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What is the purpose of a work of art? What drives us to make art? Why do we value art and consume it? Nick Zangwill argues that we cannot understand the nature of art without first having answers to these fundamental questions. On his view, which he dubs 'the Aesthetic Creation Theory', a work of art is something created for a particular aesthetic purpose. More specifically, the function of art is to have certain aesthetic properties in virtue of its non-aesthetic properties, and this function arises because of the artist's insight into the nature of these dependence relations and her intention to bring them about. In defending this view, Zangwill provides an account of aesthetic action and aesthetic creative thought and shows how the Aesthetic Creation Theory can accommodate two kinds of seeming counterexamples to aesthetic theories of art: narrative art and twentieth-century avant-garde art. Aesthetic Creation also contains a detailed exposition and critique of a range of rival views, including Dickie's institutional theory of art, accounts of art that make essential reference to an audience, and sociological theories which purport to explain the nature of art without recourse to the notion of the aesthetic.
unappropriated urinal. By itself, it does not establish that the pre-appropriated urinal was not a work of art. (Danto seems to admit that the ordinary urinal has aesthetic properties when he talks of ‘‘. . . aesthetes mooning over the gleaming surfaces . . .’’.) The fact that Fountain has a context-dependent meaning does not show that an indistinguishable object has no claim at all to being a work of art. Danto is right that the two objects have many different properties. They have different
that such descriptions may not be aesthetic descriptions, and that when they deploy typically aesthetic words (such as ‘‘elegance’’ or ‘‘beauty’’), their use may be metaphorical. Counterexamples 75 in play. The problematic cases with only narrative content are not like this. They have no aesthetic point at all, which seems to be bad news for aesthetic theorists. Given the existence of purely narrative works, what then is left of a general aesthetic theory of art? 2.2 Concepts of Art and Fine
arrangement of ﬂowers also veers into being art. We do not need to draw a sharp line. ⁹ See Kit Fine, ‘‘Essence and Modality’’, Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 8, 1994. ¹⁰ On general issues about functional kinds and modal intuitions, see George Bealer, ‘‘The Limits of Scientiﬁc Essentialism’’, Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 1, 1987. 102 Aesthetic Creation (F) Given Aesthetic Functionalism, it is natural to hold that there is no fundamental metaphysical difference between
about unknown intentions. However, there are two other cases which are more decisive in this respect. The ﬁrst example is that of private poetry. This is not intended for any audience. The vast majority of such poetry is never intended to be read by anyone except the person who wrote it. The second example is that of working sketches which are made in the course of preparing works of art which are intended for presentation to an audience. Working sketches are usually made with no intention that
Oldenberg 62 n Origin essentialism 10, 14, 82–96, 109–10, 113–14, 121, 126 Originality 44, 100 Painting 4, 21, 23, 25, 39, 49, 52, 76, 78, 81, 85–6, 94, 97, 102, 104–5, 110, 120–21, 162, 178 Passolini, Medea, Oedipus Rex 73 Patronage 147–9, 158, 176 Performance art 65, 74, 150 n Photography 18, 73 n Pleasure 11, 14–15, 25–6, 128, 142, 144, 146 n, 147, 158, 163, 165, 172, 177–99 Persistence 7–8, 82–126 Picasso, Pablo, Guernica 49 n, 92 Plays 73, 87, 89–90, 106, 145 Poetry 73, 81, 87, 105, 120–21,