By Arthur C. Danto
After the top of artwork offers Danto's first full-scale reformulation of his unique perception, exhibiting how, with the eclipse of summary expressionism, paintings has deviated irrevocably from the narrative direction that Vasari helped outline for it within the Renaissance.
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Additional info for After the End of Art
R .. cterized as .... n historical apology for abstract art"- THREE DECADES AFTER THE END OF ART • • • 27 INSTALLATION PHOTOGRAPH. 1ST INTERNATIONAL DADA EXHIBITION. BERLIN 19Z!. PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN BLAZEJEWSKI. " In 1940, when this was published, the only "true road" for art was abstraction. "9 "The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing," Ad Reinhardt wrote in 1962. "The one object of fifty years of abstract art is to present art-as-art and as nothing else ... "lo "There is just one art," Reinhardt said over and over, and he believed fervently that his paintings-black, matte, square-are what art essentially is.
LS This view was transformed into a battle cry by the logical positivist movement, which vowed the extirpation of all metaphysics through demonstrating its nonsense. It was nonsense, the positivists (though not Wittgenstein) claimed, because it was unverifiable. In their view the only meaningful propositions wen~ those of science, and science was marked by its verifiability. That of course left the question of what philosophy itself was to do, and the truth was that the verifiability criterion inevitably turned against its defenders, dissolving itself as nonsense.
One does not need a philosophy to appreciate the impressionists, simply the subtraction of a misleading philosophy, which prevented their first viewers from seeing them for what they were. Impressionist work is aesthetically pleasing, which explains in part why it is so widely admired by people who are not especially partisans of avant-garde art, and also why it is so expensive: it carries the memory of having outraged the critics, at the same time being so enjoyable that it gives those who collect it a sense of terrific intellectual and critical superiority.
After the End of Art by Arthur C. Danto