Contemporary Art and Its Philosophical Problems

Contemporary Art and Its Philosophical Problems

Contemporary Art and Its Philosophical Problems

Contemporary Art and Its Philosophical Problems

Synopsis

This collection examines the complex intersection where art and philosophy merge. Topics for discussion include the criticism of Robert Wolfe, the minimalist sculpture of the 1960s, the metaphysics of photography, the paintings of Jackson Pollock, and why women have been denied entrance to the pantheon of great artists.

Excerpt

The essays in this volume are for readers who care about the visual arts, but who are not sure how to tell art from entertainment, three-star paintings, contrived "blockbuster shows," or critical hype. This audience cannot be classified as scholarly but it does depend on scholarship. The original draft essays were written by intelligent, thoughtful individuals and should, in their present form, help educated readers find their bearings and become equipped to sort out the premises on which critics and journalists rely.

I initially proposed to publish the essays as coauthored by the respective students and myself after having taken great liberties in editing and revising them. No obstacle bars acting on this resolve. Accordingly, the name of the original author is prefixed to mine: it seems entirely appropriate to credit each of my coauthors for selecting the topics as well as for indicating the ideas that I manipulate or exploit with a view to emphasizing the central unifying theme, that is, the growing disaffection with an "anything goes" attitude toward the arts. The news is that Marshall McLuhan didn't say the last word when he said that "art is anything you can get away with." It may have looked that way in the 1960s; it doesn't now.

In Artworks and Pricetags,Alice Montag tackles this theme by arguing that journalists like Robert Hughes and Tom Wolfe provide pseudo-explanations of alleged malpractices in the "artbiz." She shows that their contentions are antithetical and shallow: shallow, because premised on the belief that artworks are like consumer goods, such as automobiles or apparel, that can be dis-

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