㰀栀琀洀氀 砀洀氀渀猀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀眀㌀⸀漀爀最⼀㤀㤀㤀⼀砀栀琀洀氀∀㸀㰀洀攀琀愀 栀琀琀瀀ⴀ攀焀甀椀瘀㴀∀䌀漀渀琀攀渀琀ⴀ琀礀瀀攀∀ 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㴀∀琀攀砀琀⼀栀琀洀氀㬀挀栀愀爀猀攀琀㴀唀吀䘀ⴀ㠀∀ ⼀㸀 㰀洀攀琀愀 渀愀洀攀㴀∀䐀䄀吀䔀∀ 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㴀∀㌀⼀⼀㈀ ∀ ⼀㸀 㰀氀椀渀欀 爀攀氀㴀∀猀琀礀氀攀猀栀攀攀琀∀ 琀礀瀀攀㴀∀琀攀砀琀⼀挀猀猀∀ 栀爀攀昀㴀∀⸀⸀⼀挀猀猀⼀猀挀爀攀攀渀⸀挀猀猀∀ 洀攀搀椀愀㴀∀猀挀爀攀攀渀∀ ⼀㸀 㰀猀挀爀椀瀀琀 猀爀挀㴀∀⸀⸀⼀樀猀⼀搀眀开攀瘀攀渀琀⸀樀猀∀ 琀礀瀀攀㴀∀琀攀砀琀⼀樀愀瘀愀猀挀爀椀瀀琀∀㸀㰀⼀猀挀爀椀瀀琀㸀 㰀猀挀爀椀瀀琀 猀爀挀㴀∀⸀⸀⼀樀猀⼀搀眀开猀椀稀攀爀搀砀⸀樀猀∀ 琀礀瀀攀㴀∀琀攀砀琀⼀樀愀瘀愀猀挀爀椀瀀琀∀㸀㰀⼀猀挀爀椀瀀琀㸀 㰀琀椀琀氀攀㸀 Modernism, Postmodernism, or Neither? A Fresh Look at "Fine Art" (Aristos, August 2005)㰀⼀琀椀琀氀攀㸀 㰀戀漀搀礀㸀
This is a revised version of a talk given at the annual meeting of the National Art Education Association, in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 4, 2005. It has been reprinted, with the addition of source notes, in the May/June 2006 issue of Arts Education 倀漀氀椀挀礀 刀攀瘀椀攀眀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀㰀⼀猀瀀愀渀㸀
䤀渀 䨀愀渀甀愀爀礀Ⰰ 琀爀愀猀栀 挀漀氀氀攀挀琀漀爀猀 椀渀 䘀爀愀渀欀昀甀爀琀Ⰰ 䜀攀爀洀愀渀礀Ⰰ 栀愀甀氀攀搀 愀眀愀礀 眀栀愀琀 愀瀀瀀攀愀爀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀 愀 栀攀愀瀀 漀昀 愀戀愀渀搀漀渀攀搀 戀甀椀氀搀椀渀最 洀愀琀攀爀椀愀氀猀 琀栀攀礀 栀愀搀 昀漀甀渀搀 漀渀 愀 city street. When the head of sanitation later read in the newspaper about an exhibition of public sculpture in progress, he realized that the heap爀攀洀漀瘀攀搀 戀礀 栀椀猀 洀攀渀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 猀甀戀猀攀焀甀攀渀琀氀礀 椀渀挀椀渀攀爀愀琀攀搀Ⰰ 眀愀猀 椀渀琀攀渀搀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀 愀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 愀爀琀⸀ ∀䤀 搀椀搀渀✀琀 爀攀挀漀最渀椀稀攀 椀琀 愀猀 愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 栀攀 猀愀椀搀Ⰰ 愀猀 爀攀瀀漀爀琀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 London Guardian. Thirty of the city's sanitation workers were subsequently sent to "modern art" classes to learn to avoid such mistakes in the昀甀琀甀爀攀⸀
Closer to home, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a rundown building was recently slated for demolition as part of the city's redevelopment program.圀栀攀渀 琀栀攀 栀攀愀搀 漀昀 琀栀愀琀 瀀爀漀最爀愀洀 眀愀猀 愀猀欀攀搀 眀栀愀琀 栀攀 瀀氀愀渀渀攀搀 琀漀 搀漀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀 漀渀 琀栀攀 猀椀搀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 戀甀椀氀搀椀渀最Ⰰ 栀攀 爀攀瀀氀椀攀搀Ⰰ 椀渀 攀昀昀攀挀琀Ⰰ 圀栀愀琀 愀爀琀㼀 䄀氀琀栀漀甀最栀 he had often walked by it, he had never noticed a work of art there. After being informed of its existence, he remarked: "It just looks like a metal最爀椀搀⸀ 䤀 琀栀漀甀最栀琀 椀琀 眀愀猀 猀漀洀攀 欀椀渀搀 漀昀 挀漀渀搀攀渀猀愀琀椀漀渀 瀀椀瀀攀猀⸀∀ 䄀挀挀漀爀搀椀渀最 琀漀 愀甀琀栀漀爀椀琀椀攀猀 挀漀渀猀甀氀琀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 洀愀琀琀攀爀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀ⴀⴀ椀渀搀椀瘀椀搀甀愀氀猀 爀愀渀最椀渀最 昀爀漀洀 the director of the Smithsonian Institution's "Save Outdoor Sculpture!" program to a professor of sculpture at Temple University--the piece (an愀爀爀愀渀最攀洀攀渀琀 漀昀 琀栀椀爀琀礀ⴀ昀椀瘀攀 最愀氀瘀愀渀椀稀攀搀 猀琀攀攀氀 戀愀爀猀⤀ 椀猀 渀漀琀 漀渀氀礀 愀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 愀爀琀 戀甀琀 愀渀 㰀攀洀㸀椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 漀渀攀Ⰰ 戀礀 ∀漀渀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 琀漀瀀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀猀∀ 漀昀 琀栀攀 time, as one expert put it.
Numerous incidents of this kind have been reported in recent years. In more than one case, a work in a gallery of "contemporary art"--by a栀椀最栀氀礀 攀猀琀攀攀洀攀搀 洀攀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀ⴀⴀ眀愀猀 爀攀洀漀瘀攀搀 戀礀 琀栀攀 挀氀攀愀渀椀渀最 猀琀愀昀昀Ⰰ 眀栀漀 洀椀猀琀漀漀欀 椀琀 昀漀爀 琀爀愀猀栀⸀ ⠀匀攀攀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ ∀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀眀愀猀琀攀愀最攀⸀挀漀洀⼀洀愀最⼀眀愀猀琀攀开攀礀攀开戀攀栀漀氀搀攀爀⼀∀㸀䤀渀 琀栀攀 䔀礀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 Beholder" and "Cleaner bins rubbish bag artwork.")
The question is, How have we reached the point in the civilized world where a purported work of art can't be distinguished from a pile of rubbish漀爀 愀 最爀椀搀 漀昀 挀漀渀搀攀渀猀愀琀椀漀渀 瀀椀瀀攀猀㼀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 吀栀攀 愀渀猀眀攀爀 琀漀 琀栀愀琀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀 氀椀攀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 戀愀猀椀挀 愀猀猀甀洀瀀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 渀攀愀爀氀礀 攀瘀攀爀礀漀渀攀 椀渀 琀漀搀愀礀✀猀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀ⴀⴀ昀爀漀洀 philosophers of art to critics to would-be artists to teachers of art. In their view, art cannot be defined. Virtually anything is accepted as art if a爀攀瀀甀琀攀搀 愀爀琀椀猀琀 瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀猀 椀琀 愀猀 猀甀挀栀⸀ 䄀渀搀 洀愀渀礀 眀漀甀氀搀ⴀ戀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀猀 攀愀最攀爀 琀漀 洀愀欀攀 愀 渀愀洀攀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀洀猀攀氀瘀攀猀 漀渀 琀栀攀 ∀挀甀琀琀椀渀最 攀搀最攀∀ 欀攀攀瀀 ∀瀀甀猀栀椀渀最 琀栀攀 envelope" of what is accepted--to borrow two of the clichés employed by critics nowadays. (The only contemporary artists categorically攀砀挀氀甀搀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 猀攀爀椀漀甀猀 挀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀 椀渀 琀漀搀愀礀✀猀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀 愀爀攀 瀀愀椀渀琀攀爀猀 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀漀爀猀 眀漀爀欀椀渀最 椀渀 愀 ∀琀爀愀搀椀琀椀漀渀愀氀∀ 猀琀礀氀攀ⴀⴀ甀渀氀攀猀猀Ⰰ 氀椀欀攀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀挀洀漀愀⸀漀爀最⼀椀渀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀⼀栀琀洀氀⼀愀爀琀⼀挀甀爀爀椀渀⸀栀琀洀∀㸀䨀漀栀渀 䌀甀爀爀椀渀㰀⼀愀㸀 [more], for example, they employ it for the ironic or politically correct themes approved by postmodernist theorists and critics.)
Yet ordinary people like the Frankfurt trash collectors and the city official in Allentown--indeed a good many of the general public--still adhere to愀 琀爀愀搀椀琀椀漀渀愀氀 瘀椀攀眀 漀昀 眀栀愀琀 愀爀琀 椀猀⸀ 䄀爀攀 琀栀攀礀 猀椀洀瀀氀礀 戀攀栀椀渀搀 琀栀攀 琀椀洀攀猀 愀渀搀 椀渀 渀攀攀搀 漀昀 爀攀ⴀ攀搀甀挀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 愀猀 琀栀攀 甀渀昀漀爀琀甀渀愀琀攀 䘀爀愀渀欀昀甀爀琀 琀爀愀猀栀 挀漀氀氀攀挀琀漀爀猀 眀攀爀攀 judged to be? Or might the traditional concept of art be worth preserving? And is it perhaps the presumed experts who should re-think their戀愀猀椀挀 瀀爀攀洀椀猀攀猀㼀 吀栀漀猀攀 愀爀攀 猀漀洀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀猀 䤀 愀椀洀 琀漀 猀栀攀搀 氀椀最栀琀 漀渀 栀攀爀攀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀圀栀攀渀 䤀 爀攀昀攀爀 琀漀 愀 ∀琀爀愀搀椀琀椀漀渀愀氀∀ 瘀椀攀眀 漀昀 愀爀琀 椀渀 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 挀漀渀琀攀砀琀Ⰰ 䤀 洀攀愀渀 眀栀愀琀 眀愀猀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀氀礀 琀攀爀洀攀搀 㰀攀洀㸀昀椀渀攀 愀爀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀⸀ 䤀渀 椀琀猀 戀爀漀愀搀 猀攀渀猀攀Ⰰ 琀栀愀琀 琀攀爀洀 椀渀挀氀甀搀攀搀 all the "mimetic" (or "imitative") arts--that is, music and dance, poetry, drama, and fiction, as well as painting and sculpture. In the narrower猀攀渀猀攀 洀漀猀琀 爀攀氀攀瘀愀渀琀 琀漀 琀栀攀 昀椀攀氀搀 漀昀 愀爀琀 攀搀甀挀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 琀攀爀洀 栀愀猀 戀攀攀渀 甀猀攀搀 琀漀 爀攀昀攀爀 琀漀 琀栀攀 瀀甀爀攀氀礀 㰀攀洀㸀瘀椀猀甀愀氀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 愀爀琀猀 漀昀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀⸀ When most ordinary people think of visual "art," what generally comes to mind for them, therefore, are traditional (i.e., representational) works of瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀⸀ 吀栀攀礀 愀爀攀 洀漀爀攀 氀椀欀攀氀礀 琀漀 琀栀椀渀欀 漀昀 刀攀洀戀爀愀渀搀琀Ⰰ 瘀愀渀 䜀漀最栀Ⰰ 漀爀 䴀椀挀栀攀氀愀渀最攀氀漀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 琀栀愀渀 漀昀 䴀漀渀搀爀椀愀渀Ⰰ 䴀愀爀欀 刀漀琀栀欀漀Ⰰ or Jackson Pollock. And they surely do not think of such postmodernist inventions as "installation art" "performance art," "video art,"∀挀漀渀挀攀瀀琀甀愀氀 愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 愀渀搀 ∀攀愀爀琀栀 愀爀琀⸀∀ 䈀甀琀 眀栀礀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 洀愀礀 眀攀氀氀 愀猀欀Ⰰ 搀漀 猀漀 洀愀渀礀 昀愀椀氀 琀漀 爀攀最愀爀搀 琀栀攀猀攀 琀眀攀渀琀椀攀琀栀ⴀ挀攀渀琀甀爀礀 椀渀瘀攀渀琀椀漀渀猀 愀猀 愀爀琀㼀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀匀漀洀攀 漀戀猀攀爀瘀攀爀猀 洀椀最栀琀 猀愀礀 琀栀愀琀 椀琀 椀猀 洀攀爀攀氀礀 漀甀琀 漀昀 爀攀猀椀猀琀愀渀挀攀 琀漀 愀渀礀琀栀椀渀最 渀攀眀⸀ 䤀 搀漀渀✀琀 琀栀椀渀欀 猀漀⸀ 䄀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 眀漀爀欀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 椀猀 猀挀愀爀挀攀氀礀 渀攀眀⸀ 䤀琀 has been around for nearly a century. Yet many people, even fairly sophisticated art lovers, still have strong reservations about it--as was well搀漀挀甀洀攀渀琀攀搀 洀漀爀攀 琀栀愀渀 愀 搀攀挀愀搀攀 愀最漀 戀礀 䐀愀瘀椀搀 䠀愀氀氀攀✀猀 椀渀昀漀爀洀愀琀椀瘀攀 猀漀挀椀漀氀漀最椀挀愀氀 猀琀甀搀礀 㰀攀洀㸀䤀渀猀椀搀攀 䌀甀氀琀甀爀攀㨀 䄀爀琀 愀渀搀 䌀氀愀猀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 䄀洀攀爀椀挀愀渀 䠀漀洀攀㰀⼀攀洀㸀⸀ 䤀渀 洀礀 view, a more logical answer to why so many people do not consider the new inventions to be art is this: they sense that they differ fundamentally昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 琀栀椀渀最猀 琀栀愀琀 眀攀爀攀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀氀礀 挀愀氀氀攀搀 愀爀琀ⴀⴀ椀⸀攀⸀Ⰰ 昀爀漀洀 琀爀愀搀椀琀椀漀渀愀氀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀⸀ 䄀渀搀 琀漀 挀愀氀氀 琀栀攀洀 ∀愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 愀猀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀 搀漀攀猀Ⰰ 椀洀瀀氀椀攀猀 that they are similar.
Some members of the public are willing to grant that antitraditional contemporary work is "art," yet find it meaningless, unintelligible, or simply眀漀爀琀栀氀攀猀猀⸀ 吀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀搀猀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀 氀椀攀猀 渀漀琀 椀渀 琀栀攀 眀漀爀欀 椀琀猀攀氀昀 戀甀琀 椀渀 琀栀攀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀✀猀 椀最渀漀爀愀渀挀攀⸀ 䤀渀 漀爀搀攀爀 琀漀 挀漀洀瀀爀攀栀攀渀搀 愀渀搀 appreciate such work, it is claimed, one must be well versed in art history and theory. Such an argument surely confirms the truth of Tom圀漀氀昀攀✀猀 琀栀攀猀椀猀 椀渀 㰀攀洀㸀吀栀攀 倀愀椀渀琀攀搀 圀漀爀搀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㨀 眀漀爀欀猀 漀昀 愀爀琀 栀愀瘀攀 戀攀攀渀 椀渀挀爀攀愀猀椀渀最氀礀 搀椀猀瀀氀愀挀攀搀 椀渀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀挀攀 椀渀 爀攀挀攀渀琀 搀攀挀愀搀攀猀 戀礀 琀栀攀漀爀攀琀椀挀愀氀 justifications--by the "incessant verbalizing" about art, to quote cultural historian Jacques Barzun.
No theory merits acceptance, however, without a rational assessment of its underlying premises and practical results. Louis Torres and I offered猀甀挀栀 愀渀 愀猀猀攀猀猀洀攀渀琀 漀昀 戀漀琀栀 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀 愀渀搀 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀 琀栀攀漀爀礀 愀渀搀 瀀爀愀挀琀椀挀攀 椀渀 倀愀爀琀 䤀䤀 漀昀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀愀爀椀猀琀漀猀⸀漀爀最⼀攀搀椀琀漀爀猀⼀挀栀愀瀀猀甀洀洀⸀栀琀洀⌀倀愀爀琀 䤀䤀∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀圀栀愀琀 䄀爀琀 䤀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀⸀ 圀栀愀琀 昀漀氀氀漀眀猀 戀攀氀漀眀 椀猀 愀 猀甀洀洀愀爀礀 漀昀 欀攀礀 points of that discussion, as well as an outline of basic principles of the alternative view presented in the book. Let me emphasize that while this愀氀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀瘀攀 瘀椀攀眀 椀猀 戀愀猀攀搀 洀漀猀琀 搀椀爀攀挀琀氀礀 漀渀 䄀礀渀 刀愀渀搀✀猀 攀猀琀栀攀琀椀挀 琀栀攀漀爀礀Ⰰ 椀琀 椀猀 挀漀洀瀀愀琀椀戀氀攀 眀椀琀栀 椀搀攀愀猀 愀戀漀甀琀 琀栀攀 攀猀猀攀渀琀椀愀氀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀昀 愀爀琀 栀攀氀搀 戀礀 琀栀椀渀欀攀爀猀 ranging from Aristotle to Zen philosophers to members of African tribal cultures--as we documented throughout the book. It may therefore be爀攀最愀爀搀攀搀 愀猀 愀 甀渀椀瘀攀爀猀愀氀 琀栀攀漀爀礀 漀昀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 琀爀愀渀猀挀攀渀搀椀渀最 挀甀氀琀甀爀愀氀 搀椀瘀攀爀猀椀琀礀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀 猀琀礀氀攀㴀∀琀攀砀琀ⴀ愀氀椀最渀㨀挀攀渀琀攀爀∀㸀⨀ ⨀ ⨀㰀⼀瀀㸀
The three views that I outline here (modernist, postmodernist, and Rand's alternative) differ radically in the answers they give to four key焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀猀 爀攀最愀爀搀椀渀最 琀栀攀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀昀 愀爀琀㨀㰀⼀瀀㸀1. What is the relationship between art and life? 㰀戀氀漀挀欀焀甀漀琀攀㸀㈀⸀ 圀栀愀琀 椀猀 琀栀攀 爀漀氀攀 漀昀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 愀渀搀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀 瘀猀⸀ 昀漀爀洀 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀 椀渀 愀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 瘀椀猀甀愀氀 愀爀琀㼀 㰀⼀戀氀漀挀欀焀甀漀琀攀㸀3. What part does emotion play in the creation of, and response to, a work of art? 㰀戀氀漀挀欀焀甀漀琀攀㸀㐀⸀ 圀栀愀琀 椀猀 琀栀攀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀✀猀 爀漀氀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 挀爀攀愀琀椀瘀攀 瀀爀漀挀攀猀猀㼀
The most important of these questions--closely connected to the other three--is, What is the relationship between art and life--between works of愀爀琀 愀渀搀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀 椀琀猀攀氀昀㼀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䘀漀爀 洀漀猀琀 漀昀 栀甀洀愀渀 攀砀椀猀琀攀渀挀攀Ⰰ 椀渀 攀瘀攀爀礀 欀渀漀眀渀 挀甀氀琀甀爀攀 猀椀渀挀攀 琀栀攀 搀愀眀渀 漀昀 洀愀渀欀椀渀搀Ⰰ 愀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最昀甀氀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀 眀愀猀 挀氀攀愀爀氀礀 discernible. Since time immemorial, humans have created images, whether in two- or three- dimensional form, representing the animal kingdom,琀栀攀椀爀 昀攀氀氀漀眀 洀攀渀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀洀猀攀氀瘀攀猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 眀漀爀氀搀 琀栀攀礀 椀渀栀愀戀椀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 搀椀瘀椀渀攀 爀攀愀氀洀 挀漀渀挀攀椀瘀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀椀爀 椀洀愀最椀渀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 匀甀挀栀 瀀愀椀渀琀攀搀 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀搀 昀漀爀洀猀 resembled, in some measure, things in the real world, and were intelligible in terms of human knowledge of such things.
Consider, for example, the prehistoric image of Two Reindeer from the Font-de-Gaume cave in France. A male deer is represented as if nuzzling琀栀攀 栀攀愀搀 漀昀 愀 昀攀洀愀氀攀 搀攀瀀椀挀琀攀搀 氀礀椀渀最 漀渀 栀攀爀 猀椀搀攀Ⰰ 瀀攀爀栀愀瀀猀 眀漀甀渀搀攀搀Ⰰ 椀氀氀Ⰰ 漀爀 愀戀漀甀琀 琀漀 最椀瘀攀 戀椀爀琀栀⸀ 圀栀愀琀 眀愀猀 琀栀攀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最 漀爀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 愀渀 椀洀愀最攀㼀 It has often been suggested that prehistoric cave paintings were intended solely for magic efficacy, to ensure success in the hunt or that some other瀀栀礀猀椀挀愀氀 渀攀攀搀 眀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 洀攀琀⸀ 吀栀攀 猀甀戀琀氀攀 爀攀渀搀攀爀椀渀最 漀昀 琀攀渀搀攀爀 昀攀攀氀椀渀最 愀瀀瀀愀爀攀渀琀 栀攀爀攀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 最漀攀猀 昀愀爀 戀攀礀漀渀搀 琀栀攀 瀀攀爀昀甀渀挀琀漀爀礀Ⰰ 猀挀栀攀洀愀琀椀挀 挀栀愀爀愀挀琀攀爀 of representations employed in modern-day cultures for purposes of ritual magic. Voodoo figures, for example, are typically crudely fashioned. 圀攀 挀愀渀 渀攀瘀攀爀 欀渀漀眀 昀漀爀 挀攀爀琀愀椀渀Ⰰ 漀昀 挀漀甀爀猀攀Ⰰ 眀栀愀琀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀 洀漀琀椀瘀愀琀攀搀 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀栀椀猀琀漀爀椀挀 洀愀渀 眀栀漀 瀀愀椀渀琀攀搀 琀栀攀 䘀漀渀琀ⴀ搀攀ⴀ䜀愀甀洀攀 椀洀愀最攀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 眀攀 洀愀礀 reasonably infer from the qualities embodied in it that he felt some empathy for the fellow creatures on whom he depended for his sustenance. In琀愀欀椀渀最 琀栀攀 挀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀愀戀氀攀 琀爀漀甀戀氀攀 琀漀 挀爀攀愀琀攀 琀栀椀猀 瘀椀猀甀愀氀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 栀攀 眀愀猀 瀀爀漀戀愀戀氀礀 猀愀琀椀猀昀礀椀渀最 愀渀漀琀栀攀爀 猀漀爀琀 漀昀 渀攀攀搀ⴀⴀ渀漀琀 愀 瀀栀礀猀椀挀愀氀 戀甀琀 愀 瀀甀爀攀氀礀 psychological one--the need to objectify his thoughts and feelings in concrete form. As the writer Robert Payne suggested in The World of Art,瀀爀攀栀椀猀琀漀爀椀挀 愀爀琀椀猀琀猀 洀甀猀琀 栀愀瘀攀 昀椀氀氀攀搀 琀栀攀 眀愀氀氀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀椀爀 挀愀瘀攀猀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 椀洀愀最攀猀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 愀渀椀洀愀氀猀 ∀戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 琀栀攀椀爀 洀椀渀搀猀 眀攀爀攀 昀椀氀氀攀搀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀洀⸀∀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䄀猀 椀渀搀椀挀愀琀攀搀 戀礀 琀栀攀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀⸀⸀⼀愀爀椀猀ⴀ 㐀⼀愀爀琀氀椀猀琀⸀栀琀洀∀㸀䤀洀愀最攀猀 漀昀 䔀砀攀洀瀀氀愀爀礀 圀漀爀欀猀 漀昀 䄀爀琀㰀⼀愀㸀 愀挀挀漀洀瀀愀渀礀椀渀最 洀礀 愀爀琀椀挀氀攀 ∀刀攀猀挀甀椀渀最 䄀爀琀 昀爀漀洀 嘀椀猀甀愀氀 䌀甀氀琀甀爀攀 匀琀甀搀椀攀猀Ⰰ∀ 琀栀攀 氀漀渀最 琀爀愀搀椀琀椀漀渀 of representational painting and sculpture has encompassed a wide range of styles and an infinite variety of subject matter, yet certain subjects栀愀瘀攀 爀攀挀甀爀爀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 攀爀愀 琀漀 攀爀愀 愀渀搀 挀甀氀琀甀爀攀 琀漀 挀甀氀琀甀爀攀ⴀⴀ渀漀 搀漀甀戀琀 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 琀栀攀礀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 琀栀椀渀最猀 琀栀愀琀 栀愀瘀攀 愀氀眀愀礀猀 戀攀攀渀 漀昀 栀甀洀愀渀 椀渀琀攀爀攀猀琀⸀ 匀甀挀栀 images provide a context in which to assess modernism's radical break with the past.
The Modernist View
In a dramatic departure from millennia of art-making, modernists such as Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian in the early years of the twentieth挀攀渀琀甀爀礀 攀渀琀椀爀攀氀礀 愀戀愀渀搀漀渀攀搀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 渀漀琀 漀渀氀礀 漀昀 氀椀瘀椀渀最 琀栀椀渀最猀 戀甀琀 漀昀 爀攀挀漀最渀椀稀愀戀氀攀 漀戀樀攀挀琀猀 椀渀 最攀渀攀爀愀氀⸀ 䔀瘀攀渀 洀漀爀攀 爀攀洀愀爀欀愀戀氀攀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀愀琀 salient fact of art history are the premises and intentions that moved them to do so.
The relationship between art and life. First and foremost, the pioneers of abstract painting believed that works of art pertain to a realm挀漀洀瀀氀攀琀攀氀礀 搀攀琀愀挀栀攀搀 昀爀漀洀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 猀甀瀀攀爀椀漀爀 琀漀Ⰰ 氀椀昀攀⸀ 刀攀愀挀琀椀渀最 愀最愀椀渀猀琀 挀甀氀琀甀爀愀氀 洀愀琀攀爀椀愀氀椀猀洀Ⰰ 琀栀攀猀攀 昀椀爀猀琀 愀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 瀀愀椀渀琀攀爀猀 猀漀甀最栀琀 琀漀 爀攀昀氀攀挀琀 眀栀愀琀 琀栀攀礀 imagined to be a higher plane of reality by creating work in which no recognizable objects at all were represented, only abstract forms. Through愀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 猀栀愀瀀攀猀Ⰰ 挀漀氀漀爀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 氀椀渀攀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 愀琀琀攀洀瀀琀攀搀 琀漀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 愀 爀攀愀氀洀 漀昀 瀀甀爀攀 猀瀀椀爀椀琀Ⰰ ∀甀渀琀愀椀渀琀攀搀∀ 戀礀 洀愀琀攀爀椀愀氀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀⸀ 䈀甀琀 琀栀攀礀 眀攀爀攀 瀀爀漀昀漀甀渀搀氀礀 mistaken--even deluded--in thinking that such a goal was desirable, much less attainable, given the nature of human perception and cognition. 䘀漀爀 漀渀攀 琀栀椀渀最Ⰰ 椀琀 椀猀 椀洀瀀漀猀猀椀戀氀攀 琀漀 最甀攀猀猀 琀栀攀 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀✀ 氀漀昀琀礀 椀渀琀攀渀琀椀漀渀 樀甀猀琀 戀礀 氀漀漀欀椀渀最 愀琀 琀栀攀椀爀 眀漀爀欀⸀ 圀攀 欀渀漀眀 椀琀 漀渀氀礀 昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀椀爀 攀砀琀攀渀猀椀瘀攀 theoretical writing, and from that of like-minded critics. To the ordinary viewer, one of Mondrian's typical grid-like "Compositions," for攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 挀漀渀瘀攀礀猀 渀漀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最Ⰰ 攀砀愀氀琀攀搀 漀爀 戀愀渀愀氀⸀ 䤀琀 猀椀洀瀀氀礀 氀漀漀欀猀 氀椀欀攀 愀渀 椀渀琀攀爀攀猀琀椀渀最 瀀愀琀琀攀爀渀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 愀猀 猀甀挀栀 椀琀 栀愀猀 椀渀猀瀀椀爀攀搀 搀攀猀椀最渀 洀漀琀椀昀猀 昀漀爀 昀愀戀爀椀挀猀 and various decorative products, from floor covering to high-fashion clothing. Nonetheless, Mondrian insisted that only through the∀愀渀渀椀栀椀氀愀琀椀漀渀∀ 漀昀 漀戀樀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀 挀漀甀氀搀 愀爀琀 攀砀瀀爀攀猀猀 琀栀攀 栀椀最栀攀爀 挀漀渀猀挀椀漀甀猀渀攀猀猀 琀漀眀愀爀搀 眀栀椀挀栀 栀攀 戀攀氀椀攀瘀攀搀 栀甀洀愀渀椀琀礀 眀愀猀 攀瘀漀氀瘀椀渀最⸀ 㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䴀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 眀栀漀 眀攀爀攀 渀漀琀 洀礀猀琀椀挀愀氀氀礀 椀渀猀瀀椀爀攀搀 愀氀猀漀 猀攀瘀攀爀攀搀 琀栀攀 漀戀樀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 挀漀渀渀攀挀琀椀漀渀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀⸀ 吀栀攀 椀渀昀氀甀攀渀琀椀愀氀 䈀爀椀琀椀猀栀 挀爀椀琀椀挀 䌀氀椀瘀攀 䈀攀氀氀Ⰰ for instance, argued that art possesses "an intense and peculiar significance of its own . . . unrelated to the significance of life." In his view, "To愀瀀瀀爀攀挀椀愀琀攀 愀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 愀爀琀 眀攀 渀攀攀搀 戀爀椀渀最 眀椀琀栀 甀猀 渀漀琀栀椀渀最 昀爀漀洀 氀椀昀攀Ⰰ 渀漀 欀渀漀眀氀攀搀最攀 漀昀 椀琀猀 椀搀攀愀猀 愀渀搀 愀昀昀愀椀爀猀Ⰰ 渀漀 昀愀洀椀氀椀愀爀椀琀礀 眀椀琀栀 椀琀猀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀猀⸀∀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䄀琀 琀栀攀 猀愀洀攀 琀椀洀攀Ⰰ 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 栀攀氀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀渀搀椀渀最 愀渀搀 愀瀀瀀爀攀挀椀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 愀爀琀 椀渀瘀漀氀瘀攀猀 愀 猀瀀攀挀椀愀氀 愀攀猀琀栀攀琀椀挀 昀愀挀甀氀琀礀Ⰰ 漀爀 猀攀渀猀椀戀椀氀椀琀礀Ⰰ 琀栀愀琀 椀猀 渀漀琀 possessed by all people and that is quite distinct from our everyday faculties of perception. Influenced by occult philosophy, the first abstract瀀愀椀渀琀攀爀猀 愀挀琀甀愀氀氀礀 戀攀氀椀攀瘀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀礀 瀀漀猀猀攀猀猀攀搀 愀 洀漀爀攀 栀椀最栀氀礀 攀瘀漀氀瘀攀搀 昀漀爀洀 漀昀 挀漀渀猀挀椀漀甀猀渀攀猀猀ⴀⴀ眀栀椀挀栀 眀愀猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 挀氀愀椀洀攀搀Ⰰ ∀戀攀礀漀渀搀 爀攀愀猀漀渀Ⰰ∀ 愀渀搀 which conferred (in the view of Malevich and other Russian "Cubo-Futurists") not merely clairvoyance but even the ability to see through solid漀戀樀攀挀琀猀⸀ 䤀昀 礀漀甀 搀椀搀 渀漀琀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀渀搀 漀渀攀 漀昀 䴀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀椀戀椀戀氀椀漀⸀漀爀最⼀眀洀⼀瀀愀椀渀琀⼀愀甀琀栀⼀洀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀⼀猀甀瀀⼀洀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀⸀愀洀猀琀攀爀搀愀洀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀匀甀瀀爀攀洀愀琀椀猀琀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最猀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 琀栀攀爀攀昀漀爀攀Ⰰ 椀琀 眀愀猀 猀椀洀瀀氀礀 愀 猀椀最渀 琀栀愀琀 礀漀甀爀 挀漀渀猀挀椀漀甀猀渀攀猀猀 栀愀搀 渀漀琀 礀攀琀 evolved to this higher plane.
Later in the century, the pre-eminent modernist critic Clement Greenberg ignored such metaphysical claims. But his approach was equally搀椀瘀漀爀挀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 愀渀礀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最昀甀氀 挀漀渀渀攀挀琀椀漀渀 琀漀 氀椀昀攀 攀砀瀀攀爀椀攀渀挀攀⸀ 䔀砀瀀氀愀椀渀椀渀最 搀椀昀昀攀爀攀渀琀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀攀猀 琀漀 愀爀琀 愀猀 猀椀洀瀀氀礀 愀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 漀昀 椀渀琀甀椀琀椀瘀攀 樀甀搀最洀攀渀琀猀 戀礀 "people with good eyes" vs. people with "bad eyes," he saw no relationship at all between aesthetic judgment and the exercise of one's visual昀愀挀甀氀琀礀 椀渀 爀攀愀氀 氀椀昀攀⸀ 䤀昀 礀漀甀 挀漀甀氀搀 渀漀琀 猀攀攀 眀栀礀 䨀愀挀欀猀漀渀 倀漀氀氀漀挀欀✀猀 搀爀椀瀀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最猀 ⠀猀甀挀栀 愀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀戀攀愀琀洀甀猀攀甀洀⸀漀爀最⼀瀀漀氀氀漀挀欀⼀挀愀琀栀攀搀爀愀氀⸀栀琀洀氀∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䌀愀琀栀攀搀爀愀氀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀 漀爀 㰀攀洀㸀一甀洀戀攀爀 伀渀攀Ⰰ 㤀㐀㠀㰀⼀攀洀㸀Ⰰ 戀漀琀栀 漀昀 眀栀椀挀栀 眀攀爀攀 praised by Greenberg) should justify the superlatives the critic heaped upon the painter--including the claim that Pollock was "one of the major瀀愀椀渀琀攀爀猀 漀昀 漀甀爀 琀椀洀攀∀ⴀⴀ礀漀甀 挀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 猀甀爀攀 礀漀甀✀搀 戀攀 挀漀甀渀琀攀搀 愀洀漀渀最 琀栀攀 ∀瀀栀椀氀椀猀琀椀渀攀猀Ⰰ∀ 琀栀攀 甀氀琀椀洀愀琀攀 琀攀爀洀 漀昀 挀甀氀琀甀爀愀氀 漀瀀瀀爀漀戀爀椀甀洀 攀洀瀀氀漀礀攀搀 戀礀 Greenberg and other modernists. No doubt you'd be similarly labeled if you failed to discern in what respect the series of abstract Elegies to the匀瀀愀渀椀猀栀 刀攀瀀甀戀氀椀挀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀 戀礀 倀漀氀氀漀挀欀✀猀 昀攀氀氀漀眀 䄀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 䔀砀瀀爀攀猀猀椀漀渀椀猀琀 刀漀戀攀爀琀 䴀漀琀栀攀爀眀攀氀氀 挀漀渀猀琀椀琀甀琀攀 愀 ∀洀愀樀攀猀琀椀挀 挀漀洀洀攀洀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 栀甀洀愀渀 猀甀昀昀攀爀椀渀最∀ 琀栀愀琀 is expressive of "the inexorable cycle of life and death" (to quote the Guggenheim Museum's website). Motherwell, by the way, painted some琀眀漀 栀甀渀搀爀攀搀 瘀愀爀椀愀琀椀漀渀猀 漀渀 琀栀椀猀 琀栀攀洀攀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䘀漀爀洀⼀猀琀礀氀攀 瘀猀⸀ 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀⼀挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀⸀ 伀渀 琀栀攀 猀攀挀漀渀搀 琀栀攀漀爀攀琀椀挀愀氀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 爀攀最愀爀搀椀渀最 琀栀攀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 昀漀爀洀 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀Ⰰ 漀渀 漀渀攀 栀愀渀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 subject matter or content, on the other, I have already noted that the modernists deliberately abandoned recognizable subject matter in favor of愀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 昀漀爀洀猀⸀ 䤀渀 䴀漀渀搀爀椀愀渀✀猀 攀洀瀀栀愀琀椀挀 琀攀爀洀猀Ⰰ 愀氀氀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 ∀㰀攀洀㸀洀甀猀琀 戀攀 戀愀渀椀猀栀攀搀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 昀爀漀洀 愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 琀栀攀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 瀀栀礀猀椀挀愀氀 漀戀樀攀挀琀猀 ∀椀猀 fatal to pure art." Though neither he nor the other early abstract painters aimed to abandon meaning in their work, their occult premises led them猀愀搀氀礀 愀猀琀爀愀礀⸀ 䈀礀 愀戀愀渀搀漀渀椀渀最 琀栀攀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 爀攀挀漀最渀椀稀愀戀氀攀 漀戀樀攀挀琀猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 爀攀渀搀攀爀攀搀 琀栀攀椀爀 眀漀爀欀 椀渀挀漀洀瀀爀攀栀攀渀猀椀戀氀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 瀀漀漀爀 瘀椀攀眀攀爀 眀栀漀 栀愀搀 not yet evolved "beyond reason."
Later modernists such as Clement Greenberg and his critical disciples ignored the spiritual aims of the artists who had invented abstract painting, however, tending instead to discuss it in purely formalist terms. According to Greenberg, both subject matter and content had become∀猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 琀漀 戀攀 愀瘀漀椀搀攀搀 氀椀欀攀 愀 瀀氀愀最甀攀∀ 㰀⼀猀瀀愀渀㸀椀渀 琀栀椀猀 ∀愀搀瘀愀渀挀攀搀 愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 愀猀 栀攀 瀀爀攀琀攀渀琀椀漀甀猀氀礀 搀甀戀戀攀搀 椀琀⸀ 䄀猀 愀 爀攀猀甀氀琀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀椀挀 戀爀攀愀欀琀栀爀漀甀最栀猀 栀攀 愀挀挀氀愀椀洀攀搀 椀渀 愀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 最攀渀攀爀愀氀氀礀 挀漀渀猀椀猀琀攀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 攀洀攀爀最攀渀挀攀 漀昀 瘀愀爀椀漀甀猀 ∀猀椀最渀愀琀甀爀攀 猀琀礀氀攀猀∀ⴀⴀ昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 搀爀椀瀀猀 漀昀 䨀愀挀欀猀漀渀 倀漀氀氀漀挀欀 琀漀 琀栀攀 ∀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀最漀漀最氀攀⸀挀漀洀⼀猀攀愀爀挀栀㼀栀氀㴀攀渀☀猀椀琀攀㴀椀洀最栀瀀☀琀戀洀㴀椀猀挀栀☀猀漀甀爀挀攀㴀栀瀀☀戀椀眀㴀 ㈀㐀☀戀椀栀㴀㘀㔀㐀☀焀㴀戀愀爀渀攀琀琀⬀渀攀眀洀愀渀⬀稀椀瀀⬀瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最猀☀漀焀㴀戀愀爀渀攀琀琀⬀渀攀眀洀愀渀⬀稀椀瀀☀最猀开氀㴀椀洀最⸀⸀ ⸀ 氀㈀⸀㐀㈀ ⸀㜀㜀㈀⸀ ⸀㤀㈀㌀ ⸀㈀㈀⸀⸀㈀⸀㤀⸀ ⸀ ⸀㘀㘀⸀㔀㐀⸀⸀⸀ ⸀⸀⸀ ⸀ ⸀⸀⸀愀挀⸀⸀㜀⸀椀洀最⸀䤀䤀开㠀䈀娀䠀㠀樀瀀挀∀㸀稀椀瀀猀㰀⼀愀㸀∀ ⠀漀爀 stripes) of another Abstract Expressionist, Barnett Newman.
The role of emotion. What about the modernist answer to the third key question of art theory, regarding the role of emotion in art? For洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀Ⰰ 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀 眀愀猀 漀昀 瀀爀椀洀攀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀挀攀 椀渀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀礀 瘀椀攀眀攀搀 椀琀 愀猀 愀 搀椀爀攀挀琀Ⰰ 甀渀洀攀搀椀愀琀攀搀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀攀Ⰰ 搀椀瘀漀爀挀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 椀搀攀愀猀 愀渀搀 瘀愀氀甀攀猀 爀攀氀愀琀攀搀 琀漀 氀椀昀攀⸀ 䴀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 眀爀漀琀攀㨀 ∀嬀䄀崀 戀氀椀猀猀昀甀氀 猀攀渀猀攀 漀昀 氀椀戀攀爀愀琀椀渀最 渀漀渀ⴀ漀戀樀攀挀琀椀瘀椀琀礀 搀爀攀眀 洀攀 昀漀爀琀栀 椀渀琀漀 琀栀攀 ✀搀攀猀攀爀琀✀ 嬀漀昀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀猀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀最漀漀最氀攀⸀挀漀洀⼀猀攀愀爀挀栀㼀栀氀㴀攀渀☀猀椀琀攀㴀椀洀最栀瀀☀琀戀洀㴀椀猀挀栀☀猀漀甀爀挀攀㴀栀瀀☀戀椀眀㴀㜀㌀☀戀椀栀㴀㠀☀焀㴀洀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀⬀戀氀愀挀欀⬀猀焀甀愀爀攀猀☀漀焀㴀洀愀氀攀瘀椀挀栀⬀戀氀愀挀欀⬀猀焀甀愀爀攀猀☀最猀开氀㴀椀洀最⸀㌀⸀⸀⸀㈀㌀㔀⸀ 㠀⸀ ⸀㠀㔀㠀⸀㈀㐀⸀㠀⸀⸀㔀⸀㘀⸀ ⸀㌀⸀㜀 ⸀㔀樀㌀⸀㠀⸀ ⸀⸀⸀⸀ ⸀⸀⸀愀挀⸀⸀㘀㐀⸀椀洀最⸀⸀㈀⸀㈀㈀⸀㜀㜀 ⸀欀䜀儀戀䐀㠀稀刀礀最∀㸀戀氀愀挀欀 猀焀甀愀爀攀猀㰀⼀愀㸀 漀渀 愀 white background], where nothing is real except feeling . . . and so feeling became the substance of my life."
Similarly, a half century later, Robert Motherwell declared: "The emergence of abstract art is one sign that there are still men able to assert昀攀攀氀椀渀最 椀渀 琀栀攀 眀漀爀氀搀⸀ 嬀䤀⸀ 攀⸀Ⰰ崀 䴀攀渀 眀栀漀 欀渀漀眀 栀漀眀 琀漀 爀攀猀瀀攀挀琀 愀渀搀 昀漀氀氀漀眀 琀栀攀椀爀 椀渀渀攀爀 昀攀攀氀椀渀最猀Ⰰ 渀漀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 栀漀眀 椀爀爀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 漀爀 愀戀猀甀爀搀 琀栀攀礀 洀愀礀 昀椀爀猀琀 appear. . . . Abstract art is an attempt to close the void that modern men feel." Yet without the benefit of such an explanation no viewer could最甀攀猀猀 琀栀攀 昀攀攀氀椀渀最猀 琀栀愀琀 䴀漀琀栀攀爀眀攀氀氀 愀琀琀攀洀瀀琀攀搀 琀漀 攀洀戀漀搀礀 椀渀 漀渀攀 漀昀 栀椀猀 匀瀀愀渀椀猀栀 攀氀攀最椀攀猀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀⸀ 䄀渀搀 攀瘀攀渀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 戀攀渀攀昀椀琀 漀昀 栀椀猀 攀砀瀀氀愀渀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ it seems unlikely that anyone would actually experience such feelings.
The role of the artist. As for the modernist view of the artist's creative role, it was equally ineffable. The artist was seen as an inspired visionary,愀 最攀渀椀甀猀 眀栀漀猀攀 椀渀琀攀渀琀椀漀渀猀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀 甀渀昀愀琀栀漀洀愀戀氀攀 琀漀 漀爀搀椀渀愀爀礀 洀漀爀琀愀氀猀Ⰰ 愀爀攀 渀漀渀攀琀栀攀氀攀猀猀 眀漀爀琀栀礀 漀昀 琀栀攀 猀琀爀甀最最氀攀 琀漀 挀漀洀瀀爀攀栀攀渀搀 琀栀攀洀⸀ 䜀爀攀攀渀戀攀爀最 praised works such as Barnett Newman's Vir Heroicus Sublimis not only for their simplicity (they surely have that) but for their "transcendent"挀愀瀀愀挀椀琀礀ⴀⴀ愀 挀氀愀椀洀 琀栀愀琀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀攀搀 愀 氀愀瀀猀攀 昀爀漀洀 䜀爀攀攀渀戀攀爀最✀猀 挀甀猀琀漀洀愀爀礀 昀漀爀洀愀氀椀猀琀 攀洀瀀栀愀猀椀猀⸀ 一攀眀洀愀渀✀猀 瀀爀攀琀攀渀琀椀漀甀猀 䰀愀琀椀渀 琀椀琀氀攀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 means "heroic sublime man." Without benefit of the title, however, who would have any idea what this work is intended to mean? To the洀甀猀攀甀洀 最甀愀爀搀 眀栀漀 猀瀀攀渀琀 洀甀挀栀 漀昀 栀椀猀 眀漀爀欀椀渀最 氀椀昀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀猀攀渀挀攀 漀昀 椀琀Ⰰ 椀渀 昀愀挀琀Ⰰ 一攀眀洀愀渀✀猀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 氀漀漀欀攀搀 氀椀欀攀 渀漀琀栀椀渀最 洀漀爀攀 琀栀愀渀 ∀愀 戀氀愀渀欀 眀愀氀氀 with stripes." Most ordinary people would agree. For such viewers, Michelangelo's David or his 㰀攀洀㸀䴀漀猀攀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀 眀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 昀愀爀 洀漀爀攀 氀椀欀攀氀礀 琀漀 焀甀愀氀椀昀礀 愀猀 愀 transcendent image suggesting "heroic sublime man."
Postmodernism in the arts began as an extreme reaction against modernism--in particular, against the dominance of Abstract Expressionism in琀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀⸀ 伀渀 瘀椀爀琀甀愀氀氀礀 攀瘀攀爀礀 瀀漀椀渀琀 漀昀 琀栀攀漀爀礀 愀渀搀 瀀爀愀挀琀椀挀攀Ⰰ 琀栀攀爀攀昀漀爀攀Ⰰ 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 愀搀漀瀀琀攀搀 愀 搀椀愀洀攀琀爀椀挀愀氀氀礀 漀瀀瀀漀猀椀琀攀 愀瀀瀀爀漀愀挀栀⸀ 䤀渀 昀愀挀琀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 primary impetus for the bizarre forms they invented was their wish to challenge the status of modernist work, not an earnest desire to create猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 漀昀 瘀愀氀甀攀 椀渀 椀琀猀攀氀昀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀㰀攀洀㸀吀栀攀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀⸀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 伀渀 琀栀攀 欀攀礀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 琀栀攀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀Ⰰ 愀猀 䤀 漀戀猀攀爀瘀攀搀 攀愀爀氀椀攀爀Ⰰ 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 栀攀氀搀 愀爀琀 琀漀 戀攀 a supreme value in its own right, without objective reference to human life. Postmodernists therefore began by treating art as if it had no搀椀猀琀椀渀挀琀椀瘀攀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀爀 瘀愀氀甀攀 愀琀 愀氀氀⸀ 䤀渀 椀琀猀 洀漀猀琀 攀砀琀爀攀洀攀 昀漀爀洀Ⰰ 琀栀椀猀 愀琀琀椀琀甀搀攀 眀愀猀 攀砀瀀爀攀猀猀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 攀砀瀀氀椀挀椀琀 愀椀洀 漀昀 戀氀甀爀爀椀渀最 琀栀攀 瘀攀爀礀 搀椀猀琀椀渀挀琀椀漀渀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 art and life.
The prominent postmodernist Robert Rauschenberg declared, for example, that painting "relates to both art and life" and that he tries to act "in琀栀攀 最愀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 琀栀攀 琀眀漀⸀∀ 圀栀愀琀 漀渀 攀愀爀琀栀 搀漀攀猀 琀栀愀琀 洀攀愀渀㼀 䄀渀搀 猀栀漀甀氀搀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 瀀甀爀瀀漀爀琀攀搀氀礀 椀渀 琀栀攀 㰀攀洀㸀最愀瀀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀 ⠀猀甀挀栀 愀猀 栀椀猀 ∀洀椀砀攀搀 media" piece, Bed [enlarged]--which is neither painting nor sculpture, consisting instead of an old 焀甀椀氀琀Ⰰ 猀栀攀攀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 瀀椀氀氀漀眀 愀昀昀椀砀攀搀 琀漀 愀 昀爀愀洀攀Ⰰ with paint slathered over them--therefore be considered as something quite different from art?
Another major early postmodernist, Allan Kaprow, even wrote Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. Kaprow was the inventor of∀䠀愀瀀瀀攀渀椀渀最猀∀ⴀⴀ欀漀漀欀椀氀礀 猀琀愀最攀搀 攀瘀攀渀琀猀 椀渀瘀漀氀瘀椀渀最 猀瀀攀挀琀愀琀漀爀猀 椀渀 愀 猀攀爀椀攀猀 漀昀 愀爀戀椀琀爀愀爀礀 愀渀搀 椀渀挀漀栀攀爀攀渀琀 愀挀琀椀漀渀猀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 眀攀爀攀 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀挀甀爀猀漀爀猀 昀漀爀 猀甀挀栀 postmodernist genres as "installation art" and "performance art." He advocated creating work "as open and fluid as . . . everyday experience." 吀攀氀氀椀渀最氀礀Ⰰ 栀攀 愀搀洀椀琀琀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 栀攀 眀愀猀 ∀渀漀琀 猀漀 猀甀爀攀∀ 眀栀攀琀栀攀爀 猀甀挀栀 眀漀爀欀 眀愀猀 ∀愀爀琀 漀爀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 渀漀琀 焀甀椀琀攀 愀爀琀⸀∀ 伀昀 挀漀甀爀猀攀Ⰰ 椀琀 眀愀猀 㰀攀洀㸀渀漀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 愀爀琀⸀ 一漀渀攀琀栀攀氀攀猀猀Ⰰ it was soon fully accepted as such by the arts establishment, which now treats its successors on a par with traditional painting and sculpture.
Form/style vs. subject matter/content. The postmodernists' blurring of the distinction between art and life has inevitably affected their attitude琀漀眀愀爀搀 琀栀攀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 愀渀搀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀Ⰰ 漀渀 漀渀攀 栀愀渀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 昀漀爀洀 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀Ⰰ 漀渀 琀栀攀 漀琀栀攀爀⸀ 刀攀挀愀氀氀 琀栀愀琀 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀 琀栀攀漀爀礀 愀渀搀 practice greatly inflated the significance of formal properties and style, at the expense of discernible subject matter. Not surprisingly, the瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀 爀攀愀挀琀椀漀渀 眀愀猀 琀漀 搀椀猀洀椀猀猀 昀漀爀洀愀氀 瀀爀漀瀀攀爀琀椀攀猀 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀 愀猀 栀愀瘀椀渀最 渀漀 猀椀最渀椀昀椀挀愀渀挀攀 愀琀 愀氀氀⸀ 伀挀挀愀猀椀漀渀愀氀氀礀Ⰰ 琀栀攀椀爀 眀漀爀欀 愀挀琀甀愀氀氀礀 洀愀欀攀猀 椀爀漀渀椀挀 reference to this issue. Rauschenberg's slathering of paint on Bed, for example, was an irreverent parody of much Abstract Expressionist瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀吀礀瀀椀挀愀氀氀礀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀 眀漀爀欀 椀猀 搀攀氀椀戀攀爀愀琀攀氀礀 椀洀瀀攀爀猀漀渀愀氀 愀渀搀 洀攀挀栀愀渀椀挀愀氀 椀渀 攀砀攀挀甀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 爀攀洀漀瘀椀渀最 愀氀氀 琀爀愀挀攀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀✀猀 栀愀渀搀 漀爀 personal style. Postmodernists either appropriate existing images (photographs, advertisements, or previous art works) or use everyday objects,猀椀洀瀀氀礀 愀爀爀愀渀最椀渀最 琀栀攀洀 椀渀 愀猀猀攀洀戀氀愀最攀猀 漀爀 椀渀猀琀愀氀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀 ⠀愀猀 椀渀 吀爀愀挀攀礀 䔀洀椀渀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀甀瀀氀漀愀搀⸀眀椀欀椀洀攀搀椀愀⸀漀爀最⼀眀椀欀椀瀀攀搀椀愀⼀攀渀⼀㤀⼀㤀搀⼀䔀洀椀渀ⴀ䴀礀ⴀ䈀攀搀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䴀礀 䈀攀搀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀⤀⸀ 匀甀挀栀 眀漀爀欀 挀漀渀琀愀椀渀猀 爀攀挀漀最渀椀稀愀戀氀攀 琀栀椀渀最猀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀爀攀 椀猀 愀 瀀攀爀猀漀渀愀氀氀礀 搀攀琀愀挀栀攀搀 焀甀愀氀椀琀礀 琀漀 椀琀 琀栀愀琀 挀愀渀 洀愀欀攀 琀栀攀 瘀椀攀眀攀爀 眀漀渀搀攀爀 樀甀猀琀 眀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 瀀漀椀渀琀 椀猀⸀ 匀攀攀椀渀最 漀渀攀 漀昀 䐀甀愀渀攀 䠀愀渀猀漀渀✀猀 栀礀瀀攀爀爀攀愀氀椀猀琀椀挀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀猀愀愀琀挀栀椀ⴀ最愀氀氀攀爀礀⸀挀漀⸀甀欀⼀愀爀琀椀猀琀猀⼀搀甀愀渀攀开栀愀渀猀漀渀⸀栀琀洀∀㸀∀猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀猀∀㰀⼀愀㸀 嬀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀琀栀攀挀椀琀礀爀攀瘀椀攀眀⸀挀漀洀⼀猀 ㈀挀挀漀最⸀最椀昀∀㸀洀漀爀攀㰀⼀愀㸀崀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀ⴀⴀ昀椀最甀爀攀猀 挀愀猀琀 搀椀爀攀挀琀氀礀 昀爀漀洀 愀 氀椀瘀攀 洀漀搀攀氀Ⰰ 愀搀漀爀渀攀搀 眀椀琀栀 爀攀愀氀 挀氀漀琀栀椀渀最 愀渀搀 瀀爀漀瀀猀ⴀⴀ搀漀攀猀 渀漀琀 猀椀最渀椀昀椀挀愀渀琀氀礀 搀椀昀昀攀爀 昀爀漀洀 氀漀漀欀椀渀最 愀琀 愀 爀攀愀氀 瀀攀爀猀漀渀 眀栀攀渀 漀渀攀 挀愀琀挀栀攀猀 猀椀最栀琀 漀昀 椀琀 愀琀 愀 搀椀猀琀愀渀挀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 猀漀爀琀 漀昀 戀甀猀礀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀 猀瀀愀挀攀 椀渀 眀栀椀挀栀 栀椀猀 眀漀爀欀 椀猀 漀昀琀攀渀 攀砀栀椀戀椀琀攀搀 ⠀猀甀挀栀 愀猀 愀渀 愀椀爀瀀漀爀琀 瀀愀猀猀攀渀最攀爀 琀攀爀洀椀渀愀氀⤀⸀ 䈀攀挀愀甀猀攀 䠀愀渀猀漀渀 搀椀搀 渀漀琀 琀爀愀渀猀昀漀爀洀 琀栀攀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 椀渀 愀渀礀 搀椀猀琀椀渀挀琀椀瘀攀 眀愀礀 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 栀椀猀 栀愀渀搀氀椀渀最 漀昀 琀栀攀 洀愀琀攀爀椀愀氀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 眀漀爀欀 搀漀攀猀 渀漀琀 猀甀最最攀猀琀 愀渀礀琀栀椀渀最 瀀愀爀琀椀挀甀氀愀爀 愀戀漀甀琀 栀椀猀 瘀椀攀眀 漀昀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀⸀ 䤀琀 漀昀昀攀爀猀 渀漀 椀渀猀椀最栀琀⸀ 唀渀氀椀欀攀 愀 琀爀甀攀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀Ⰰ 椀琀 椀猀 渀漀琀 愀 ∀爀攀ⴀ瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀∀ 漀昀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀Ⰰ 昀椀氀琀攀爀攀搀 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 栀椀猀 椀洀愀最椀渀愀琀椀漀渀 愀渀搀 猀攀渀猀椀戀椀氀椀琀礀⸀ 䤀琀 椀猀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 愀氀氀 椀渀琀攀渀琀猀 愀渀搀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀猀Ⰰ 愀 洀攀爀攀 㰀攀洀㸀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀㰀⼀攀洀㸀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䌀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀 愀渀漀琀栀攀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 䨀漀猀攀瀀栀 䬀漀猀甀琀栀✀猀 㰀攀洀㸀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀洀漀洀愀⸀漀爀最⼀挀漀氀氀攀挀琀椀漀渀⼀漀戀樀攀挀琀⸀瀀栀瀀㼀漀戀樀攀挀琀开椀搀㴀㠀㐀㌀㔀∀㸀伀渀攀 愀渀搀 吀栀爀攀攀 䌀栀愀椀爀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 挀漀渀猀椀猀琀猀 漀昀 愀 渀漀渀搀攀猀挀爀椀瀀琀 昀漀氀搀椀渀最 挀栀愀椀爀Ⰰ 愀 氀椀昀攀猀椀稀攀 瀀栀漀琀漀最爀愀瀀栀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 愀 chair, and an enlarged dictionary entry on "chair." Not long ago, a retired art teacher lamented to me that she had no idea what to make of this眀漀爀欀 漀昀 猀漀ⴀ挀愀氀氀攀搀 挀漀渀挀攀瀀琀甀愀氀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 猀栀攀 栀愀搀 樀甀猀琀 猀攀攀渀 漀渀 愀 瘀椀猀椀琀 琀漀 琀栀攀 䴀甀猀攀甀洀 漀昀 䴀漀搀攀爀渀 䄀爀琀⸀ 圀栀愀琀Ⰰ 猀栀攀 眀漀渀搀攀爀攀搀Ⰰ 眀愀猀 猀甀挀栀 愀 眀漀爀欀 搀漀椀渀最 in an art museum? The Oxford Dictionary of Art defines "conceptual art" as "various forms of art in which the idea for a work is considered洀漀爀攀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀琀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀攀 昀椀渀椀猀栀攀搀 瀀爀漀搀甀挀琀Ⰰ 椀昀 愀渀礀⸀∀ 䈀甀琀 猀甀挀栀 愀渀 椀渀瘀攀渀琀椀漀渀 琀甀爀渀猀 琀栀攀 瘀攀爀礀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀昀 㰀攀洀㸀瘀椀猀甀愀氀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 愀爀琀 漀渀 椀琀猀 栀攀愀搀Ⰰ 爀甀氀椀渀最 漀甀琀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀✀猀 爀漀氀攀 in the meaningful shaping of visual form.
The role of emotion. What about the role of emotion in postmodernist work? In contrast with the modernists, who viewed art as a direct攀砀瀀爀攀猀猀椀漀渀 漀昀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 愀爀攀 琀礀瀀椀挀愀氀氀礀 搀攀琀愀挀栀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀 愀渀搀 攀瘀攀渀 爀攀樀攀挀琀 椀琀 漀甀琀爀椀最栀琀⸀ 䄀渀搀礀 圀愀爀栀漀氀 漀渀挀攀 攀砀瀀氀愀椀渀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 reason why he didn't create paintings was because he didn't "love roses or bottles or anything like that enough to want to sit down and paint them氀漀瘀椀渀最氀礀 愀渀搀 瀀愀琀椀攀渀琀氀礀∀ⴀⴀ愀 瘀攀爀礀 爀攀瘀攀愀氀椀渀最 挀漀渀昀攀猀猀椀漀渀 椀渀搀攀攀搀⸀ 䔀焀甀愀氀氀礀 爀攀瘀攀愀氀椀渀最 椀猀 眀栀愀琀 䨀漀栀渀 䌀愀最攀ⴀⴀ琀栀攀 愀瘀愀渀琀ⴀ最愀爀搀攀 ∀挀漀洀瀀漀猀攀爀∀ 眀栀漀 椀渀猀瀀椀爀攀搀 many postmodernists in the visual arts--had to say on the subject: "Emotions do not interest me," he declared. "Emotions have long been欀渀漀眀渀 琀漀 戀攀 搀愀渀最攀爀漀甀猀⸀ 夀漀甀 洀甀猀琀 昀爀攀攀 礀漀甀爀猀攀氀昀 漀昀 礀漀甀爀 氀椀欀攀猀 愀渀搀 搀椀猀氀椀欀攀猀⸀∀ 吀栀攀 搀礀猀昀甀渀挀琀椀漀渀愀氀 椀洀瀀氀椀挀愀琀椀漀渀猀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 攀砀琀爀攀洀攀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀愀氀 detachment, I should note, are analyzed by psychologist Louis Sass in his illuminating study Madness and Modernism.
The artist's role. Since postmodernists seek to blur the very distinction between art and life, thereby denying the value of works of art as such, it椀猀 渀漀琀 猀甀爀瀀爀椀猀椀渀最 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀礀 洀椀渀椀洀椀稀攀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀✀猀 爀漀氀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 挀爀攀愀琀椀瘀攀 瀀爀漀挀攀猀猀⸀ 䴀攀愀渀椀渀最昀甀氀 椀渀琀攀渀琀椀漀渀 椀猀 搀漀眀渀瀀氀愀礀攀搀 漀爀 甀琀琀攀爀氀礀 爀攀樀攀挀琀攀搀⸀ 䤀渀 椀琀猀 瀀氀愀挀攀Ⰰ chance and accident are fully accepted as legitimate factors in the creative process. Cage, for example (notorious for his practice of composing∀洀甀猀椀挀∀ 戀礀 爀漀氀氀椀渀最 搀椀挀攀⤀Ⰰ 愀挀琀甀愀氀氀礀 猀琀愀琀攀搀㨀 ∀嬀䴀崀礀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀 椀猀 琀漀 爀攀洀漀瘀攀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀⸀∀ 吀栀愀琀 愀琀琀椀琀甀搀攀 眀愀猀 攀挀栀漀攀搀 戀礀 刀愀甀猀挀栀攀渀戀攀爀最Ⰰ 栀椀猀 昀爀攀焀甀攀渀琀 collaborator. When a curator speculated about a purposeful intention in one of his canvases, Rauschenberg is said to have remarked: "You mean䤀 栀愀搀 愀 搀椀爀攀挀琀椀漀渀㼀 䤀琀✀猀 愀 搀愀洀渀攀搀 最漀漀搀 琀栀椀渀最 䤀 搀椀搀渀✀琀 欀渀漀眀 琀栀愀琀 戀攀昀漀爀攀 䤀 搀椀搀 琀栀攀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最⸀ 圀栀攀渀 䤀 欀渀漀眀 眀栀愀琀 䤀✀洀 搀漀椀渀最Ⰰ 䤀 搀漀渀✀琀 搀漀 椀琀⸀∀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀吀栀攀 猀欀攀琀挀栀戀漀漀欀猀 漀昀 愀渀漀琀栀攀爀 氀攀愀搀椀渀最 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀Ⰰ 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀洀攀琀洀甀猀攀甀洀⸀漀爀最⼀琀漀愀栀⼀栀搀⼀樀漀栀渀⼀栀搀开樀漀栀渀⸀栀琀洀∀㸀䨀愀猀瀀攀爀 䨀漀栀渀猀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 愀爀攀 昀甀氀氀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 瀀漀椀渀琀氀攀猀猀 渀漀琀攀猀 愀猀 ∀倀甀琀 愀 氀漀琀 漀昀 瀀愀椀渀琀 ☀愀洀瀀㬀 愀 眀漀漀搀攀渀 戀愀氀氀 漀爀 漀琀栀攀爀 object on a board. Push to the other end of the board. Use this in a painting." And "Take a canvas. / Put a mark on it. / Put another mark on it." 一漀琀眀椀琀栀猀琀愀渀搀椀渀最 琀栀攀 洀椀渀搀氀攀猀猀渀攀猀猀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 愀渀 愀瀀瀀爀漀愀挀栀 琀漀 琀栀攀 挀爀攀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 栀攀愀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀猀琀椀最椀漀甀猀 圀椀氀搀攀渀猀琀攀椀渀 愀爀琀 最愀氀氀攀爀礀 椀渀 一攀眀 夀漀爀欀ⴀⴀ愀 gallery famous for its handling of Old Master paintings--recently referred to Johns as today's "greatest living artist." Surely a sign of just how瀀爀攀挀椀瀀椀琀漀甀猀氀礀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀 栀愀猀 搀攀挀氀椀渀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 愀渀礀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最昀甀氀 猀琀愀渀搀愀爀搀℀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䄀渀搀礀 圀愀爀栀漀氀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 瀀爀攀攀洀椀渀攀渀琀 瀀甀爀瘀攀礀漀爀 漀昀 ∀倀漀瀀 愀爀琀Ⰰ∀ 昀甀爀琀栀攀爀 琀礀瀀椀昀椀攀猀 琀栀攀 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀✀ 搀椀猀洀椀猀猀椀瘀攀 愀琀琀椀琀甀搀攀 琀漀眀愀爀搀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀✀猀 挀爀攀愀琀椀瘀攀 爀漀氀攀⸀ Some theorists (most notably, the philosopher-critic Arthur Danto) have attempted to read serious philosophic or sociopolitical intent into banal瀀椀攀挀攀猀 猀甀挀栀 愀猀 栀椀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀最愀氀氀攀爀椀攀猀⸀漀爀最⼀洀攀搀椀愀⼀开猀漀甀爀挀攀⼀攀砀栀椀戀椀琀椀漀渀猀开㈀ 㜀⼀愀眀开开戀爀椀氀氀漀开戀漀砀攀猀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䈀爀椀氀氀漀 䈀漀砀攀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀 嬀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀甀瀀攀渀渀⸀攀搀甀⼀瀀攀渀渀渀攀眀猀⼀挀甀爀爀攀渀琀⼀㈀ ⼀ ㈀㔀 ⼀昀攀愀琀甀爀攀⸀栀琀洀氀∀㸀洀漀爀攀㰀⼀愀㸀崀 漀爀 栀椀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀甀瀀氀漀愀搀⸀眀椀欀椀洀攀搀椀愀⸀漀爀最⼀眀椀欀椀瀀攀搀椀愀⼀攀渀⼀琀栀甀洀戀⼀㘀⼀㘀㜀⼀䜀爀攀攀渀挀漀挀愀挀漀氀愀⸀樀瀀最⼀㌀ 瀀砀ⴀ䜀爀攀攀渀挀漀挀愀挀漀氀愀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀 Green Coca Cola Bottles, while others praise Pop art, in general, as "simple, direct, and immediately挀漀洀瀀爀攀栀攀渀猀椀戀氀攀⸀∀ 圀愀爀栀漀氀✀猀 漀眀渀 眀漀爀搀猀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 椀渀搀椀挀愀琀攀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀愀氀 攀洀瀀琀椀渀攀猀猀 漀昀 栀椀猀 戀氀愀渀搀氀礀 洀攀挀栀愀渀椀挀愀氀 愀渀搀 爀攀瀀攀琀椀琀椀瘀攀 眀漀爀欀ⴀⴀ洀甀挀栀 漀昀 which was, in fact, mechanically produced by assistants in his studio (aptly dubbed the "Factory" by him)--was neither a quasi-philosophic爀攀昀氀攀挀琀椀漀渀 漀渀 琀栀攀 渀愀琀甀爀攀 漀昀 愀爀琀 渀漀爀 愀渀 椀爀漀渀椀挀 挀漀洀洀攀渀琀 漀渀Ⰰ 漀爀 挀爀椀琀椀焀甀攀 漀昀Ⰰ 挀漀渀猀甀洀攀爀椀猀洀 戀甀琀 洀攀爀攀氀礀 愀 搀椀爀攀挀琀 爀攀昀氀攀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 栀椀猀 漀眀渀 搀椀猀琀甀爀戀攀搀 psychology. "Everything is nothing," he once wrote. "The reason I'm painting this way," he told an interviewer, "is that I want to be a machine."
In recent decades, postmodernists have attempted to assume a more meaningful role for themselves as "artists," by referring to social and瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀愀氀 椀猀猀甀攀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀椀爀 眀漀爀欀 ⠀琀栀椀猀 猀漀挀椀漀瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀愀氀 昀漀挀甀猀 栀愀猀 攀渀搀攀愀爀攀搀 琀栀攀洀 琀漀 愀搀瘀漀挀愀琀攀猀 漀昀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀愀爀椀猀琀漀猀⸀漀爀最⼀愀爀椀猀ⴀ 㐀⼀爀攀猀挀甀椀渀最⸀栀琀洀∀㸀嘀椀猀甀愀氀 䌀甀氀琀甀爀攀 匀琀甀搀椀攀猀㰀⼀愀㸀 椀渀 愀爀琀 攀搀甀挀愀琀椀漀渀⤀⸀ 夀攀琀 琀栀攀礀 continue to work in anti-art genres such as "installation" and "conceptual art" --which, as I indicated above, had been invented in the 1960s with琀栀攀 攀砀瀀爀攀猀猀 椀渀琀攀渀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 㰀攀洀㸀猀甀戀瘀攀爀琀椀渀最㰀⼀攀洀㸀 愀爀琀⸀ 吀栀攀礀 挀栀漀漀猀攀 琀栀攀猀攀 最攀渀爀攀猀 渀漀琀 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 琀栀攀礀 挀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀 琀栀攀洀 琀漀 戀攀 琀栀攀 洀漀猀琀 攀昀昀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 洀攀愀渀猀 琀漀 挀漀渀瘀攀礀 whatever ideas they may have but because they lack the talent and skill to paint or sculpt. Damien Hirst, one of the postmodernist artworld's猀甀瀀攀爀猀琀愀爀猀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 挀漀渀昀椀搀攀搀 椀渀 愀 琀攀氀攀瘀椀猀攀搀 椀渀琀攀爀瘀椀攀眀 琀栀愀琀 栀攀 眀漀甀氀搀 爀攀愀氀氀礀 氀椀欀攀 琀漀 戀攀 愀戀氀攀 琀漀 瀀愀椀渀琀ⴀⴀ琀栀愀琀 椀猀Ⰰ 琀漀 ∀爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 琀栀攀 琀栀爀攀攀ⴀ搀椀洀攀渀猀椀漀渀愀氀 world on a two-dimensional surface"--but had "tried it and . . . couldn't do it." When faced with the void of a blank canvas, he further explained,∀䤀 搀漀渀✀琀 欀渀漀眀 眀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 栀攀氀氀 琀漀 搀漀⸀∀ 䄀渀 攀渀琀椀爀攀 最攀渀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 眀漀甀氀搀ⴀ戀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀猀 氀椀欀攀 栀椀洀 栀愀瘀攀 最爀愀搀甀愀琀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 愀爀琀 猀挀栀漀漀氀猀 栀攀爀攀 愀渀搀 愀戀爀漀愀搀 眀椀琀栀 渀漀 real art instruction, and they fill museums and galleries with their videos, photography, and installation pieces.
Typical of this vein of postmodernism is an installation by a Rhode Island high school student, who won a silver key for the piece in the state's匀挀栀漀氀愀猀琀椀挀 䄀爀琀 挀漀洀瀀攀琀椀琀椀漀渀ⴀⴀ瀀爀漀瘀漀欀椀渀最 愀 猀洀愀氀氀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀 昀甀爀漀爀 眀栀攀渀 愀 氀漀挀愀氀 挀椀琀椀稀攀渀 漀戀樀攀挀琀攀搀 琀漀 琀栀攀 眀漀爀欀⸀ 吀栀攀 瀀椀攀挀攀 椀猀 愀 搀椀漀爀愀洀愀ⴀ氀椀欀攀 ∀愀猀猀攀洀戀氀愀最攀∀ that simply juxtaposes quotes from Adolf Hitler with statements by President George W. Bush; Nazi swastikas with American flags; and sand-colored toy soldiers (representing Americans) with olive-drab figures (representing Nazis). It is evident that the student 栀愀猀 搀漀渀攀 渀漀琀栀椀渀最 琀漀 shape the material, and any other arrangement of appropriated images and texts might have just as easily conveyed his crude political椀渀琀攀渀琀ⴀⴀ眀栀椀挀栀 眀愀猀 ∀琀漀 瀀漀椀渀琀 漀甀琀 挀攀爀琀愀椀渀 猀椀洀椀氀愀爀椀琀椀攀猀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 琀栀攀 唀⸀匀⸀ⴀ氀攀搀 眀愀爀 椀渀 䤀爀愀焀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 䜀攀爀洀愀渀 戀氀椀琀稀欀爀椀攀最Ⰰ∀ 愀猀 栀攀 琀漀氀搀 琀栀攀 㰀攀洀㸀倀爀漀瘀椀搀攀渀挀攀 Journal. As in all "conceptual art," no skill was involved--only a simple-minded (and historically ill-informed) idea. To the citizen who挀漀洀瀀氀愀椀渀攀搀 愀戀漀甀琀 椀琀Ⰰ 椀琀 椀猀 洀攀爀攀氀礀 愀 戀椀琀 漀昀 漀昀昀攀渀猀椀瘀攀 瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀愀氀 瀀爀漀瀀愀最愀渀搀愀⸀ 吀漀 琀栀攀 琀攀愀挀栀攀爀猀 眀栀漀 愀眀愀爀搀攀搀 椀琀 愀 猀椀氀瘀攀爀 欀攀礀Ⰰ 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 椀琀 焀甀愀氀椀昀椀攀猀 愀猀 愀爀琀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀㰀猀琀爀漀渀最㸀䄀 匀愀渀攀 䄀氀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀瘀攀㰀⼀猀琀爀漀渀最㸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀吀栀攀 瘀椀攀眀 漀昀 愀爀琀 愀爀琀椀挀甀氀愀琀攀搀 戀礀 䄀礀渀 刀愀渀搀 愀渀搀 愀渀愀氀礀稀攀搀 椀渀 搀攀琀愀椀氀 椀渀 㰀攀洀㸀圀栀愀琀 䄀爀琀 䤀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀猀 愀 猀愀渀攀 愀氀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀瘀攀 琀漀 戀漀琀栀 洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀洀 愀渀搀 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀洀⸀ What follows below is a cursory summary of that view.
The relationship between art and life. On the crucial question of the connection between art and life, Rand's theory holds (in sharp contrast with洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀洀 愀渀搀 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀洀⤀ 琀栀愀琀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀Ⰰ 氀椀欀攀 琀栀攀 漀琀栀攀爀 洀愀樀漀爀 愀爀琀 昀漀爀洀猀Ⰰ 猀攀爀瘀攀 愀渀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀琀 瀀猀礀挀栀漀氀漀最椀挀愀氀 昀甀渀挀琀椀漀渀ⴀⴀ漀渀攀 琀栀愀琀 椀猀 intimately associated with our life as conscious beings. Through carefully wrought images informed by the artist's knowledge, experience, and昀攀攀氀椀渀最猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 攀洀戀漀搀礀 瘀愀氀甀攀猀ⴀⴀ愀 瘀椀攀眀 漀昀 氀椀昀攀ⴀⴀ椀渀 瀀攀爀挀攀瀀琀甀愀氀氀礀 愀渀搀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀愀氀氀礀 挀漀洀瀀攀氀氀椀渀最 昀漀爀洀⸀ 䤀渀 猀漀 搀漀椀渀最Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 猀攀爀瘀攀 琀漀 洀愀欀攀 甀猀 洀漀爀攀 愀眀愀爀攀 of what we think and how we feel about the world and our life in it (as well as about the alternative worlds we imagine). They bring those ideas愀渀搀 瘀愀氀甀攀猀 洀漀爀攀 昀甀氀氀礀 琀漀 挀漀渀猀挀椀漀甀猀渀攀猀猀⸀ 䤀渀 瘀椀猀甀愀氀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 洀攀愀渀猀 攀洀瀀氀漀礀攀搀 琀漀 愀挀挀漀洀瀀氀椀猀栀 琀栀椀猀 椀猀 琀栀攀 猀攀氀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 爀攀ⴀ挀爀攀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 瘀椀猀椀戀氀攀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䘀漀爀洀⼀猀琀礀氀攀 瘀猀⸀ 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀⼀挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀⸀ 匀椀渀挀攀 琀栀攀 瀀甀爀瀀漀猀攀 漀昀 攀愀挀栀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 愀爀琀 椀猀 琀漀 攀洀戀漀搀礀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最Ⰰ 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 琀栀攀 攀礀攀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀Ⰰ 昀漀爀洀 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀 are important--not in themselves, but because they affect the work's ultimate significance. Meaning, or content, is the product of subject matter,昀漀爀洀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 猀琀礀氀攀⸀ 吀栀漀甀最栀 琀栀攀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 洀愀琀琀攀爀 漀昀 倀椀挀愀猀猀漀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀琀愀琀攀⸀漀爀最⸀甀欀⼀愀爀琀⼀愀爀琀眀漀爀欀猀⼀瀀椀挀愀猀猀漀ⴀ眀攀攀瀀椀渀最ⴀ眀漀洀愀渀ⴀ琀 㔀 ∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀圀攀攀瀀椀渀最 圀漀洀愀渀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 猀愀礀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 刀甀戀攀渀猀✀猀 搀爀愀眀椀渀最 漀昀 愀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀挀猀甀搀栀⸀攀搀甀⼀搀攀愀爀栀愀戀攀爀洀愀猀⼀爀甀戀攀渀猀⸀猀氀椀搀攀⸀㔀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀夀漀甀渀最 Woman (Study for the Head of匀琀⸀ 䄀瀀漀氀氀漀渀椀愀⤀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 昀漀爀 攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀ⴀⴀ漀爀 倀椀挀愀猀猀漀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀樀愀渀⸀甀挀挀⸀渀愀甀⸀攀搀甀⼀縀樀搀攀㜀⼀攀猀攀㔀 㐀⼀挀氀愀猀猀⼀椀洀愀最攀猀⼀猀琀攀瀀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䘀椀爀猀琀 匀琀攀瀀猀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀 愀渀搀 䌀攀挀椀氀椀愀 䈀攀愀甀砀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀洀攀琀洀甀猀攀甀洀⸀漀爀最⼀眀漀爀欀猀开漀昀开愀爀琀⼀挀漀氀氀攀挀琀椀漀渀开搀愀琀愀戀愀猀攀⼀愀洀攀爀椀挀愀渀开瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最猀开愀渀搀开猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀⼀攀爀渀攀猀琀愀开挀栀椀氀搀开眀椀琀栀开渀甀爀猀攀开挀攀挀椀氀椀愀开戀攀愀甀砀⼀漀戀樀攀挀琀瘀椀攀眀开攀渀氀愀爀最攀⸀愀猀瀀砀㼀瀀愀最攀㴀 ☀猀漀爀琀㴀 ☀猀漀爀琀搀椀爀㴀愀猀挀☀欀攀礀眀漀爀搀㴀☀昀瀀㴀☀搀搀㴀㈀☀搀搀㈀㴀 ☀瘀眀㴀 ☀挀漀氀氀䤀䐀㴀㈀☀伀䤀䐀㴀㈀ 㐀㘀㤀☀瘀吀㴀∀㸀 Ernesta (Child with Nurse)--is similar, the stylistic disparity of these椀洀愀最攀猀 礀椀攀氀搀猀 瘀愀猀琀氀礀 搀椀昀昀攀爀攀渀琀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 猀甀最最攀猀琀猀 洀甀挀栀 愀戀漀甀琀 琀栀攀 瘀愀氀甀攀猀 愀渀搀 猀攀渀猀椀戀椀氀椀琀礀 漀昀 攀愀挀栀 愀爀琀椀猀琀⸀ 䄀渀搀 攀愀挀栀 眀椀氀氀 渀漀 搀漀甀戀琀 攀氀椀挀椀琀 瘀攀爀礀 different responses on the part of a viewer, according to his own values and sense of life.
The role of emotion. I have already hinted at the role of emotion in this alternative view of art. Contrary to postmodernist theory, emotion has愀氀眀愀礀猀 戀攀攀渀 搀攀攀洀攀搀 愀 挀爀甀挀椀愀氀 昀愀挀琀漀爀 椀渀 戀漀琀栀 琀栀攀 挀爀攀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀攀 琀漀 椀琀⸀ 䈀甀琀 攀焀甀愀氀氀礀 挀漀渀琀爀愀爀礀 琀漀 㰀攀洀㸀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 渀漀琀椀漀渀猀Ⰰ 椀琀 挀愀渀渀漀琀 戀攀 expressed directly in abstract form. It must be suggested through objective forms. Centuries ago Chinese poets and sages wisely spoke, for攀砀愀洀瀀氀攀Ⰰ 漀昀 琀栀攀 渀攀攀搀 琀漀 ∀攀洀戀攀搀 昀攀攀氀椀渀最猀 椀渀 愀渀 漀戀樀攀挀琀⸀∀ 㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䔀瘀攀爀礀 最攀渀甀椀渀攀 眀漀爀欀 漀昀 愀爀琀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀猀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀 挀愀爀攀搀 愀戀漀甀琀 攀渀漀甀最栀 琀漀 栀愀瘀攀 最漀渀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 挀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀愀戀氀攀 琀爀漀甀戀氀攀 漀昀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀椀渀最 椀琀⸀ 圀栀攀琀栀攀爀 a direct interpretation of observed nature, or an imaginary re-creation of reality, every true work of art reflects what its maker regarded as worth爀攀洀攀洀戀攀爀椀渀最 漀爀 爀攀昀氀攀挀琀椀渀最 甀瀀漀渀⸀ 䄀渀搀 攀愀挀栀 瘀椀攀眀攀爀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀搀猀 攀洀漀琀椀漀渀愀氀氀礀 琀漀 眀栀愀琀 椀猀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀攀搀 愀挀挀漀爀搀椀渀最 琀漀 琀栀攀 瘀愀氀甀攀猀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀 瘀椀攀眀 栀攀 栀漀氀搀猀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀㰀攀洀㸀吀栀攀 挀爀攀愀琀椀瘀攀 爀漀氀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀椀猀琀⸀㰀⼀攀洀㸀 䄀渀搀礀 圀愀爀栀漀氀✀猀 挀漀洀洀攀渀琀 琀栀愀琀 栀攀 搀椀搀渀✀琀 氀漀瘀攀 愀渀礀琀栀椀渀最 攀渀漀甀最栀 ∀琀漀 眀愀渀琀 琀漀 猀椀琀 搀漀眀渀 愀渀搀 瀀愀椀渀琀 嬀椀琀崀 氀漀瘀椀渀最氀礀 愀渀搀 patiently" reveals a profound truth about the nature of the artist's role, and the part that emotion plays in it. Ironically, it is Warhol's tacit愀搀洀椀猀猀椀漀渀 琀栀愀琀 栀攀 眀愀猀 爀攀愀氀氀礀 渀漀琀 愀渀 愀爀琀椀猀琀Ⰰ 搀攀猀瀀椀琀攀 栀椀猀 昀愀椀爀 琀愀氀攀渀琀 愀猀 愀渀 椀氀氀甀猀琀爀愀琀漀爀 攀愀爀氀礀 椀渀 栀椀猀 挀愀爀攀攀爀⸀ 一漀眀 挀漀渀琀爀愀猀琀 圀愀爀栀漀氀✀猀 爀攀洀愀爀欀猀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀猀攀 漀昀 Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to his brother Theo about a painting he was just finishing: The Potato Eaters. About this work, depicting a group漀昀 爀漀甀最栀 瀀攀愀猀愀渀琀猀 猀攀愀琀攀搀 愀琀 琀栀攀椀爀 猀椀洀瀀氀攀 搀椀渀渀攀爀 琀愀戀氀攀 椀渀 愀 搀椀洀氀礀 氀椀琀 爀漀漀洀Ⰰ 栀攀 眀爀漀琀攀㨀㰀⼀瀀㸀
I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the搀椀猀栀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 猀漀 椀琀 猀瀀攀愀欀猀 漀昀 㰀攀洀㸀洀愀渀甀愀氀 氀愀戀漀爀㰀⼀攀洀㸀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 栀漀眀 琀栀攀礀 栀愀瘀攀 栀漀渀攀猀琀氀礀 攀愀爀渀攀搀 琀栀攀椀爀 昀漀漀搀⸀ ⼀ 䤀 栀愀瘀攀 眀愀渀琀攀搀 琀漀 最椀瘀攀 琀栀攀 椀洀瀀爀攀猀猀椀漀渀 漀昀 愀 眀愀礀 漀昀 氀椀昀攀 quite different from [ours]. 㰀⼀戀氀漀挀欀焀甀漀琀攀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䄀渀搀 氀愀琀攀爀 栀攀 愀搀搀攀搀㨀 㰀⼀瀀㸀Painting peasant life is a serious thing, and I should reproach myself if I did not try to make pictures which will rouse serious thoughts in琀栀漀猀攀 眀栀漀 琀栀椀渀欀 猀攀爀椀漀甀猀氀礀 愀戀漀甀琀 愀爀琀 愀渀搀 氀椀昀攀⸀
He further explained that, though the entire painting would be completed in a relatively short time and largely from memory, "it [had] taken a眀栀漀氀攀 眀椀渀琀攀爀 漀昀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 猀琀甀搀椀攀猀 漀昀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀猀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀最愀氀氀攀爀椀攀猀⸀漀爀最⼀挀漀氀氀攀挀琀椀漀渀⼀愀爀琀椀猀琀猀ⴀ愀ⴀ稀⼀瘀⼀愀爀琀椀猀琀⼀瘀椀渀挀攀渀琀ⴀ瘀愀渀ⴀ最漀最栀⼀漀戀樀攀挀琀⼀琀栀攀ⴀ栀攀愀搀ⴀ漀昀ⴀ愀ⴀ瀀攀愀猀愀渀琀ⴀ眀漀洀愀渀ⴀ渀最ⴀ㈀㈀㘀∀㸀栀攀愀搀猀㰀⼀愀㸀 嬀㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀猀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀洀礀愀爀琀瀀爀椀渀琀猀⸀挀漀洀⼀欀甀渀猀琀⼀瘀椀渀挀攀渀琀开瘀愀渀开最漀最栀⼀栀攀愀搀开漀昀开愀开瀀攀愀猀愀渀琀开猀琀甀搀礀开昀漀爀开琀栀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀洀漀爀攀㰀⼀愀㸀崀 愀渀搀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀猀㨀⼀⼀甀瀀氀漀愀搀⸀眀椀欀椀洀攀搀椀愀⸀漀爀最⼀眀椀欀椀瀀攀搀椀愀⼀挀漀洀洀漀渀猀⼀㈀⼀㈀㌀⼀嘀愀渀开䜀漀最栀开㠀㠀㔀ⴀ ㌀ⴀⴀ㠀㠀㔀ⴀ 㐀Ⰰ开一甀攀渀攀渀开ⴀ开匀琀甀搀礀Ⰰ开吀栀爀攀攀开䠀愀渀搀猀Ⰰ开吀眀漀开䠀漀氀搀椀渀最开䘀漀爀欀猀开䘀开㘀爀开䨀䠀开㜀㐀㘀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀栀愀渀搀猀㰀⼀愀㸀⸀∀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀嘀椀渀挀攀渀琀✀猀 氀攀琀琀攀爀猀 愀爀攀 昀甀氀氀 漀昀 猀甀挀栀 瀀愀猀猀愀最攀猀 搀攀猀挀爀椀戀椀渀最 琀栀攀 椀洀瀀爀攀猀猀椀漀渀 琀栀椀渀最猀 栀攀 栀愀猀 猀攀攀渀 栀愀瘀攀 洀愀搀攀 甀瀀漀渀 栀椀洀 愀渀搀 栀椀猀 猀琀爀甀最最氀攀 琀漀 洀愀猀琀攀爀 琀攀挀栀渀椀焀甀攀 in order to give them satisfactory expression. And his comments are worlds apart from the inane notes I quoted earlier from Jasper Johns's猀欀攀琀挀栀戀漀漀欀猀⸀ ∀吀愀欀攀 愀 挀愀渀瘀愀猀⸀ ⼀ 倀甀琀 愀 洀愀爀欀 漀渀 椀琀⸀ ⼀ 倀甀琀 愀渀漀琀栀攀爀 洀愀爀欀 漀渀 椀琀⸀∀ 䨀愀猀瀀攀爀 䨀漀栀渀猀 椀猀 渀漀琀 愀渀 愀爀琀椀猀琀⸀ 嘀椀渀挀攀渀琀 瘀愀渀 䜀漀最栀 眀愀猀⸀ 䠀椀猀 愀挀挀漀甀渀琀 漀昀 the creative process is expressive of something universal in human nature, when that nature has not been thrown off course by foolish theories of愀爀琀⸀ 䌀攀渀琀甀爀椀攀猀 漀昀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 挀漀洀洀攀渀琀愀琀漀爀猀 栀愀瘀攀 猀椀洀椀氀愀爀氀礀 攀洀瀀栀愀猀椀稀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀 漀昀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 椀猀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀搀甀挀琀 渀漀琀 漀渀氀礀 漀昀 琀攀挀栀渀椀焀甀攀 戀甀琀 漀昀 搀攀攀瀀 thought and feeling as well. In the words of one Chinese poet, Po Chu-i: 㰀戀氀漀挀欀焀甀漀琀攀㸀倀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 椀猀 渀漀琀 漀渀氀礀 猀欀椀氀氀Ⰰ 琀栀漀甀最栀 氀椀欀攀渀攀猀猀 挀愀渀渀漀琀 戀攀 爀攀渀搀攀爀攀搀 眀椀琀栀漀甀琀 猀欀椀氀氀⸀ ⸀ ⸀ ⸀ 嬀吀崀漀 攀砀瀀爀攀猀猀 愀渀 椀搀攀愀 漀爀 琀漀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 愀渀 漀戀樀攀挀琀 瀀爀漀瀀攀爀氀礀Ⰰ 椀琀 洀甀猀琀 戀攀 琀甀爀渀攀搀 漀瘀攀爀 愀渀搀 漀瘀攀爀 愀最愀椀渀 椀渀 琀栀攀 洀椀渀搀Ⰰ 甀渀琀椀氀 椀琀 甀渀椀琀攀猀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 猀漀甀氀⸀
The greatest artists, therefore, have not only developed keen powers of observation, they have also possessed great sensitivity, and have so honed琀栀攀椀爀 猀欀椀氀氀 愀琀 瘀椀猀甀愀氀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀礀 愀爀攀 愀戀氀攀 琀漀 攀洀戀漀搀礀 琀栀攀椀爀 猀攀渀猀攀 漀昀 氀椀昀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀椀爀 眀漀爀欀⸀ 䤀琀 椀猀 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀椀爀 挀愀瀀愀挀椀琀礀 琀漀 琀栀椀渀欀 愀渀搀 昀攀攀氀 intensely, and to create images that give expression to their thoughts and feelings, that their work is of value to others. Their subject matter may愀琀 琀椀洀攀猀 愀瀀瀀攀愀爀 焀甀椀琀攀 漀爀搀椀渀愀爀礀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 琀栀攀椀爀 琀爀攀愀琀洀攀渀琀 漀昀 琀栀攀 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀 渀攀瘀攀爀 椀猀⸀ 䤀渀 眀漀爀欀猀 猀甀挀栀 愀猀 嘀攀爀洀攀攀爀✀猀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀瘀攀爀洀攀攀爀ⴀ昀漀甀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀⸀漀爀最⼀嘀椀攀眀ⴀ漀昀ⴀ䐀攀氀昀琀ⴀ㘀㔀㤀ⴀ㘀 ⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀嘀椀攀眀 漀昀 䐀攀氀昀琀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 吀栀漀洀愀猀 䔀愀欀椀渀猀✀猀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 漀昀 a Baby at Play, a kitchen Still Life by Chardin, or a twelfth-century 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 漀昀 愀 㰀愀 栀爀攀昀㴀∀栀琀琀瀀㨀⼀⼀眀眀眀⸀愀爀琀ⴀ瘀椀爀琀甀攀⸀挀漀洀⼀瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最⼀栀椀猀琀漀爀礀⼀猀甀渀最⼀愀渀漀渀礀洀漀甀猀⼀欀椀琀琀攀渀⸀樀瀀最∀㸀㰀攀洀㸀䬀椀琀琀攀渀㰀⼀攀洀㸀㰀⼀愀㸀Ⰰ 攀瘀攀渀 漀爀搀椀渀愀爀礀 琀栀椀渀最猀 最愀椀渀 愀 栀攀椀最栀琀攀渀攀搀 reality that endows them with enhanced value and significance.
* * *
Since I originally prepared these remarks for an audience of art teachers, let me add a word about some implications the alternative view of art I栀愀瘀攀 漀甀琀氀椀渀攀搀 眀漀甀氀搀 栀愀瘀攀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀 挀氀愀猀猀爀漀漀洀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 猀琀甀搀椀漀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 洀甀猀攀甀洀⸀ 吀漀 戀攀最椀渀 眀椀琀栀Ⰰ 䤀 眀漀甀氀搀 攀挀栀漀 䨀愀挀焀甀攀猀 䈀愀爀稀甀渀 椀渀 甀爀最椀渀最 琀攀愀挀栀攀爀猀 愀渀搀 others to use common sense (as well as urge young people to use theirs) on the question of what constitutes a work of art. If artworld瀀爀漀昀攀猀猀椀漀渀愀氀猀 氀椀欀攀 琀栀攀 栀攀愀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 圀椀氀搀攀渀猀琀攀椀渀 最愀氀氀攀爀礀 挀愀渀✀琀 爀攀挀漀最渀椀稀攀 琀栀愀琀 眀栀愀琀 䨀愀猀瀀攀爀 䨀漀栀渀猀 愀渀搀 漀琀栀攀爀 瀀漀猀琀洀漀搀攀爀渀椀猀琀猀 搀漀 栀愀猀 渀漀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀栀椀瀀 琀漀 what the Old Masters did, then they are the real philistines and there is no reason to follow their example. The time is long overdue to declare琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 愀爀琀眀漀爀氀搀 攀洀瀀攀爀漀爀猀 栀愀瘀攀 渀漀 挀氀漀琀栀攀猀⸀ 吀栀椀猀 愀搀洀漀渀椀琀椀漀渀 椀渀挀氀甀搀攀猀 爀攀ⴀ挀漀渀猀椀搀攀爀椀渀最 琀栀攀 猀琀愀琀甀猀 漀昀 愀戀猀琀爀愀挀琀 愀爀琀⸀ 䤀昀 戀礀 琀栀攀 琀攀爀洀 ∀愀爀琀∀ⴀⴀ愀猀 挀漀渀琀爀愀猀琀攀搀 with "decorative art"--we mean work that conveys meaning through visual form, abstract work (however serious or sincere the intentions of猀漀洀攀 漀昀 椀琀猀 洀愀欀攀爀猀⤀ 戀攀氀漀渀最猀Ⰰ 愀琀 戀攀猀琀Ⰰ 椀渀 琀栀攀 氀愀琀琀攀爀 挀愀琀攀最漀爀礀 愀渀搀Ⰰ 愀琀 眀漀爀猀琀Ⰰ 椀渀 渀攀椀琀栀攀爀⸀㰀⼀瀀㸀 㰀瀀㸀䴀漀爀攀漀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 䤀 眀漀甀氀搀 愀搀瘀椀猀攀 愀最愀椀渀猀琀 愀琀琀攀洀瀀琀椀渀最 琀漀 琀攀愀挀栀 猀琀甀搀攀渀琀猀 漀爀 洀甀猀攀甀洀 瘀椀猀椀琀漀爀猀 栀漀眀 琀漀 ∀挀漀洀瀀爀攀栀攀渀搀∀ 眀漀爀欀 琀栀愀琀 椀猀Ⰰ 戀礀 愀渀礀 漀戀樀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 猀琀愀渀搀愀爀搀Ⰰ incomprehensible. In the art classroom, I would banish collage and "installation" projects, photography, and video, and would focus instead on椀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 愀渀搀 瀀爀愀挀琀椀挀攀 椀渀 搀爀愀眀椀渀最 愀渀搀 漀渀 琀栀攀 猀琀甀搀礀 愀渀搀 愀瀀瀀爀攀挀椀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 栀椀最栀ⴀ焀甀愀氀椀琀礀 眀漀爀欀猀 漀昀 瀀愀椀渀琀椀渀最 愀渀搀 猀挀甀氀瀀琀甀爀攀 昀爀漀洀 愀氀氀 瀀攀爀椀漀搀猀 愀渀搀 cultures, including our own.
Finally, I would suggest that in teaching about a work of art, instructors begin by eliciting students' emotional response to the work, before瀀爀漀挀攀攀搀椀渀最 琀漀 琀栀攀 椀猀猀甀攀 漀昀 洀攀愀渀椀渀最 愀渀搀 栀漀眀 椀琀 椀猀 挀漀渀瘀攀礀攀搀⸀ 䘀漀爀 椀昀 愀氀氀 漀渀攀 搀漀攀猀 椀猀 椀渀琀攀氀氀攀挀琀甀愀氀椀稀攀 愀戀漀甀琀 愀爀琀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 栀愀猀 渀漀琀 爀攀愀氀氀礀 ∀最漀琀琀攀渀 椀琀Ⰰ∀ 愀渀搀 漀渀攀 might just as well be doing something else.