The Transfiguration of Arthur C. Danto
November 27, 2013 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Last month, we lost one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. Arthur C. Danto was perhaps the most eminent voice in contemporary aesthetics. Always on the cutting edge, Danto shined a light on aesthetics in the post-art world.

Obit from The Nation, where Danto was a long-time contributor. The obit page from Leiter, which has some nice links as well. Obit from n+1.

Danto first rose to prominence with his groundbreaking essay The Artworld, [pdf] which asked the famous question: if art looks like everyday objects, how do we tell them apart?

Some In Memoria from philosophers: Crispin Sartwell on Danto. Akeel Bilgrami on Danto. 5 pieces for Arthur Danto, including a memorium from Lydia Goehr, his good friend and colleague at Columbia.

Finally, here's a lecture Danto gave at the University of the Arts in 1995.
posted by Lutoslawski (8 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
And of course not to forget:

arthurdantist, n.: One who straightens the teeth of exotic dogmas. "Little Friedrich used to say the most wonderful things before we took him to the arthurdantist!" - Frau Nietzsche

(Which definition he proceeded to use as an epigraph in a later intro for his book on Nietzsche.)
posted by RogerB at 11:40 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

posted by alex_skazat at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2013

That was a weird book. It seemed to be an effort to persuade analytic philosophers that Nietzsche (who, I think, would have loathed the very idea) had relevance to their "problems".

Anyway, RIP.
posted by thelonius at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2013

Danto's "Nation" column had no illustrations, at least when I was reading it. He was able to talk about a work of art and have me see it in my head, which is exactly what a philosopher talking about art should be able to do. Before him, I rolled my eyes at Warhol and sneered at Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc". He taught me better.
posted by acrasis at 2:34 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

He cane to my university to speak in the early 90s. I enjoyed it so much. I had taken a philosophy of art class the year before in which I read quite a bit on the subject. I found Arthur Danto's writing clear and thoughtful. It is one of those times in my life that reading one specific piece clarified many others.
I subscribed to the Nation probably the next year and enjoyed his columns there too.
I hadn't thought of him in years. Thanks for posting.
posted by putzface_dickman at 5:58 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was reading "Transfiguration" on a plane the day before he died. My neighbour was a mother with a baby, and the baby kept trying to pull the book out of my hand.

posted by Beardman at 6:41 PM on November 27, 2013

Thank you for posting this. I truly enjoyed his work.

posted by safetyfork at 5:52 AM on November 29, 2013

posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on November 30, 2013

« Older From the Beginning to about 500 BC in (Roughly) 18...   |   MOOCs after Udacity's refocus Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments