Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace

A friend recommended Arthur Danto's "The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art," which is a scholarly book about the age-old question: What is art? It's a typical philosophy book that gets down to agonizing detail on questions, but I've picked up some insights, such as art being a mirror of reality. Perhaps that's why some of the more ugly or plain contemporary art (like Tracey Emin's Unmade Bed or the plain black canvas surrounded by a frame that I've seen at the Art Institute) have crept into the art scene. So far, and I am not finished with the book, I haven't quite figured out why one piece like that is art, and why another isn't. To be continued...

1 comment:

Bob Hale said...

It's all very subjective isn't it?

For example the "mirror of reality" definition falls when applied to many pieces - particularly abstract pieces.