Public Reasons in Art-Making

Whatever passes as the art of the middle-ages, whatever we think of it now, it surely was not thought so at the time.  Much of the art of the epoch that has come down to us existed, then as religious iconography in the sense of the term then understood.  This implies that whether there are or are not clear defintions of art and art-making, there surely are conventional and public reasons that make a work of art understood as such.  Those reasons can be aesthetic, though now often, they are purely philisophic reasons that also bear on the history of art-making.

Hence, even if an artist were to seek the rebirth of art through whatever means, the pure function of art as representing something forces upon that avante gardist a public reason that endorses his work as art.  This is Arthur Danto talking of course, and I have come to endorse that vision of art-production as well, though I am looking back at history in my work. I have no time, nor any thought of a tomorrow that does not depend in large measure on my today and all our yesterdays.

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~ by Faheem Haider on December 25, 2009.

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