Encounters and Reflections

Arthur Coleman Danto, Author
Arthur Coleman Danto, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-14819-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Danto, professor of philosophy at Columbia University and art critic for the Nation , culls a diverse selection of his investigations into the art world circa 1986-1990, grouped under the umbrella of Danto's chosen field of expertise: ``artphilohistocritisophory'' (so named to demonstrate the deeply enmeshed current ``complex'' of ``art makers, art historians, teachers, philosophers, and critics of art'' examined here). Forty-two brief ``encounters'' guide readers through the variously hallowed and embattled halls of New York City's cultural institutions as Danto delves into the meanings and motivations of past masters (Correggio) and contemporary figures (Robert Mapplethorpe) with sweeping enthusiasm. His longer and loftier ``reflections'' offer theoretical substantiation. The critic perceives ``bad aesthetic times'' and proffers Warhol`s pop commodity aesthetic as evidence that art as conventionally understood has come to an end; discussion should henceforth be couched in philosophical terms. While provocative and often eloquent, the volume may prove cumbersome and overly self-reflexive for those wishing to probe contemporary art in a traditional manner. (May)
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