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Cover

Why Is That Art?

Aesthetics and Criticism of Contemporary Art

Second Edition

Terry Barrett

Publication Date - September 2011

ISBN: 9780199758807

288 pages
Paperback
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $39.95

An accessible guide to the most useful and critical approaches to art--applied to a broad range of contemporary works

Description

Why is that art? Why is it in an art museum? Who says it's art? Why is it good? Author Terry Barrett addresses these questions about contemporary art using four key sources: a broad, diverse, and engaging sampling of works, the artists who created the works, philosophers of art, and art critics. Why Is That Art? introduces students to established theories of art through the presentation of contemporary works that include abstract and representational painting, monumental sculpture, performance art, video installations, films, and photographs.

Ideal for courses in aesthetics, art theory, art criticism, and the philosophy of art, this unique book provides students with a newfound appreciation for contemporary art, scholarship, and reasoned argumentation.

FEATURES
* Explores a variety of established theories of art, including Realism, Expressionism, Cognitivism, Formalism, and Postmodernist Pluralism
* Applies each theory to contemporary works of art, discussing strengths and limitations of each mode of interpretation
* Brings abstract ideas together in an accessible way through extended examples, giving students the understanding and vocabulary to confidently enter critical dialogue about art
* Includes Questions for Further Reflection at the end of each chapter
* Includes seventy illustrations, twenty-five of which are in full color

New to this Edition

  • Includes a new glossary of key terms
  • Expands the treatment of postmodernism, incorporating strategies of postmodernist art-making
  • Provides updated discussions of artists Jeff Koons, Kiki Smith, Paul McCarthy, and Andy Goldsworthy, as well as images of their new works

About the Author(s)

Terry Barrett is is Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas and Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 2007

Reviews

"A great book! Terry Barrett tackles complex ideas vital to understanding contemporary art, yet writes in a style that is accessible to students."--Patrick Luber, University of North Dakota

"A comprehensive, well-structured, and brilliantly articulated introduction to the theoretical ideas that inform our understanding of contemporary art and its discourses. The artists discussed are varied and diverse, which truly sets this book apart from so many others."--Derek Murray, University of California, Santa Cruz

"This book is fairly perfect. It is the best book for the level of my undergraduate students."--Irene Nero, Southeastern Louisiana University

Table of Contents

    * Each Chapter opens with an Introduction and ends with Questions for Further Reflection and Notes.
    Illustrations
    Preface
    Introduction
    CHAPTER 1. ARTWORLDS AND DEFINITIONS: HOW THAT BECAME ART
    Art
    Honorific Definitions of "Art"
    Classificatory Definitions
    The Open Definition
    Aesthetics
    Art Criticism
    Interpretation and Judgment
    Critics on Criticizing
    Criticizing Criticism
    Criticism and Aesthetics
    Skepticism about Art, Aesthetics, and Criticism
    Aesthetics, Art Criticism, and Visual Culture
    Aestheticians, Artists, Critics, and Readers
    CHAPTER 2: REALISM: ART IS REALISTIC, TRUTHFUL, AND BEAUTIFUL
    A Brief Overview of Realism
    Plato
    Aristotle
    Kitsch
    Pornography
    Obscenity and Censorship
    Photography, Reality, and Truth
    What Does It Mean to Say That a Work Is "Realistic"?
    Works of Art by Jeff Koons
    Critical Commentary on Koons's Work
    Koons's Thoughts about His Own Work
    Paintings by Alexis Rockman
    Critical Commentary on Rockman's Paintings
    Rockman's Thoughts about His Own Work
    Photographs by Andres Serrano
    Critical Commentary on Serrano's Photographs
    Serrano's Thoughts about His Own Work
    Conclusion
    Realism and Artists
    Realism and Artworks
    Realism and Audiences
    CHAPTER 3: EXPRESSIONISM AND COGNITIVISM: ART SHOWS FEELINGS, COMMUNICATES THOUGHTS, AND PROVIDES KNOWLEDGE
    Expressionism and Cognitivism
    Expressionist and Cognitivist Theories of Art
    Leo Tolstoy
    Benedetto Croce
    R. G. Collingwood
    Suzanne Langer
    John Dewey
    Nelson Goodman
    Arthur Danto
    Metaphor
    Psychoanalytic Theory
    Marxist Aesthetics
    Joan Mitchell, Painter
    Critical Commentary on Mitchell's Paintings
    Mitchell's Thoughts about Her Own Work
    Mitchell and Expressionism
    Louise Bourgeois, Sculptor
    Critical Commentary on Bourgeois's Sculptures
    Bourgeois's Thoughts about Her Own Work
    Bourgeois and Expressionism
    Kiki Smith, Printmaker and Sculptor
    Critical Commentary on Smith's Work
    Smith's Thoughts about Her Own Art
    Smith and Cognitivism
    The Problem of Artistic Intent
    Limitations of Expressionism and Cognitivism
    Conclusion
    Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Artists
    Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Artworks
    Expressionism, Cognitivism, and Audiences
    CHAPTER 4: FORMALISM: ART IS SIGNIFICANT FORM
    Precursors to Formalism
    Is Beauty Objective or Subjective?
    Early Formalism
    Aesthetic Attitude and Aesthetic Experience
    The Sublime
    Immanuel Kant
    G. W. F. Hegel
    Twentieth-Century Formalism
    Early Modern Abstractionists Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Malevich
    Clive Bell
    Clement Greenberg
    Structuralism
    Ferdinand de Saussure
    Roland Barthes
    Structuralism and Formalism
    Agnes Martin: Paintings and Drawings
    Critical Commentary on Martin's Work
    Martin's Thoughts about Her Own Work
    Joel Shapiro: Sculptures
    Critical Commentary on Shapiro's Work
    Shapiro's Thoughts about His Own Work
    Andy Goldsworthy: Environmental Sculptures
    Critical Commentary on Goldsworthy's Work
    Goldsworthy's Thoughts about His Own Work
    Strengths and Limitations of Formalism
    Conclusion
    Formalism and Artists
    Formalism and Artworks
    Formalism and Audiences
    CHAPTER 5: POSTMODERNIST PLURALISM: ART DESTABILIZES THE GOOD, THE TRUE, THE BEAUTIFUL, AND THE SELF
    Precursors to Poststructuralism and Postmodernism
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Critical Theory
    Poststructuralism
    Jacques Lacan
    Michel Foucault
    Julia Kristeva
    Jacques Derrida
    Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
    Richard Rorty
    Feminism
    Postmodernism
    Jean-François Lyotard
    Jean Baudrillard
    Frederic Jameson
    Postcolonialism
    Edward Said
    Cindy Sherman: Photographs
    Critical Commentary on Sherman's Photographs
    Sherman's Thoughts about Her Own Work
    Cindy Sherman and Postmodern Pluralism
    Lorna Simpson: Photographs with Words
    Critical Commentary on Simpson's Work
    Simpson's Thoughts about Her Own Work
    Lorna Simpson and Postmodern Pluralism
    Paul McCarthy: Performances, Videos, and Sculptures
    Critical Commentary on McCarthy's Work
    McCarthy's Thoughts about His Own Work
    McCarthy and Postmodern Pluralism
    Strengths and Limitations of Postmodernist Pluralism
    Approaches to Postmodern Artmaking
    Escaping the Confines of Museums
    Collapsing Boundaries Between "High" and "Low"
    Postmodern Pluralism and Artists
    Postmodern Pluralism and Artworks
    Postmodern Pluralism and Audiences
    Rejecting "Originality"
    Jouissance
    Working Collaboratively
    Appropriating
    Simulating
    Hybridizing
    Mixing Media
    Layering
    Mixing Codes
    Recontextualizing
    Confronting the Gaze
    Facing the Abject
    Constructing Identities
    Using Narratives
    Creating Metaphors
    Using Irony, Parody, and Dissonance
    Conclusion
    Postmodern Pluralism and Artists
    Postmodern Pluralism and Artworks
    Postmodern Pluralism and Audiences
    CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION
    Why Is Stacked Art?
    Art by Definition
    Is Stacked a Good Work of Art?
    Realist Considerations
    Expressionist Considerations
    Formalist Considerations
    Postmodernist Considerations
    Purposes of Art
    Selecting Criteria
    A Single Criterion or Multiple Criteria for All Works of Art
    Glossary
    Bibliography
    Index