By Maarten Doorman, Sherry Marx
In this challenging essay, Maarten Doorman argues that in art, belief in progress is still relevant, if not essential. The radical freedoms of postmodernism, he claims, have had a crippling effect on art, leaving it in danger of becoming meaningless. Art can only acquire meaning through context; the concept of progress, then, is ideal as the primary criterion for establishing that context. The history of art, in fact, can be seen as a process of constant accumulation, works of art commenting on one another and enriching one another's meanings. It is these complex interrelationships and the progress they create in both art and its observers that Doorman, in a display of great philosophical erudition, defends.