Why Is That Art? Aesthetics and Criticism of Contemporary Art

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-09-30
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Why is that art? Why is it in an art museum? Who says it's art? Why is it good? Author Terry Barrett addresses these questions about contemporary art using four key sources: a broad, diverse, and engaging sampling of works, the artists who created the works, philosophers of art, and art critics.Why Is That Art?introduces students to established theories of art through the presentation of contemporary works that include abstract and representational painting, monumental sculpture, performance art, video installations, films, and photographs. Ideal for courses in aesthetics, art theory, art criticism, and the philosophy of art, this unique book provides students with a newfound appreciation for contemporary art, scholarship, and reasoned argumentation. FEATURES * Explores a variety of established theories of art,including Realism, Expressionism, Cognitivism, Formalism, and Postmodernist Pluralism * Applies each theory to contemporary works of art,discussing strengths and limitations of each mode of interpretation * Brings abstract ideas together in an accessible waythrough extended examples, giving students the understanding and vocabulary to confidently enter critical dialogue about art * Includes Questions for Further Reflectionat the end of each chapter * Includes seventy illustrations,twenty-five of which are in full color NEW TO THIS EDITION * Includes a new glossary of key terms * Expands the treatment of postmodernism,incorporating strategies of postmodernist art-making * Provides updated discussions of artistsJeff Koons, Kiki Smith, Paul McCarthy, and Andy Goldsworthy, as well as images of their new works

Author Biography

Terry Barrett is is Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas and Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xiii
Prefacep. xvii
Introductionp. 1
Artworlds and Definitions: How That Became Artp. 3
Introductionp. 3
Artp. 3
Honorific Definitions of "Art"p. 3
Classificatory Definitionsp. 4
The Open Definitionp. 6
Aestheticsp. 7
Art Criticismp. 8
Interpretation and Judgmentp. 9
Critics on Criticizingp. 10
Criticizing Criticismp. 12
Criticism and Aestheticsp. 13
Skepticism about Art, Aesthetics, and Criticismp. 14
Aesthetics, Art Criticism, and Visual Culturep. 14
Aestheticians, Artists, Critics, and Readersp. 15
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 15
Notesp. 16
Realism: Art Is Realistic, Truthful, and Beautifulp. 19
Introductionp. 19
A Brief Overview of Realismp. 19
Platop. 20
Aristotlep. 22
Kitschp. 25
Pornographyp. 26
Obscenity and Censorshipp. 27
Photography, Reality, and Truthp. 28
What Does It Mean to Say That a Work Is "Realistic"?p. 31
Works of Art by Jeff Koonsp. 33
Critical Commentary on Koons's Workp. 33
Koons's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 42
Paintings by Alexis Rockmanp. 42
Critical Commentary on Rockman's Paintingsp. 43
Rockman's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 47
Photographs by Andres Serranop. 48
Critical Commentary on Serrano's Photographsp. 49
Serrano's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 54
Conclusionp. 56
Realism and Artistsp. 56
Realism and Artworksp. 56
Realism and Audiencesp. 57
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 58
Notesp. 58
Expressionism and Cognitivism: Art Shows Feelings, Communicates Thoughts, and Provides Knowledgep. 63
Introductionp. 63
Expressionism and Cognitivismp. 64
Expressionist and Cognitivist Theories of Artp. 65
Leo Tolstoyp. 66
Benedetto Crocep. 66
R. G. Collingwoodp. 67
Suzanne Langerp. 68
John Deweyp. 68
Nelson Goodmanp. 69
Arthur Dantop. 70
Metaphorp. 71
Psychoanalytic Theoryp. 72
Marxist Aestheticsp. 73
Joan Mitchell, Painterp. 74
Critical Commentary on Mitchell's Paintingsp. 75
Mitchell's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 79
Mitchell and Expressionismp. 81
Louise Bourgeois, Sculptorp. 83
Critical Commentary on Bourgeois's Sculpturesp. 83
Bourgeois's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 90
Bourgeois and Expressionismp. 93
Kiki Smith, Printmaker and Sculptorp. 94
Critical Commentary on Smith's Workp. 94
Smith's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 102
Smith and Cognitivismp. 103
The Problem of Artistic Intentp. 104
Limitations of Expressionism and Cognitivismp. 106
Strengths of Expressionism and Cognitivismp. 107
Conclusionp. 107
Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Artistsp. 107
Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Artworksp. 108
Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Audiencesp. 108
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 109
Notesp. 109
Formalism: Art Is Significant Formp. 115
Introductionp. 115
Precursors to Formalismp. 116
Is Beauty Objective or Subjective?p. 116
Early Formalismp. 118
Aesthetic Attitude and Aesthetic Experiencep. 118
The Sublimep. 120
Immanuel Kantp. 121
G. W. F. Hegelp. 122
Twentieth-Century Formalismp. 123
Early Modern Abstractionists Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Malevichp. 124
Clive Bellp. 125
Clement Greenbergp. 126
Structuralismp. 127
Ferdinand de Saussurep. 127
Roland Barthesp. 129
Structuralism and Formalismp. 131
Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawingsp. 131
Critical Commentary on Martin's Workp. 132
Martin's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 134
Joel Shapiro: Sculpturesp. 137
Critical Commentary on Shapiro's Workp. 138
Shapiro's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 140
Andy Goldsworthy: Environmental Sculpturesp. 142
Critical Commentary on Goldsworthy's Workp. 143
Goldsworthy's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 148
Martin, Shapiro, Goldsworthy, and Formalismp. 151
Strengths and Weaknesses of Formalismp. 152
Conclusionp. 153
Formalism and Artistsp. 153
Formalism and Artworksp. 154
Formalism and Audiencesp. 154
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 154
Notesp. 154
Postmodern Pluralism: Art Destabilizes the Good, the True, the Beautiful, and the Selfp. 161
Introductionp. 161
Precursors to Poststructuralism and Postmodernismp. 162
Friedrich Nietzschep. 162
Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, and Neo-Marxismp. 163
Poststructuralismp. 164
Jacques Lacanp. 165
Michel Foucaultp. 166
Julia Kristevap. 167
Jacques Derridap. 168
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattarip. 169
Richard Rortyp. 170
Feminismp. 171
Postmodernismp. 175
Jean-François Lyotardp. 177
Jean Baudrillardp. 178
Fredric Jamesonp. 179
Postcolonialismp. 179
Cindy Sherman: Photographsp. 181
Critical Commentary on Sherman's Photographsp. 183
Sherman's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 187
Cindy Sherman and Postmodern Pluralismp. 188
Lorna Simpson: Photographs with Wordsp. 189
Critical Commentary on Simpson's Workp. 190
Simpson's Thoughts about Her Own Workp. 194
Lorna Simpson and Postmodern Pluralismp. 195
Paul McCarthy: Performances, Videos, and Sculpturesp. 195
Critical Commentary on McCarthy's Workp. 195
McCarthy's Thoughts about His Own Workp. 201
McCarthy and Postmodern Pluralismp. 205
Strengths and Weaknesses of Postmodern Pluralismp. 205
Approaches to Postmodern Artmakingp. 206
Escaping the Confines of Museumsp. 206
Collapsing Boundaries Between "High" and "Low"p. 207
Rejecting "Originality"p. 207
Jouissancep. 208
Working Collaborativelyp. 208
Appropriatingp. 208
Simulatingp. 209
Hybridizingp. 209
Mixing Mediap. 210
Layeringp. 210
Mixing Codesp. 211
Recontextualizingp. 212
Confronting the Gazep. 212
Facing the Abjectp. 213
Constructing Identitiesp. 213
Using Narrativesp. 214
Creating Metaphorsp. 214
Using Irony, Parody, and Dissonancep. 215
Conclusionp. 215
Postmodern Pluralism and Artistsp. 215
Postmodern Pluralism and Artworksp. 216
Postmodern Pluralism and Audiencesp. 216
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 217
Notesp. 217
Conclusionp. 225
Introductionp. 225
Why Is Stacked Art?p. 225
Art by Definitionsp. 225
Is Stacked a Good Work of Art?p. 227
Realist Considerationsp. 227
Expressionist Considerationsp. 227
Formalist Considerationsp. 228
Postmodernist Considerationsp. 228
Purposes of Artp. 229
Selecting Criteriap. 230
A Single Criterion or Multiple Criteria for All Works of Artp. 230
Questions for Further Reflectionp. 231
Notesp. 231
Glossaryp. 233
Bibliographyp. 241
Indexp. 253
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