of trust in general. According to many standard theories, trust involves thinking the trusted to be cooperative or good-natured. But trust in aesthetic sincerity is different. We trust artists to be true to their own aesthetic sensibility, which might involve selfishly ignoring their audience’s needs. Why do we care so much about an artist’s sincerity, rather than merely trusting them to make good art? We emphasize sincerity when wish to encourage originality, rather than to demand success along predictable lines. And we ask for sincerity when our goal is to discover a shared sensibility. In moral life, we often try to force convergence through coordinated effort. But in aesthetic life, we often hope for the lovely discovery that our sensibilities were similar all along. And for that we need to ask for sincerity, rather than overt coordination. (shrink)
Disgust has been a perennial feature of art from medieval visions of hell to postmodern travesties. The purpose of this chapter is to chart various ways in which disgust functions in artworks both in terms of content and style, canvassing cases in which the content and/or style is literally disgusting in contrast to cases where the disgust serves to characterize the content, often for moral or political or broader cultural purposes.
Introduction -- Landscape and longing -- Art and human nature -- What is art? -- But they don't have our concept of art -- Art and natural selection -- The uses of fiction -- Art and human self-domestication -- Intention, forgery, dada : three aesthetic problems -- The contingency of aesthetic values -- Greatness in the arts.
An artwork in one culture and form, say European classical music, cannot be evaluated in the context of another, say Hindustani music. While a person educated in the traditions of European music can rationally evaluate and discuss her response to a string quartet by Beethoven, her response to music in a foreign culture is merely subjective. She might "like" the latter, but her response is merely subjective. In this paper, I discuss the role of artforms: why response can be "objectively" (...) discussed within artforms, but is nonetheless subjective across them. My discussion falls into two parts. First, I offer a psychological account of aesthetic response to art: cultural learning stabilizes this response across individuals who are educated in an artform. Second, I offer a cultural-evolutionary account of the diversity of artforms, adapting Darwin's Principle of the Divergence of Character to explain the multiplicity of art forms. (shrink)
In this essay, then, I would like to address what I believe are the most compelling epistemic arguments against the notion that literature (and art more broadly) can function as an instrument of education and a source of knowledge.
In Art and intention Paisley Livingston develops a broad and balanced perspective on perennial disputes between intentionalists and anti-intentionalists in philosophical aesthetics and critical theory. He surveys and assesses a wide range of rival assumptions about the nature of intentions and the status of intentionalist psychology. With detailed reference to examples from diverse media, art forms, and traditions, he demonstrates that insights into the multiple functions of intentions have important implications for our understanding of artistic creation and authorship, the ontology (...) of art, conceptions of texts, works, and versions, basic issues pertaining to the nature of fiction and fictional truth, and the theory of art interpretation and appreciation. Livingston argues that neither the inspirationist nor rationalistic conceptions can capture the blending of deliberate and intentional, spontaneous and unintentional processes in the creation of art. Texts, works, and artistic structures and performances cannot be adequately individuated in the absence of a recognition of the relevant makers4intentions. The distinction between complete and incomplete works receives an action-theoretic analysis that makes possible an elucidation of several different senses of "fragment" in critical discourse. Livingston develops an account of authorship, contending that the recognition of intentions is in fact crucial to our understanding of diverse forms of collective art-making. An artist's short-term intentions and long-term plans and policies interact in complex ways in the emergence of an artistic oeuvre, and our uptake of such attitudes makes an important difference to our appreciation of the relations between items belonging to a single life-work. The intentionalism Livingston advocates is, however, a partial one, and accommodates a number of important anti-intentionalist contentions. Intentions are fallible, and works of art, like other artefacts, can be put to a bewildering diversity of uses. Yet some important aspects of art's meaning and value are linked to the artist's aims and activities. (shrink)
This paper takes a cognitive perspective to assess the significance of some Late Palaeolithic artefacts (sculptures and engraved objects) for philosophicalconcepts of art. We examine cognitive capacities that are necessary to produceand recognize objects that are denoted as art. These include the ability toattribute and infer design (design stance), the ability to distinguish between themateriality of an object and its meaning (symbol-mindedness), and an aesthetic sensitivity to some perceptual stimuli. We investigate to what extent thesecognitive processes played a role in (...) the production and appreciation of somerecently discovered Palaeolithic artefacts. (shrink)
According to Arthur Danto, post-modern or post-historical art began when artists like Andy Warhol collapsed the Modern distinction between art and everyday life by bringing “the everyday” into the artworld. I begin by pointing out that there is another way to collapse this distinction: bring art out of the artworld and into everyday life. An especially effective way of doing this is to make street art, which, I argue, is art whose meaning depends on its use of the street. I (...) defend this definition and show how it handles graffiti and public art. (shrink)
This is a critical discussion of Nick Zangwill’s Aesthetic Creation Theory of Art, as he has presented the theory in his book Aesthetic Creation. The discussion focuses on two questions: first, whether the notion of art implied by Zangwill’s theory is at once too wide and too narrow; second, whether Zangwill is right about the persistence conditions of works of art.
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)
British art historian Charles Harrison presumes the existence of a patriarchal world with power in the hands of men who dominate the representation of women and femininity. He applauds the ground-breaking work of feminist theorists who have questioned this imbalance of power since the 1970s. He stops short, however, of accepting their claims that all women have been represented by male artists as images of “utter passivity” (p. 4), routinely reduced by the male gaze to the status of exploited sexual (...) objects, or that women’s subjectivity is eroded by the visual treatment they receive at the hands of male artists such as Manet and Picasso. He wants to show that what is depicted in the picture plane by the (typically male) artist and enjoyed by the (typically male) spectator is more nuanced than just a simple privileged understanding between two men. He adds a third (and possibly fourth or more) party to the mix when he significantly redefines and expands our concept of the gaze: “A gaze may also be conceived of as a function of a painting’s represented content” (p. 9). In other words, a gaze may be “addressed outward by a represented figure,” and regardless of who and where, “the assumption conveyed by the term [‘gaze’] is that some differential and usually asymmetrical relation will be at stake in any exchange between one who directs the gaze and another at whom it is directed. In fact, it is just this difference—in age, in sex, in class, in interest, in power —that the operation of the gaze tends to mark” (p. 9). Referring to a woman depicted within the picture plane, he asks us to consider, “What does it feel like to look like this?” (p. 21) in order to entertain our many emotional responses and interpretations. When he adds, “What does it feel like to whom?” the sexual difference of the spectator also clearly comes into play. (shrink)
The last twenty-five years have seen a radical shift in the work of politically committed artists. No longer content to merely represent social reality, a new generation of artists has sought to change it, blending art with activism, social regeneration projects, and even violent political action. I assess how this form of contemporary art should lead us to rethink theories of artistic value and argue that these works make a convincing case for an often-dismissed position, namely, the pragmatic view of (...) artistic value. However, the pragmatic view, when properly applied, sets the bar high indeed—art that tries to change society should be considered good art only when it succeeds in making a tangible difference. (shrink)
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)
It has been claimed that the prototype theory of concepts supports two controversial claims in the philosophy of art: that art cannot be defined, and that the possession of a certain sort of historical narrative is a sufficient but not necessary means of determining the art status of contested works. It is argued here that two sorts of considerations undermine the thesis that prototype theory offers significant support to anti-definitionism and historical narrativism. First, there is reason to think that prototype (...) theory is as a psychological theory not the sort of view that can support philosophical theories like anti-definitionism and historical narrativism. Second, well-known objections and theoretical alternatives to prototype theory theory raise serious questions about that theory’s own credentials. (shrink)
Aesthetic alienation may be described as the paradoxical relationship whereby art and truth have come to be divorced from one another while nonetheless remaining entwined. J. M. Bernstein not only finds the separation of art and truth problematic, but also contends that we continue to experience art as sensuous and particular, thus complicating and challenging the cultural self-understanding of modernity. Bernstein focuses on the work of four key philosophers—Kant, Heidegger, Derrida, and Adorno—and provides powerful new interpretations of their views. Bernstein (...) shows how each of the three post-Kantian aesthetics to construct a philosophical language that can criticize and displace the categorical assumption of modernity. He also examines in detail their responses to questions concerning the relations among art, philosophy, and politics in modern societies. (shrink)
In “How Art Teaches: A Lesson from Goodman”, Markus Lammenranta inquires if and how artworks can convey propositional knowledge about the world. Lammenranta argues that the cognitive role of art can be explained by revising Nelson Goodman’s theory of symbols. According to Lammenranta, the problem of Goodman’s theory is that, despite providing an account of art’s symbolic function, it denies art the possibility of mediating propositional knowledge. Lammenranta claims that Goodman’s theory can be augmented by enlarging it with an account (...) of direct reference developed by Bertrand Russell and contemporary philosophy of language. On this basis, an expanded version of Goodman’s theory can explain how artworks can express propositions even without being linguistic, representational, or non-fictive. Lammenranta explicates his theory by explaining how abstract paintings and literary fictions can mediate propositional claims about the actual, everyday world. (shrink)
I discuss the aesthetic power of painful art. I focus on artworks that occasion pain by “hitting too close to home,” i.e., by presenting narratives meant to be “about us.” I consider various reasons why such works may have aesthetic value for us, but I argue that the main reason has to do with the power of such works to transgress conversational boundaries. The discussion is meant as a contribution to the debate on the paradox of tragedy.
In recent years, an increasing number of contemporary artists have incorporated live animals into their work. Although this development has attracted a great deal of attention in the artworld and among animal rights activists, it has not been much discussed in the philosophy of art—which is quite remarkable, given the serious ethical and artistic questions that these artworks prompt. I focus on answering two such questions. First, is the use of animals in these artworks ethically objectionable? Or are such artworks (...) instead morally permissible or even laudable? Second, what might be the distinctive value or good of incorporating animals into artworks in this way? In response to both questions, I argue that one distinctive value of some of the artworks I discuss is their ability to facilitate a relationship of moral concern and respect on the part of an audience toward the animals that are a part of the artwork. Insofar as artworks facilitate such relationships, they are not simply artistically important; they are also, to that extent, morally good. (shrink)
Philosophers involved in the ‘porn-or-art’ debates standardly assume that pornography is centrally about sexual arousal, while art is about something else. I argue against this assumption and for the view that there is no single thing that pornography (or art) ‘is about’. This suggests that there is no prima facie reason for claiming that some x cannot be both pornography and art. I further go on to develop an understanding of (what I call) ‘porno-art’ - a wholly new kind of (...) thing developing from the extant categories of pornography and art, but still distinct and separate from them. (shrink)
This article criticizes what I call "Raunchy" feminist art by employing discussions of pornography and objectification from Eaton and Nussbaum. Artists considered include Carolee Schneeman, Cindy Sherman, Lisa Yuskavage, and Jenny Saville. The article includes by citing examples of feminist art dealing with erotic material in a more productive manner: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Kiki Smith, and Marlene Dumas.
The question whether art is of any epistemic value is an old question in the philosophy of art. Whereas many contemporary artists, art-critics, and art-historians answer this question affirmatively, many contemporary philosophers remain skeptical. If art is of epistemic significance, they maintain, then it has to contribute to our quest of achieving our most basic epistemic aim, namely knowledge.Unfortunately, recent and widely accepted analyses of knowledge make it very hard to see how art might significantly contribute to the quest of (...) achieving this aim. Hence, by the lights of recent epistemology, it is questionable whether art is of any epistemic value. In order to hold on to the epistemic value of art, one has three options: (a) reject the recent analyses of knowledge that make the epistemic value of art questionable, (b) accept the recent analyses of knowledge but argue that they are compatible with the epistemic value of art, or (c) find another epistemic aim (besides knowledge) and show that art is of significant help in achieving this aim. In this paper I will argue that, at least with respect to pictorial art, option (c) seems promising. By reconsidering some basic insights and ideas from Nelson Goodman we can identify (objective) understanding as an epistemic aim to which pictorial art makes a significant contribution. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically discuss Riggle’s definition of street art. I argue that his definition has important limitations, and is therefore unsuccessful. I show that his view obscures a defining feature of street art, that is, its subversive power. As a significant consequence of ignoring that essential aspect, Riggle is incapable of fully understanding how street art transforms public space by turning one corner of the city at the time into contested ground. I also suggest that, when appreciating street (...) art's subversiveness, its challenge against the Modern separation of art and life appears more radical than Riggle foresees. (shrink)
In his absorbing book Art as Performance, David Davies argues that artworks should be identified, not with artistic products such as paintings or novels, but instead with the artistic actions or processes that produced such items. Such a view had an earlier incarnation in Currie’s widely criticized “action type hypothesis”, but Davies argues that it is instead action tokens rather than types with which artworks should be identified. This rich and complex work repays the closest study in spite of some (...) basic objections to be raised concerning Davies’s central concept of an action token. (shrink)
The relationship between art and time is one of pre-figuration–transfiguration, a continuous exchange between the art of the present and that of the past and it is in this sense that we can understand how the works of art are have almost their entire life before them. It is in this sense also that the real meaning of metamorphosis should be understood: The works of art are not permanent acquisitions. They offer themselves the ways through which they appear in another (...) light, gathering up at the same time a series of antecedent expressions in an eternity ever to be recreated. Hence, art’s time is neither a-historical nor exclusively history embedded (in history’s empirical sense). Art’s time is trans-historical: artworks, initiating themselves the process of their metamorphosis, ‘transcend’ time being into time and, thus, they ‘traverse’ history. (shrink)
I consider the field of aesthetics to be at its most productive and engaging when adopting a broadly philosophically informative approach to its core issues (e.g., shaping and testing putative art theoretic commitments against the relevant standard models employed in philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind) and to be at its most impotent and bewildering when cultivating a philosophically insular character (e.g., selecting interpretative, ontological, or conceptual models solely for fit with pre-fixed art theoretic commitments). For example, when (...) philosophical aesthetics tends toward insularity, we shouldn’t be surprised to find standard art-ontological categories incongruous with those standardly employed in contemporary metaphysics. Of course, when contemporary metaphysics tends to ignore aesthetic and art theoretic concerns, perhaps we likewise shouldn’t be surprised to find the climate of contemporary metaphysics inhospitable for a theory of art. While this may seem to suggest at least a prima facie tension between our basic art theoretic commitments considered from within philosophical aesthetics and our standard ontological commitments considered from without, I think any perceived tension or antagonism largely due to metaphysicians and aestheticians (at least implicitly) assuming there to be but two available methodological positions with respect to the relationship between contemporary metaphysics and philosophical aesthetics (in the relevant overlap areas). I call these two opposing views the Deference View and the Independence View. I argue that either view looks to lead to what I call the Paradox of Standards. (shrink)
WHAT is art? Classificatory disputes.. Classificatory disputes about what is art SEE this link for the images embeded in the text!! https://ulrichdebalbian.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/classificatory-disputes-about-what-is-art/ -/- Art historians and philosophers of art have long had classificatory disputes about art regarding whether a particular cultural form or piece of work should be classified as art. Disputes about what does and does not count as art continue to occur today -/- Defining art is difficult if not impossible. Aestheticians and art philosophers often engage in disputes (...) about how to define art. By its original and broadest definition, art (from the Latin ars, meaning “skill” or “craft”) is the product or process of the effective application of a body of knowledge, most often using a set of skills; this meaning is preserved in such phrases as “liberal arts” and “martial arts”. However, in the modern use of the word, which rose to prominence after 1750, “art” is commonly understood to be skill used to produce an aesthetic result (Hatcher, 1999). (shrink)
R. G. Collingwood thought that to express emotion is to come to understand it and that this is something art can enable us to do. The understanding in question is distinct from that offered by emotion concepts. I attempt to defend a broadly similar position by drawing, as Collingwood does, on a broader philosophy of mind. Emotions and other affective states have a profile analogous to the sensory profiles exhibited by the things we perceive. Grasping that one's feeling exhibits such (...) a profile is to understand it. That understanding differs from any involved in conceptualizing the affect in question. And, I argue, engagement with the expressive character of works of art is one way to gain it. (shrink)
A standard art-ontological position is to construe repeatable artworks as abstract objects that admit multiple concrete instances. Since photographic artworks are putatively repeatable, the ontology of photographic art is by default modelled after standard repeatable-work ontology. I argue, however, that the construal of photographic artworks as abstracta mistakenly ignores photography’s printmaking genealogy, specifically its ontological inheritance. More precisely, I claim that the products of printmaking media (prints) minimally must be construed in a manner consistent with basic print ontology, the most (...) plausible model of which looks decidedly nominalist (what I call the relevant similarity model) and that as such, photographic artworks must be likewise construed, not as abstracta but as individual and distinct concreta. That is, the correct ontological account of photographic art must be one according to which photographic artworks are individual and distinct concrete artworks. In the end, I show that the ontology of photographic art resists the standard repeatable-work model because the putative repeatability of photographic artworks is upon closer inspection nothing more than the relevant similarity relation between individual and distinct photographic prints. (shrink)
To analyze the relations between art and science, philosophers and historians have developed different lines of inquiry. A first type of inquiry considers how artistic and scientific practices have interacted over human history. Another project aims to determine the contributions that scientific research can make to our understanding of art, including the contributions that cognitive science can make to philosophical questions about the nature of art. We rely on contributions made to these projects in order to demonstrate that art and (...) science are codependent phenomena. Specifically, we explore the codependence of art and science in the context of a historical analysis of their interactions and in the context of contemporary debates on the cognitive science of art. (shrink)
In this chapter I explore what painful art can tell us about the nature and importance of human welfare. My goal is not so much to defend a new solution to the paradox of tragedy, as it is to explore the implications of the kinds of solutions that I find attractive. Both nonhedonic compensatory theories and constitutive theories explain why people seek out painful art, but they have troublesome implications. On some narrow theories of well-being, they imply that painful art (...) is bad for us. Accordingly, we may rightly wonder if it rational for people to watch melodramas or to listen to love songs. One might think that we should generally avoid unpleasant works of art. This implication flirts with absurdity. I show how it can be avoided by making a distinction between well-being and worth. (shrink)
Introduction : normative aesthetics and artistic value -- Culture and artistic value -- Cultural exclusion and the definition of art -- Defining art, defending the canon, contesting culture -- The aesthetic and the artistic -- From beauty to art : developing Kant's aesthetics -- The scope and value of the artistic image -- Distinctive modes of imaging -- Twofoldness : pictorial art and the imagination -- Between language and perception : literary metaphor -- Musical meaning and value -- Eternalizing the (...) moment : artistic projections of time -- Conclusion : the status and future of art. (shrink)
This article offers a detailed textual reexamination of the ‘family resemblance’ passages to reconsider their implications for understanding art. The reassessment takes into account their broader context in the Philosophical Investigations, including the rule following considerations, and draws on a realist interpretive framework associated principally with the work of Cavell, Diamond, McDowell, and Putnam. Wittgensteinian “realism with a human face” helps us discern that the primary issue is not whether certain concepts are definable, posing a stark opposition between essentialism and (...) its denial about kinds such as language or games. What is at issue is keeping uses of language in view in their variety and their broader life contexts. Focus on rules suggests more broadly that norms and values inhere in practices and play a constitutive role in determining the entities integral to those practices. From this perspective, a Wittgensteinian framework explains art as locally overlapping practices, each with their own constitutive norms and values for the works integral to them. What makes something art has normative force specific to a practice. This recognizes the historically contingent nature of art practices in a way that relational definitions or disjunctive ‘cluster’ explanations do not. (shrink)
Empirical aesthetics and philosophy of art are often framed as disciplines in conflict with one another. Psychologists working in empirical aesthetics argue that philosophical theories of art reflect the evaluative biases of critics and experts and so fail as objective accounts of artistic practice. Philosophers argue that the causal-psychological explanations appealed to in empirical aesthetics can not account for the role normative conventions play in appreciative judgements, and so fail to differentiate artworks and artistic practices from ordinary artifacts and behaviors. (...) I argue that this putative conflict can be dissolved by paying attention to the productive role shared normative conventions play in our perceptual engagement with works of fine art. I sketch a hierarchical theory derived from a biased competition account of selective attention that can be used to model these cognitive influences in our engagement with artworks. (shrink)
The book draws on the astonishing scope and depths of Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics, exploring the multifaceted issue of art and the absolute. Why does Hegel ascribe absoluteness to art? What can such absoluteness mean?
In "Convention and Dickie's Institutional Theory" (British Journal of Aesthetics 1980), Catherine Lord maintains the following thesis: (L) If a work of art is defined as institutional and conventional, then the definition precludes the freedom and creativity associated with art. Lord also maintains that the antecedent of this conditional is false. In this note, I argue that (i) certain confusions and assumptions prevent Lord from showing the antecedent is false, and (ii) even if the antecedent is assumed to be true, (...) there are counterexamples to the entire conditional. With regard to (ii), I will suggest that conventionality is necessary for creativity. [This was my first published paper, written as a graduate student, taken from my University of Illinois at Chicago dissertation written with Professor George Dickie on the topic of conventions, utilitizing David Lewis' definition of "convention."]. (shrink)
Art In Its Time takes a close look at the way in which art has become integral to the everyday 'ordinary' life of modern society. It explores the prevalent notion of art as transcending its historical moment, and argues that art cannot be separated from the everyday as it often provides material to represent social struggles and class, to explore sexuality, and to think about modern industry and our economic relationships.
Deconstruction and the Visual Arts brings together a series of new essays by scholars of aesthetics, art history and criticism, film, television and architecture. Working with the ideas of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the essays explore the full range of his analyses. They are modelled on the variety of critical approaches that he has encouraged, from critiques of the foundations of our thinking and disciplinary demarcation, to creative and experimental readings of visual 'texts'. Representing some of the most innovative thinking (...) in the various arts disciplines, these contributions offer important challenges to existing disciplinary orthodoxies. Also included in this volume is a long interview with Derrida, published here for the first time. (shrink)
Sustaining Loss explores the uncanny, traumatic weaving together of the living and the dead in art, and the morbid fascination it holds for modern philosophical aesthetics. Beginning with Kant, the author traces how aesthetic theory has been drawn back repeatedly to the moving power of the undead body of the work of art. He locates the most potent expressions of this philosophical compulsion in Hegel's thesis that art is a thing of the past, and in Freud's view that the work (...) of art is the haunting of the present by the endless suffering of what is dead but still has claims over the living. Sustaining Loss examines not only Kant, Hegel, and Freud, but also the contemporary artists Gerhard Richter and Ilya Kabakov, whose art turns fruitfully against art's own past. (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)
Thanks to his unsurpassed eye and his fearless willingness to take a stand, Clement Greenberg (1909 1994) became one of the giants of 20th century art criticism a writer who set the terms of critical discourse from the moment he burst onto the scene with his seminal essays Avant Garde and Kitsch (1939) and Towards a Newer Laocoon (1940). In this work, which gathers previously uncollected essays and a series of seminars delivered at Bennington in 1971, Greenberg provides his most (...) expansive statement of his views on taste and quality in art, arguing for an esthetic that flies in the face of current art world fashions. Greenberg insists despite the attempts from Marcel Duchamp onwards to escape the jurisdiction of taste by producing an art so disjunctive that it cannot be judged that taste is inexorable. He argues that standards of quality in art, the artist's responsibility to seek out the hardest demands of a medium, and the critic's responsibility to discriminate, are essential conditions for great art. The obsession with innovation the epidemic of newness leads, in Greenbergs view, to the boringness of so much avant garde art. He discusses the interplay of expectation and surprise in aesthetic experience, and the exalted consciousness produced by great art. Homemade Esthetics allows us particularly in the transcribed seminar sessions, never before published to watch the critics mind at work, defending (and at times reconsidering) his theories. His views, often controversial, are the record of a lifetime of looking at and thinking about art as intensely as anyone ever has. (shrink)
In his Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism, Paul Crowther argued that art and aesthetic experiences have the capacity to humanize. In Art and Embodiment he develops this theme in much greater depth, arguing that art can bridge the gap between philosophy's traditional striving for generality and completeness, and the concreteness and contingency of humanity's basic relation to the world. As the key element in his theory, he proposes an ecological definition of art. His strategy involves first mapping out and analyzing the (...) logical boundaries and ontological structures of the aesthetic domain. He then considers key concepts from this analysis in the light of a tradition in Continental philosophy (notably the work of Kant, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Hegel) which--by virtue of the philosophical significance that it assigns to art--significantly anticipates the ecological conception. On this basis, Crowther is able to give a full formulation of his ecological definition. Art, in making sensible or imaginative material into symbolic form, harmonizes and conserves what is unique and what is general in human experience. The aesthetic domain answers basic needs intrinsic to self-consciousness itself, and art is the highest realization of such needs. In the creation and reception of art the embodied subject is fully at home with his or her environment. (shrink)
First published in 1959, this book is concerned with the methodology of art history, and so with questions about historical thinking; it enquires what scientific history of art can accomplish, what are its mean and limitations? It contains philosophical reflections on history and begins with chapters on the scope and limitations of a sociology of art, and the concept of ideology in the history of art. The chapter on the concept of "art history without names" occupies the central position in (...) the book — thoroughly discussing the basic philosophical outlook for the whole work. There are also further chapters on psychoanalysis, folk art and popular art. The chapter on the role of convention in the history of art points the way for further study. (shrink)
Kant, Art, and Art History is the first systematic study of Kant's reception of and influence on the visual arts and art history. Arguing against Kant's transcendental approach to aesthetic judgment, Cheetham examines five 'moments' of his influence, including the use of Kant's political writings among German-speaking artists and critics in Rome around 1800; the canonized patterns of Kant's reception in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art history, particularly in the work of Wölfflin and Panofsky; and the Kantian language in (...) the criticism of Cubism. He also reassesses Clement Greenberg's famous reliance on Kant. The final chapter focuses on Kant's 'image', both in contemporary and posthumous portraits, with respect to his status as the image of philosophy within a disciplinary hierarchy. In Cheetham's reading, Kant emerges as a figure who has constantly erected and crossed the borders among art, its history, and philosophy. (shrink)
This anthology is remarkable not only for the selections themselves, among which the Schelling and the Heidegger essays were translated especially for this volume, but also for the editors' general introduction and the introductory essays for each selection, which make this volume an invaluable aid to the study of the powerful, recurrent ideas concerning art, beauty, critical method, and the nature of representation. Because this collection makes clear the ways in which the philosophy of art relates to and is part (...) of general philosophical positions, it will be an essential sourcebook to students of philosophy, art history, and literary criticism. (shrink)