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Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present Paperback – March 12, 1997


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Paperback, March 12, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (March 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520208463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520208469
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Danto's absorbing essays probe the meaning and inspiration behind the work of some of the 20th century's most influential artists, including Georges Braque, Gustav Klimt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pablo Picasso, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Broader themes emerge within each essay. In his discussion of Warhol, for example, Danto declares, "[T]he significant art of this extraordinary period . . . has to be assessed as much on grounds of speculative theory as on those of aesthetic discrimination." He goes on to characterize the art of the 20th century as "a collective investigation by artists into the philosophical nature of art." Encounters & Reflections won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1990. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Danto, professor of philosophy at Columbia University and art critic for the Nation , culls a diverse selection of his investigations into the art world circa 1986-1990, grouped under the umbrella of Danto's chosen field of expertise: "artphilohistocritisophory" (so named to demonstrate the deeply enmeshed current "complex" of "art makers, art historians, teachers, philosophers, and critics of art" examined here). Forty-two brief "encounters" guide readers through the variously hallowed and embattled halls of New York City's cultural institutions as Danto delves into the meanings and motivations of past masters (Correggio) and contemporary figures (Robert Mapplethorpe) with sweeping enthusiasm. His longer and loftier "reflections" offer theoretical substantiation. The critic perceives "bad aesthetic times" and proffers Warhol's pop commodity aesthetic as evidence that art as conventionally understood has come to an end; discussion should henceforth be couched in philosophical terms. While provocative and often eloquent, the volume may prove cumbersome and overly self-reflexive for those wishing to probe contemporary art in a traditional manner.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luca on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Arthur Danto has graced the art critical stage for over two decades now but no one collection of his writings delves with the accomplished assurance of a critical mind at its highest powers as does his now classic Encounters and Reflections. Here the philosopher of art and art history depicts a landscape that casts shadows on the orthodox mesmerism of art and delineates the distortions that the conventional assumptions convey. Danto has the capacity to portray a very public examination of art as it manifests itself to the eyes of the inquisitive mind devoid of an affluence of taste and a prejudice of theoretical inscriptions. He surveys the gallaries and the museums as a journalist would and raises provocative questions with a sustained critical inventive flair that entertains and instructs alike.

In Encounters and Reflections, Danto broadens the debate on painting and sculture in the late eighties to not only include the major points on the map - recent pop favorites such as Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe - but also current assumptions about the masters - Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, Klee among others - with the same lucidity that characterizes his writings on philosophy, primarily on Nietzsche, Sartre and the American Analytical School. His review of two Whitney Biennals sprawl into a committed investigation of the art scene from a vantage point of an aesthete whose grit is matched only by a desire to reach into the past as a vanishing point so as to better relate the perspective that drives the art world and its genius.
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An art historian's job is to show the public why certain works of art made history: what made them exciting, new and worth seeing for their times. If we can come closer to understanding what excited the viewing public then, we will have far more appreciation for that art now. To my mind, nobody brings art history closer to us, to make us feel its importance both then and now, than The Nation's art critic, Arthur C. Danto. If future generations will have any sense, his Encounters and Reflections will be remembered the way we still remember Diderot's Salons. These are lively, knowledgeable and exciting essays about artistic masterpieces which shouldn't be relegated only to the pages of art history, but also enjoyed by the general public today. Arthur Danto's essays help us savor the delectable pleasure of art.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com
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