If, in , this story started from the mimetic definition of Platonic philosophy, he then narrates the progressive concept of art created in modernity. He explains that the history of art, because of a mimetic conception, has been understood as a progression towards artistic perfection. On the other hand, the Platonic philosophy mainly influenced what is referred to as the classical age.
This vision was revived in the Renaissance, where it became the legitimizing narrative of a whole culture and of the history of its art. On the other hand, the scientific study of the history of art, based on this mimetic conception, established different stages according to the characteristics and technical advances that made up different styles over time. Once it was possible to establish a history of art according to this concept, it also introduced the possibility of foreseeing the end of this stage.
- The Long Happy Death of Art!
- After the End of Art.
- The End of Art: A Philosophical Defense!
Belting on ancient religious images The German historian showed that these sacred images, although they had artistic value, were revered but not aesthetically admired. It was not until around that they were given a new appraisal. He also signals their exhaustion, pointing to the end of the history of art. In his development of this idea, Danto considers that in the evolution of the narratives of art there are three fundamental milestones: Vasari, Greenberg and the manifestos of the artistic avant-garde. To analyze this current, Danto carries out an interesting reflection on the modern as something distinct from the old and the contemporary.
It was Greenberg who defined modernism by constructing an exposition of the concept of purity in the Kantian sense: an application of art to itself. According to his account, modernism initiated with the painters who began to wonder about the conditions of possibility of artistic representation. But modernism continues with the same perceptual definition of Renaissance.
From Photography to Philosophy: Two Moments oF Post-Traditional Art
According to Danto, in each of their manifestos the desire for purism is also present. The experiments of the avant-garde question the Vasarian narrative and try to end it. Danto points out that the manifestos were the last attempt to identify the essence of art with a particular style:. The deep truth of the historical present, it seems to me, lies in the Age of Manifestos […].
A manifesto singles out the art it justifies as the true and only art as if the movement it expresses had made the philosophical discovery of what art essentially is. But the true philosophical discovery, I think, is that there really is no art more true than any other, and that there is no one way art has to be: all art is equally and indifferently art. But in this case, no longer on the part of philosophy or criticism, but of art itself. Therefore, in this last stage, the self-consciousness of art becomes a reflexivity that leads art to get rid of heteronomous theories.
In this sense, it could be said that art becomes independent, not only of philosophy, as we saw in the first Section, but also of the history of art. And what this means here is not that the history ends as such, but the history in terms of narrative. Moreover, it also refers to an event from the past; hence, it must be evaluated in terms of truth or falseness. In another sense, it is also a fundamental sentence, since it refers not only to a past, but also to a present that expects to be valid in the future as well.
It is not just the recognition that it was a narrative that would not rise again, but it means that no other narrative will rise above the others. When we realize its narrative, constructive component, it ends the possibility that any other narrative will be presented as hegemonic. On the other hand, as a consequence, Danto began to speak later about the post-historic era. However, if there is no history of art, how is it possible to judge works of art? Does Danto fall into relativism? Art was no longer to be moved and directed by history as it had been in the past.
Then, since art would continue, Danto was interested in seeing how art could be understood in this post-historical era. In this work, Danto is ambiguous because he not only speaks of the end of a narrative, but rather points to a new awareness of art that cannot be turned back. With the liberation of art from any alien subjugation, a clarification has been reached about the concept of art that can no longer be reversed. He reveals the conditions of an art that is no longer subject to historical or philosophical laws. With this Hegelian expression, he recalls that in the great narratives of the art there were facts, movements, painters or works that happened but that were not considered significant within the historical narration.
However, in the post-historic period it is worth attending to all the elements that remain in the borders. In this respect, Danto points out that, until now, painting had been the genre that had most contributed to the narrative of art history, but now it has ceased to occupy a privileged place:.
Everything is possible. They do in fact live peacefully together with abstract photography, performances and audiovisual installations. One same artist performs works of various kinds. In this way, the transformation, elaboration, and democratization that the concept of art has experienced have been made manifest.
At the End of His Life, the Philosopher Arthur C. Danto Finally Decides What Art Is
There is today a strong rejection of the romantic conception of the artist, in which only those trained in technique and knowledge have legitimacy to carry out the work of art. Furthermore, the fact that art is no longer subject to a single style allows a wider view of the styles of all ages. The rejection of a master narrative opens the possibility of revising former categorizations of epochs and styles, allowing then to introduce forgotten artists or to redefine the stylistic categories that defined who should be considered better.
In addition, since styles are no longer subject to a historical linearity, it is possible to describe the work of El Greco, Brancusi or Modigliani as Mannerists or Uccello and Seurat as surrealists. Thus, in wondering how art should be understood in the post-historical period, Danto affirms that post-historical art is that art which is no longer limited to the style of an epoch, but which is characterized by freedom and plurality, by the peaceful coexistence of all currents and without hierarchies of any kind. As a matter of fact, Danto does not propose pluralism, considered one of the defining features of the post-historical era, as a theoretical question to be imposed, he rather picks up an attitude already present in the artistic practice.
At the same time, it should also be emphasized that although Danto defends a great artistic plurality, in the philosophical field he directly separates himself from the deconstructivist projects. In fact, the work of art is about something, it always refers to a theory or idea conceptual space , and it is sent back to it through certain means that are its own. The consideration of history does not mean here the renunciation of an essence or a definition. But as we said, we only have two necessary conditions.
Has art ended again?
Although we do not have a definition, I believe that these conditions allow for great clarifications. Could be excluded pieces that have no content, that are not about anything or do not have intentionality. For example, were an animal or robot to make a piece, it could capture colors, but it would have no meaning.
At the same time, meaning it not enough, it needs material expressions. This supposes a limit in the field of conceptual art or performance art. What has changed is that these cannot easily be identified as such, since anything one can think of might be a work of art, and what accounts for this status cannot be a matter of simple recognition. In an interview in Danto claimed that he wanted to separate himself from both modernist and postmodernist critics. That is to say, he rejects the formalism for basing criticism on closed formal criteria, previously established.
There should not be a prior theory of what the work of art should be in order to judge it. At the same time, he rejects the absolute relativism of postmodernists. Both theories forget about the work of art in particular: for having previous criteria or for having renounced to have them. Danto is anti-relativist, but defends pluralism. To understand it, you have to delve into its meaning. For this reason, the first element that must be extracted when judging a work of art is its meaning.
The second element is how that meaning is embodied in the work. It is judged by whether the meaning and its incarnation are adequate or inadequate with respect to each other. The two conditions of his definition of art allow judging not only current works but of any time and place, just as he did: Giotto, Leonardo, Chardin or Jeff Koons. Therefore Danto tried to understand each concrete work until the end and tried to explain to the general public the meanings of the works rather than measuring the visual delight it produced.
Art is Dead?: A Criticial Analysis of Arthur Danto's End of Art Theory
But it has such particular consequences that it can be distinguished as an independent meaning. This new time is no longer governed by the internal and teleological necessity of history, nor by the great narratives that tried to explain everything according to a single point of view. This era, on an artistic level, is characterized by freedom and plurality. The artistic possibilities increase and creativity nourishes the international panorama.
As we have seen, in this context, the concept of art may run the risk of falling into relativism but Danto opposes it with the necessary conditions of art, not subject to historical ups and downs, and with the reflection on the historical context in which it appears. Thanks to them, Danto was able to carry out a critique of plural and serious art for twenty years.
They open a way to reevaluate the art of the past and allow us to establish bridges of understanding with the new art, be it the most contemporary or the art that will be created in the near future. However, the lack of a systematic development on which to support this thesis made him suffer harsh criticism.
For years Danto tried to broaden the arguments to support his proposal. This reflexivity acquired in the artistic field grants freedom to art and at the same time opens a field for philosophy to reflect on the essence of art. Danto never rejected the possibility that a definition of art could be given, though he did not provide it. He focused on the two necessary and universals conditions of possibility for there to be art.
These possibilities only exist if no more narratives of art are going to be given. For this reason, there is an intrinsic relationship between the fact of establishing a condition of possibility of art and the fact that the narratives are finished. However, even if they have finished we still do not completely know what art is. In this sense, Danto seems to go too far in presenting himself as the only one capable of explaining all the changes. Philosophical research on what art is should continue to take steps in this direction.
I consider that this did not meant a change in his premises but an elaboration. The importance of this influence is shown in the weight that he placed on the development of history and the history of art that allows us to read The End of Art as a historiographical thesis. Faced with a widespread misunderstanding about art, Danto has left us a strong foundation on which to support the studies on philosophy of art. Now it is necessary to continue to develop it. Alcaraz, M.