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The End of Art Paperback – February 7, 2005

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521540162 ISBN-10: 052154016X Edition: 1st Pbk. Ed

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an excellent book for understanding the post-modern art scene and how the next generation of visual artists might proceed."
-Tampa Tribune

"Kuspit's view is persuasive...The End of Art didn't make my mind up for me; rather, it opened up room for debate with artist friends and fellow gallery hoppers about the definition of art, whether it can be judged according to a universal standard and where it's going. It made me more aware of my powers of perception and my power as a perceiver, and encouraged me to seek out art that pleases me, for whatever reason."
-The Nation

Book Description

In The End of Art, Donald Kuspit argues that art is over because it has lost is aesthetic import. Tracing the demise of aesthetic experience to the works and theory of Marcel Duchamp and Barnett Newman, Kuspit argues that devaluation is inseparable from the entropic character of modern art, and that anti-aesthetic postmodern art is if final state. In reaction to the emptiness and stagnancy of postart, Kuspit signals the aesthetic and human future that lies with the New Old Masters.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (February 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052154016X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521540162
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #865,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By John A. Gargano on April 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Donald Kuspit submits an astute assessment of the current state of contemporary cognitive expression which many people erroneously call "art". He has accurately identified that most of today's contemporary "art" is preoccupied with joyless ideological and intellectual concepts which fail to provide an aesthetic experience. He clearly describes how the product of the intellect clearly differs from expressions that emanate from the depths of ones subconscious mind, ones psyche or one's soul. Mr. Kuspit thoroughly examines, in what is sometimes a difficult read (for that which is clearly non-trivial subject matter), the origins of post-art, the departure from an aesthetic orientation and why so much of today's work is simply the banal placed on a pedestal by those who have taken their identity from the crowd. While some of this book may be difficult to comprehend initially, or all in one reading, it is not simply a restatement of conventional understanding about the subject. There is much original thought backed up by very thorough construction of its thesis. While it must have been extremely tempting, I don't believe Mr. Kuspit ever used the word "junk", one time. This book is very much a level above common discourse on this subject and deserving of consideration by those who wish to consider what constitutes a truly aesthetic experience.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By anya_galkina@hotmail on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I don't think that a criticism of postmodern art should be automatically classified as right-wing propaganda, the way my fellow reviewer has done. If the reader can temper a knee-jerk defense reaction to having some sacred contemporary-art cows interrogated, this is a very interesting analysis, one I haven't fully digested yet because it's complex and well-thought out.
I am an artist puzzling with how little food for the soul can be found in contemporary galleries, and how little actual insight they hide beneath the veneer of polysyllabic mental smog. Soiled mattresses and sliced-up cows leave me disappointed in way I want to understand. I found this book a good stepping stone in trying to sort out both what "post-art" is lacking and where to take my own art practice.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Carmen M. Megeath on July 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous book, explaining in a clear but philosophical manner the crisis modern art finds itself in.
If you've ever wondered WHY so much of modern art is ugly, offensive, boring, text-and-technology driven, then here's the book for you. If you worship at the altar of Pop Art, then you shall be discomfitted. And you shall squirm as the author analyzes the core meaning behind the art of icons like Duchamp (even Courbet), and what this anti-art-street-art-spectacle-art has led to(it all seemed marvelous at the time). But never fear, there seems to be hope at the end of the tunnel (end of book), though the examples of paintings by the New Old Masters left me a bit cold....(if this is our hope, then.....). Kuspit is fair, and generous in his list of what he considers "good" art to be. He gives Abstract Expressionism its due, as well as speaking the very word "beauty." I applaud Donald Kuspit for laying it on the line - the Emperor Has No Clothes. We have observed for years that modern painting, more than any of the other art forms (music, poetry, dance, literature) has painted itself into a strange, dull corner. It seems, for a host of traumas and reasons, unable to address the spiritual.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. J MOSS on August 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wonder if,'The End Of Art' signals the end of Don Kuspit's tirade against post-modernism. He's not the first to decry the cynicism, the anti-aestheticism, and material poverty of art since the Second World War. However,he is a particularly coherent and vehement spokesman for the return of' New old Masters' and the wall of art market hogwash in which they are embattled. Kuspit's brush is broad. To set his agenda,he summons Baudelaire's famous descriptions of incipient modernism from 'The Salon of 1846', which I first encountered courtesy of the enthralling Peter Schjeldahl. The worm was in the wood with the rise of new capitalism. Manet and Courbet's'slice of life' paintings paved the way for a levelling out of subject matter and the skills to depict it. Apart from his repetitive depreciation of(borrowing from 'Happening's master, Alan Kaprow)'postart', there are cogent summaries of several luminaries who highlight contemporary art's dilemna. Concurrent with Nietzsche's declaration that God was dead, Van Gogh endowed art with human purpose transforming it into the living religion of god. He is the foil to postart's, vaccuuous Warhol who assimilated art into money, diminishing its spirituality and integrity. Schjeldahl would never decry Andy! Duchamp's nihilistic pessimism, confusing banality of mundane objects with art, has robbed art these subsequent 90 years of its transformative values, to place us'in a radically different emotional place than we are in everyday life - a place that seems beyond life, however lifelike. This is as much liberation from life as it is possible to have while living.' Kuspit does report on the return to the studio of the New old Masters, though I'm wary of some of his nominations. Lucien Freud is indisputable.Read more ›
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