Archive (1982–1997)

Aristos was founded in 1982 by Louis Torres, editor and publisher. Michelle Marder Kamhi joined it as associate editor in August 1984, and became co-editor in January 1992. Following the September 1997 issue, publication was temporarily suspended so that the editors could complete the writing of What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand—based on a series of articles they had written for Aristos in 1991 and 1992—and subsequently promote and publicize the book, which was published in 2000 by Open Court. In January 2002, the editors officially announced (in a letter to subscribers) their decision to suspend publication indefinitely, in order to devote full time to activities and projects evolving from What Art Is. They continued to publish on the website material comparable to that formerly offered in Aristos—much of it under What Art Is Online. In January 2003, they began publishing an online version of Aristos.

Much of the content of Aristos is timeless in nature. In addition to an online sampler of short articles and a representative listing of longer articles, see the annotated Table of Contents for a detailed listing of articles in all back issues.

Editorial Philosophy

[Most recent version prior to suspension of publication in 1997.]

Aristos is an independent journal advocating objective standards in arts scholarship and criticism. We argue that the concept of art (in the sense of the traditional "fine arts" of painting, sculpture, literature, music, and dance) can be objectively defined. Critical of both modernism and postmodernism, we vigorously oppose the increasingly bizarre and meaningless work promoted in the name of art since the early years of the twentieth century—from abstract painting and sculpture through the seemingly endless concoctions of postmodernism. We also champion contemporary work that, like the great art of past centuries, is concerned with fundamental human values, and is both intelligible and well crafted.

The editorial viewpoint of Aristos is broadly informed by Objectivism—the philosophy originated by Ayn Rand (author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged)—in particular, by the theory of art she outlined in the first four essays of The Romantic Manifesto, and by the theory of knowledge she formulated in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. We do not uncritically accept all of Rand's ideas, however. Our aim is to present well-reasoned commentary on the arts, and on the philosophy of art, for a broad audience of general readers and scholars. The fullest explication and application of Rand's philosophy of art may be found in our book What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand.

An Aristos Sampler

What Others Said about Us

Back Issues

An Aristos Sampler

Some short articles

Yes . . . But Is It Art?—Morley Safer and Murphy Brown Take on the Experts. Prime-time television mocks the fraudulence and pretension of today's "art world."
Blurring the Boundaries at the NEA. On the National Endowment for the Arts' disdain for definitions, and its destructive effect on arts education.
Kandinsky and His Progeny. How Bruce Nauman's bizarre postmodernist "installations" are related to Vasily Kandinsky's early modernist abstract paintings.
R. H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981). On the life and work of an influential painter, teacher, and writer, who was dedicated to perpetuating the high tradition of Western painting.

A short list of longer articles

Jack Schaefer, Teller of Tales. On the work of one of America's finest writers—the critically neglected author of the classic novel Shane, his first work of fiction. [Vol. 6 Nos. 4 and 5]
Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Art—A Critical Introduction. The first in-depth, scholarly analysis of the philosopher-novelist's theory of art—serialized in four issues. This series formed the basis of What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand [Vol. 5 Nos. 2-5]
Today's "Public Art"—Rarely Public, Rarely Art. Why the public rejects most contemporary "public art," whether government-funded or corporate-sponsored. [Vol. 4 No. 3]
The Child as Poet—An Insidious and Injurious Myth. On The Child as Poet: Myth or Reality?—a trenchant critique of the modernist approach to teaching children to write and appreciate poetry. [Vol. 4 No. 1]
The New Dawn of Painting. An essay-review on Realism in Revolution, a collection of essays by a group of contemporary classical-realist painters. [Vol. 3 No. 1]
The Misreading of Literature—Context, Would-Be Censors, and Critics. How censors and defenders alike misinterpret fiction through inattention to the author's context. [Vol. 3 No. 2]
Of Men and Music. A courageous early critique of the modernist attempt to alter the essential nature of music. One in a series of important reprints. [Vol. 6 No. 2]
Ayn Rand's "We the Living"—New Life in a Restored Film Version. Review of the re-edited version of a 1942 Italian film (in two parts: "Noi vivi" and "Addio, Kira!") based on Rand's semi-autobiographical first novel, set in Russia just after the communist
revolution. [Vol. 4 No. 4]
Revaluing the Liberal Arts. What "liberal education" truly means, and why it is in jeopardy today. [Vol. 6 No. 2]

What reviewers thought of us . . .

"The value is there, particularly as the point of view is unique . . . controversial and combative."

—Bill Katz, Library Journal, May 15, 1988

"Aristos is not just a passive, idealistic publication; it vigorously challenges
modernist scholars and critics. . . . A scholarly but gutsy little periodical that,
because it argues an unfashionable thesis, should be part of serious collections."

Magazines for Libraries, 6th ed. (1989)

"[Its feature articles carry] more weight than those found in more substantial periodicals."

Magazines for Libraries, 7th & 8th eds. (1993, 1997)

What readers said about us . . .

"Reading Aristos has given me much pleasure and instruction."

Jacques Barzun, Author of The Use and Abuse of Art, Classic, Romantic, and Modern, and The Culture We Deserve, among numerous other works—the most recent being From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present.

"Aristos is the only journal I know of that successfully applies Ayn Rand's philosophy of art to an original and illuminating analysis of art and esthetics. It consistently publishes independent-minded, well-written articles that enrich the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the arts."

Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar, New York University; Author of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical

"Although my book [The Child as Poet: Myth or Reality?] was reviewed in the New York Times and many professional journals, yours was such an insightful review that I am moved to write and thank you."

— Myra Cohn Livingston, Poet (1926-1996)

"Ayn Rand's Philosophy of Art—A Critical Introduction is the only good work I have seen on Rand's theory, some of the best work I have seen on any aspect of her oeuvre, and very good aesthetics in any case."

Randall R. Dipert, Professor of Philosophy, U. S. Military Academy; Author of Artifacts, Art Works, and Agency

Back issues

For a complete listing of back issues, see the annotated Table of Contents.

Queries regarding Aristos are welcome.
Write to aristos[at]aristos[dot]org]

© Copyright 1997-2019 by The Aristos Foundation. All rights reserved.
"Aristos" is the registered trademark of The Aristos Foundation.

Website created: March 19, 1997