extract_II

© giovanni casu, 2016

Extract II:

 

(...) Following Danto’s analysis, an artwork cannot exist outisde the frame of the artworld. We can observe that the “artworld” as defined by Danto has wide and blurry boundaries. A transfiguration takes place when an object is placed in a context defined by artistic theories: “Art is the kind of thing that depends for its existence upon theories; without theories of art, black paint is just black paint and nothing more. (…) So it is essential to our study that we understand the nature of an art theory, which is so powerful a thing as to detach objects from the real world and make them part of a different world, an art world, a world of interpreted things” (Transfiguration of the Commonplace. p. 135).

Arthur Danto defines the artworld as follows: “the artworld provides the theories of art which all members of the artworld tacitly assume in order for there to be objects considered as art” (see "The Artworld," Journal of Philosophy (1964). (...)The artworld does circulate theories about art, and expects members to know them. (...)

N. Carroll provides a useful interpretation of Danto´s approach: “Danto never states his definition of art outright. But he does seem to believe that something is a work of art just in case it (1) is about something (2) about which it projects some attitude or point of view (this is what Danto means by the work’s possession of a style) (3) by means of metaphorical ellipses that (4) depend on some enthymematic material from the historic-theoretical art world context (this material is generally what Danto thinks of as art theories), and that (5) engage the audience in interpreting the metaphors elliptically posed by the work in question.” Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays.(...)

 

Nigel Warburton in his The Art Question wrote ”Why do we want or need a definition at all?(…)Here are three possible uses of a definition of art: 1) To help us decide difficult case. 2) To explain retrospectively why what have been called art is art. 3) To tell us which objects in the world are likely to repay specific kinds of close attention.“ This last 3 point can help us to find why can be useful to find a definition, even if Warburton himself believe that the question “what art is” is unanswerable. "