"David Davies’s Art as Performance is itself quite a performance. While agreeing with aesthetic contextualism’s rejection of empiricism in aesthetics, it presents a sophisticated and ingenious critique of, and alternative to, even the most enlightened contextualism about the nature, ontology, and value of art, holding that artworks are, all of them, performances by artists, rather than objects made by artists. Davies’s arguments will require, and will richly reward, the most careful attention from his fellow aestheticians." Jerrold Levinson, University of Maryland
"David Davies brings philosophical rigor and fine-grained analytical reasoning to live and pressing debates about the fundamental nature of art. He offers a striking and original thesis as well as an illuminating presentation of the issues. A compelling performance!"
Peter Lamarque, University of York<!--end-->
In this wide-ranging and challenging book, David Davies elaborates and defends a broad conceptual framework for thinking about the arts that reveals important continuities and discontinuities between traditional and modern art, and between different artistic disciplines. The centerpiece is a novel and provocative view about the kinds of things that artworks are, with important consequences for how they are to be understood.Beginning with a lively discussion of the difficulties that audiences experience in their attempts to grasp and appreciate much modern and contemporary art, Davies continues with illuminating considerations of important and influential works from a broad range of artistic media - including painting, music, literature, film, performance, and dance - steadily mounting a bold and persuasive theory of the arts which construes artworks as performances. Replete with examples drawn from both modern and traditional art, the book highlights core topics in aesthetics and art theory, including traditional theories about the nature of art, aesthetic appreciation, artistic intentions, performance, and artistic meaning..