The Value Of Art: On Meaning And Aesthetic Experience In Difficult Modern Art

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Beauty: New Essays In Aesthetics And The Philosophy Of Art


From Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain and Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes to conceptual art, performanceart, and installation art, art in the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries has, it seems, turnedagainst the pursuit of beauty at least in advanced gallery and museum circles. Criticism, thought,provocation, and meaning matter more than aesthetic pleasure, if it even matters at all. Building onthese developments, Arthur Danto has developed a theory of art as embodied meaning. “I have,” Danto writes, “what I think is a strong argument that accidentalizes the aesthetic. It’s all right if it isthere, but it is all right if it is not.” But is all this right? Are beauty and aesthetic pleasure no longer central values in the practices ofmaking and responding to art? By criticizing Danto’s argument and by considering a range ofexamples from avant-garde art, I will argue that the answer is no: beauty and the aesthetic stillmatter.

Published By

Philosophia Verlag


W. Huemer and Í. V. Ferran

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