Adam Ash

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Arthur Danto art reviews collected in new book

''I was in a sense the first posthistorical critic of art ... What was special about me was that I was the only one whose writing was inflected by the belief that we were not just in a new era of art, but in a new kind of era.'' Greenberg was set on his critical path by Jackson Pollock. Andy Warhol performed the same function for Danto, who argues that ever since Warhol's Brillo boxes of 1964, an art object could be anything at all (or even nothing), that for the first time in history artists were free to do whatever they wanted--to slice up dead animals, throw elephant dung on canvases, display their soiled underwear and used tampons, mold images of themselves out of their own blood. In this world of total freedom, the actual physical attributes of a work counted for less than its philosophical justifications. All art had become conceptual art, and the job of the critic was to articulate what meaning the particular artist wished to convey and how that meaning was embodied in the work at hand. If Greenberg was the oracle of the drip and stain, Danto is the evangelist of the sanguinary and excremental. His new collection, Unnatural Wonders, includes discerning discussions of provocative postmodern superstars like Damien Hirst, Yoko Ono, Gerhard Richter, Matthew Barney and Jeff Koons. Click for more here.


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