Aesthetic Imperatives and Recent Art Philosophy

Dr. William Folkestad
To add a paper, Login.

With the arrival of the avant-garde, and continuing today, there has been accepted in the humanities what is characterized as the natural relationship between art and its description made explicit in writing. Thus today, this "natural "relationship is unquestioningly accepted as a baseline requirement, such that with every appearance of new art there is a concomitant waiting for its intellectualization and justification as art. This is a traditionally healthy and exciting area of scholarly inquiry in the humanities. However, over the last decade a rapid and broad divergence from traditional modes of expression in western visual art has too often led to an outright rejection of new art forms. This paradox of quick rejection without serious evaluation is often allied to the philosophical employment of aesthetic imperatives (value-based judgments of art) substituting for informed discourse. A minimal experience of art history demonstrates that art is and should be manifestly different from place to place, time to time, and artist to artist. Consequently art is (if the former is accepted) by definition rooted in difference. However, in our overwhelmingly commercially-oriented art worlds, the unexamined "natural" relationship between art and the philosopher/critic allows for the value assigning process to take place without regard to the open-ended scholarly consideration that is the distinguishing feature of the humanities. In the post-avant garde theater, we risk treating any form of activity that is not translatable into an aesthetic imperative as not art, and thus seemingly devoid of value.

The three authors examined here are: Tsion Avital. Art Versus Non Art: Art Out of Mind (Cambridge, 2003); Donald Kuspit. The End of Art (Cambridge, 2004); and Julian Spalding. The Eclipse of Art: Tackling the Crisis in Art Today (Prestel, 2003).

Keywords: Art, Philosophy
Stream: Aesthetics, Design
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Aesthetic Imperatives and Recent Art Philosophy

Dr. William Folkestad

Chair, Department of Art, Central Washington University

Ref: H05P0038