Morgan Meis Remembers Arthur Danto


From this month’s issue of N+1: Morgan Meis’ “In Memoriam: The Miraculousness of the Commonplace, Remembering Arthur Datno”


Meis begins–

Arthur Danto, the art critic for the Nation who died last month in New York, was a man with a big idea. Art, he believed, had ended. Of course, it is one thing to proclaim the end of art; it is another thing to prove it. But Danto tried. He was Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, studied with Merleau-Ponty in Paris as a young man, and wrote a couple of books about analytical philosophy in his early career. Unusually for a postwar American philosopher, Danto thought a lot about Hegel. It was from Hegel that he got the idea that art could end. The idea that art ended never meant, for Danto, that art has died or that people will not make art anymore. Just like Hegel did not mean by the “end of history” that the world was going to explode. “End” here means something more like “completion.” The end of art means that the practice of making art has come to a historical culmination. The end of art means that art doesn’t have a story, a narrative, anymore. After the end of art, there is no such thing as “Art”—there is only art. [Click here to continue reading.]

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