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What Art Is

by Arthur C. Danto Yale University Press
Pub Date:
04/2014
ISBN:
9780300205718
Format:
Pbk 192 pages
Price:
AU$24.99 NZ$25.21
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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What is it to be a work of art? Renowned author and critic Arthur C. Danto addresses this fundamental, complex question. Part philosophical monograph and part memoiristic meditation, What Art Is challenges the popular interpretation that art is an indefinable concept, instead bringing to light the properties that constitute universal meaning. Danto argues that despite varied approaches, a work of art is always defined by two essential criteria: meaning and embodiment, as well as one additional criterion contributed by the viewer: interpretation. Danto crafts his argument in an accessible manner that engages with both philosophy and art across genres and eras, beginning with Plato's definition of art in The Republic, and continuing through the progress of art as a series of discoveries, including such innovations as perspective, chiaroscuro and physiognomy. Danto concludes with a fascinating discussion of Andy Warhol's famous shipping cartons, which are visually indistinguishable from the everyday objects they represent. Throughout, Danto considers the contributions of philosophers including Descartes, Kant and Hegel, and artists from Michelangelo and Poussin to Duchamp and Warhol in this far-reaching examination of the interconnectivity and universality of aesthetic production.
'This accessible book is the culmination of the late Danto and rsquo;s lifelong investigation into the concept of art. Through an inspired range of historical and contemporary examples, he explicates his institutional definition of artworks as and lsquo;embodied meanings and rsquo; that can take on just about any shape or form. In this radical view, the properties that render something a work of art are invisible.' and mdash;Constantine Sandis, THES Constantine Sandis THES
Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Columbia University and art critic for The Nation.