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Since 1984, when he became art critic for The Nation, Arthur C. Danto, one of America’s most inventive and influential philosophers, has also emerged as one of our most important critics of art. As an essayist, Danto’s style is at once rigorous, incisive, and playful. Encounters and Reflections brings together many of his recent critical writingson artists such as Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Robert Mapplethorpe; and on the significance of issues like the masterpiece and the museum. The result is a spirited brief from the front lines of current aesthetic and philosophical debate.
Arthur Danto’s new collection finds him, and the art world, at a point when the art world has become pluralistic, even chaotic—with one medium as good as the next—when the moment for “next things” has passed.
Since 1984, when Danto—already an eminent philosopher—became The Nation’s art critic, he has been one of the foremost theorists of contemporary art’s history and evolution, and at the same time the most incisive and illuminating critic of new work. In his view, the historical development of art reached a kind of zenith in the pop period, most famously with Warhol’s Brillo Boxes. Danto’s five volumes of review essays (all published by FSG) form a kind of chronicle of the art world since the Brillo moment, and a running appraisal of the great variety of significant work made since then. In this new book, he shows how work that bridges the gap between art and life is now the definitive work of our time: Damien Hirst’s arrays of skeletons and…[more]