But this seems to range far afield from the account I initially derived from reading The Transfiguration and its claims that every philosophy of art is just a confession of the kind of art the philosopher prefers. Order our Danto, Arthur (1924-) Encyclopedia Article ... Arthur Danto's contributions to the philosophy of art have been shaped by his experiences as art maker, art critic, and art lover. Often art historians now treat art this way, enabling us to see vanitas paintings in Dutch art, for example, as windows into Dutch views on morality and death. [23] Elkins, p. 33, emphasis in original. But the Danto-esque art critic will also talk about embodiment. Danto explains, "When I undertook to frame the beginning of a philosophy of art, I felt it urgent to work with the most vivid examples I could find. This form of writing would never manage to get art history off the ground, since it "begs the question of what criticism is by making it appear that there is no question. In most cases, this perspective also enters into his reviews by way of his analysis of how artists enact a theory of art in relation to their contemporaries, the art world, and/or their predecessors. He also made an important contribution to the philosophy of history, however, in his ground-breaking text, The Analytical Philosophy of History (1968), which he later expanded to Narration and Knowledge (1985). But does this make his resulting work, whether Fountain or Brillo Box, truly "transformative" in the sense of the term introduced in The Abuse of Beauty? This is a result Danto might not be too happy with. For instance, he wrote, "It is my view that whatever appreciation may come to, it must in some sense be a function of interpretation. Even if the theory itself is a kind of evaluation in the sense that it picks out art that the philosopher "likes" as distinct from non-art which the philosopher "doesn't like" or "doesn't count" as art, there is room for criticism as to how well any given artwork fulfills it. [7] He adds, "In my view, a philosophy of art worthy of the name must be worked out at a level of abstractness so general that you cannot deduce from it the form of any specific style of art. For something to fall under one of the concepts, both necessary and sufficient conditions need to be laid out. This odd and surprising fact reminds us of numerous mirrors as used in prominent predecessors' paintings (like Las Meninas or the Arnolfini Marriage). I understand these questions to be rhetorical and to be clearly expecting the answer "no." A discussion of Danto's system appears in my "Danto as Systematic Philosopher, or; comme on lit Danto en franqais," in Arthur Danto and His Critics, ed. Among many ways in which Arthur Danto's The Transfiguration of the Commonplace has had a major impact on how the philosophy of art is conducted is through its extensive range of wonderful examples, from the fateful Brillo Box to Rauschenberg's messy Bed and back in history to works like Bruegel's Fall of Icarus. The cultural critic puts art into a social context and sometimes relates it to current popular phenomena like TV shows or social movements. It is a kind of art that, on Danto's view, has as its main message or meaning the point that "this too can be art." "Danto is an elegant and erudite writer, and his sentences go down smoothly. In his more recent work Danto has explored a "Hegelian" view that art is primarily about art, but this view too does not allow for art to be evaluated or "criticized" on the basis of whether or how well it tackles the more profound questions of meaning. Or again, in writing about some early work by Eva Hesse, Danto shows how wrong Hilton Kramer got it when he argued the work was a translation of Pollock's drip paintings into sculptural randomness. [9] This point is related to criticisms that state that there is no room for any relevant notion of aesthetic properties of objects on the institutional view of art Danto endorses; see Noël Carroll, "Introduction" to Theories of Art Today (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000). Arthur C. Danto, After the End of Art: Has the notion that painting has died through its own historical self-fulfillment true or false? And in my view, it's the embodiment of the Warhol or the Duchamp that seem so lacking in aesthetic appeal and that make the encounter with these works less fully transformative. 1-7. C. Grayling, Financial Times". He has been unusual in covering a very wide range of art, writing not only about major contemporary figures (Koons, Mapplethorpe, Sherman, Schnabel) but about historical figures as well (Goya, Sargent), and also about non-western art (Chinese, African, etc.). This leaves open the question of which meanings count as valuable or important. • Arthur Coleman Danto, philosopher and art critic, born 1 January 1924; died 25 October 2013. It should have application to modern and ancient art, to Eastern and Western art, to representational and abstract art" ("Learning to Live with Pluralism", in Beyond the Brillo Box, pp. This can happen if, when the artist makes us think about art, he or she also inspires us with a new attitude or approach to our lives. Having surveyed these basic types of criticism, Elkins clearly is seeking a discourse of reasons that involves some process of evaluation. He could hardly have foreseen at that time his 20+-year career in this alternative field which, he later remarked, allowed him "to philosophize in the large way of the earlier essayists. Note here that, since everything which is art has to conform to the theory if it is any good at all, no art better exemplifies it than any other. Concepts are used apart from standard scholarly references or sources and applied in an idiosyncratic fashion to the work under consideration. Yet surely, given any particular historical philosophical definition or theory of art, there is room for criticism. Before explaining those ideas, he does some botanizing and sorts art criticism (and critics) into seven camps. There might, of course, be a link between art that is about art and art that offers us insight into life. But on this point Danto's own art criticism seems to have taken on a direction of its own, maybe a bit apart from his theory of art and its philosophy. Indeed, Danto remarks, the artist's near-obsessive studies of this topic suggest "that he comes close to blaming a great many social ills on perspective. [24] These seem to me perfectly good criteria for the kind of art criticism I also would like to see, evaluative and rational art criticism. This is getting at the transformative power of art as part of an experience that is also transformative of vision and, through this, of our experience of life itself. The Need for Evaluation or, What Happened to Art Criticism? Philosophy of art cannot be art criticism in the sense of distinguishing good from bad art, because it involves instead differentiating art from non-art. It seems Danto himself has recognized this need and moved more in this direction in some of his recent works, particularly The Abuse of Beauty. The Multimedia Study Environment (MSE) for Arthur C. Danto's 1964 essay "The Artworld" ushers the reader into the artistic and philosophical scene of the mid-1960s America. To begin, I will review how Danto's philosophy of art led to his view of criticism as interpretation. But the problems go beyond the odd misfire among the contributions. Hence, the critic's role as the interpreter of art's embodied meanings encompasses discussion of the approach artworks take to such large human issues as the nature of marriage, the purpose of life, the meaning of death, and so on. "Art, Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art " by Arthur C. Danto Humanities, Vol. Regarding the former, Danto touches on two of his views on art. He alleges that, "Danto has not theorized the different force of the new, allegedly non-historical art criticism, and it seems to me that it cannot be theorized. It can apply equally well to works from the past that use now-outdated theories of art (as, say, imitation or significant form) and to contemporary art that has become a kind of meta-art or itself a philosophy of art. "[1] In this, he went against the grain of what he has called the "disillusioning" aesthetics texts of the time, which conducted students "through a canon of writing that has, typically, so little to do with the art he or she is gripped by as to reinforce a thesis that philosophers philosophize in the void. In discussing the claim that art is an object with a theory, or a meaning embodied somehow, I have focused mainly on the issue of the relevant theory or meaning. If art can do this broader thing, then the "embodied meanings" it is the task of the critic to distill for us in art are meanings of all sorts on almost all topics, and not simply meanings having to do with what counts as art. Thus on the Platonic view, greater illusionism or a more perfect mimesis will be a plus, just as on the significant form view, more significant form will be a plus. Danto's philosophy of art commits him to an account of the practice of art criticism as interpretation. Arthur Danto, the influential art critic and a professor emeritus of aesthetics and history at Columbia University, once famously declared the End of Art. Where can Art go from here? Philosophers have defined art (developed theories of art) based on their own views of what counts as art. In The Abuse of Beauty, Danto spells this out; I have in mind in particular Chapter 6 of that book, "Three Ways to Think about Art." But now, somewhat surprisingly, Danto speaks of a third model of art writing as "poetic and subjective" and admits that he is himself drawn to such an approach. After explaining the influence of Surrealism upon the photographer, Danto comments that in his work, Cartier-Bresson managed to reveal the surrealism that exists all around us in nature. 5. Film Books Music Art & design TV & radio But such an approach cannot help identify quality or even pinpoint which artists and works are worth writing about in the first place. These are as follows (I use his labels): the catalog essay, the academic treatise, cultural criticism, the conservative harangue, the philosopher's essay, descriptive art criticism, and poetic art criticism. He writes: The argument suggested by this passage goes as follows: Philosophy of art is a theory of what counts as art. . It was not clear in the mid-1960s to easily pick artworks from a grouping of non-artworks because art was developed with close resemblance to non-artworks (Danto 129). 230-31). 1-2 Editor's Note: Materials in Humanities (published by the National Endowment for the Humanities) are not copyrighted, as they are publications of the U.S. Government. It is not altogether clear that Elkins thinks this current state of affairs can be changed. The thirty-third volume of the Library of Living Philosophers is dedicated to the life and thought of Arthur Danto, the philosopher and art critic who died last October. (Oct. 15, 1964), pp. After considering and dismissing a number of definitions, Danto comes down on one that he thinks captures the “artness of art”: artworks are embodied meanings. Philosophy of art is and has always been (simply and in disguise) art criticism. We now see artists presenting as art things that are in essence bits of philosophy, as they give us the Bottle Rack or Brillo Box or other indiscernible counterpart of some real thing "transfigured" by theory to become art. Arthur C. Danto, a philosopher who became one of the most widely read art critics of the Postmodern era, championing avant-garde artists like Andy Warhol and proclaiming the end of art … Elkins comments these take up a lot of the space of art criticism, but are probably the least read of critical essays; since they function to fill out the coffee table book. The second way is to regard art as a window into a culture. 61, No. First, he describes the painter's affinities with Velázquez, both in the use of paint and also in showing scenes of darkness "slashed with light." 'Discovery' of a whole new class of artworks is akin to the discovery of a whole new class of facts. However, for art to be fundamentally about art—for art to be in its essence a philosophy about or of art—is very different than for art to be philosophy in the sense Danto has in mind in The Abuse of Beauty where he has in mind discussion of the "large issues" of life. “In our narrative, at first only mimesis [imitation] was art, then several things were art but each tried to extinguish its competitors, and then, finally, it became apparent that there were no stylistic or philosophical constraints. Though seems rather far from Danto's treatment of art as a form of philosophy, in elaborating on this third idea, Danto reiterates his commitment to criticism as a rational account of embodied meanings: I think there has been a form of slippage here, which arises in trying to understand how Danto both uses and disagrees with Hegel's idea that art, at its end, turns into philosophy. The first is what Kant calls “spirit,” which differs from Hegel’s idea of Spirit (discussed below). Theories of art may be striking and original but they will not be able to be truly "transformative" until they are embodied in something real—in something sensuous and skillful, that exists in paint or stone, in a realm more concrete than theories ever dreamed of. Arthur Danto (1924-2013) was a famous, much published philosopher. This is a one minute speech worth 50 points. For example, he thinks that Sargent's ability with the wrist is phenomenal, reminiscent of that of Velázquez—a level of skill that has now, alas, vanished. The influence is undeniable, the importance determined by how important people take it to be, and the underlying arguments in relation to reality bonkers. Perhaps a breakthrough artist like Duchamp or Warhol could be credited with an originality of vision in resisting the dominant views about art in his era. Art ended before I was born,… . Danto’s view is that this was an illusion, that this kind of art-historical progression was over. 1"% view, art does not progressalong a linearpath, but rather is simplya discontinuous manifestationof each artist's independentattempt at self-expression. To the extent that he mentioned criticism in Transfiguration, Danto's remarks were easy to miss. The meaning is in the embodiment just as the soul is in the body, just as Danto has adduced on numerous occasions. 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