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    What Art Is
    The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand

    by Louis Torres, Michelle Marder Kamhi

    🔍 What Art Is ~ READ MORE 🔍

    • Language: english
    • Author: Louis Torres, Michelle Marder Kamhi
    • Format: paperback, 523 pages
    • Publisher: Open Court
    • Genres: philosophy, art
    • ISBN: 9780812693737 (0812693736)
    • Release date: May 15, 2000

    About The Book

    ABSTRACT

    What is art? The arts establishment has a simple answer: anything is art if a reputed artist or expert says it is. Though many people are skeptical about the alleged new art forms that have proliferated since the early twentieth century, today’s critics claim that all such work, however incomprehensible, is art.

    A groundbreaking alternative to this view is provided by philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982). Best known as the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Rand also created an original and illuminating theory of art, which confirms the widespread view that much of today’s purported art is really not art at all.

    In What Art Is, Torres and Kamhi present a lucid introduction to Rand’s esthetic theory, contrasting her ideas with those of other thinkers. They conclude that, in its basic principles, her account is compelling, and is corroborated by evidence from anthropology, neurology, cognitive science, and psychology.

    The authors apply Rand’s theory to a debunking of the work of prominent modernists and postmodernists — from Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, and Samuel Beckett to John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and other highly regarded postmodernist figures. Finally, they explore the implications of Rand’s ideas for the issues of government and corporate support of the arts, art law, and arts education.

    [from the back cover]

    What Art Is is the first book-length examination of Rand’s little-known theory of art.

    … … … … … … … … .

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Introduction

    Traditional Meanings of the Term “Art”

    What the Ordinary Person Thinks

    The Cartoonists

    The Journalists

    Prime-TimeTelevision

    The Ubiquitous Question: “But Is It Art?”

    The Experts Speak

    The Art Historians

    The Critics

    Need for a Valid Theory and Definition of Art

    The Default of Philosophy

    Ayn Rand’s Theory of Art

    The Status of Rand Studies

    Overview of the Present Study

    PART I — AYN RAND’S PHILOSOPHY OF ART

    Chapter 1: “The Psycho-Epistemology of Art”

    The Purpose of Art

    Metaphysical Value-Judgments

    Rand’s Definition of Art

    The Cognitive Function of Art

    The Creative Process

    Art, Religion, and Philosophy

    Art and Ethics

    Romanticism and Naturalism

    “Efficacy of Consciousness”

    Chapter 2: “Philosophy and Sense of Life”

    Emotional Abstraction

    Philosophy and Sense of Life

    Sense of Life and Character

    Sense of Life in Love and Art

    Chapter 3: “Art and Sense of Life”

    Emotion and “Expression” in Art

    “Communication” in Art

    The Significance of Artistic Selectivity

    The Response to Art

    Subject and Meaning in Art

    Style

    Style and “Efficacy of Consciousness”

    Esthetic Judgment

    Chapter 4: “Art and Cognition”

    Literature

    Painting and Sculpture

    The Performing Arts

    Dance

    The Role of the Director

    The Art of Film

    The Arts and Cognition

    “Modern Art”

    Chapter 5: Music and Cognition

    Music and Emotion

    Music and Sense of Life

    Rand’s Mistaken Hypothesis

    The Importance of Melody

    The Composer’s Viewpoint

    Music as a “Re-Creation of Reality”

    The Symphony Orchestra

    Avant-Garde “Music”

    Chapter 6: The Definition of Art

    Anti-Essentialism in Contemporary Philosophy

    The “Institutional” Definition of Art

    The “Appeal to Authority”

    The Rules of Definition

    Rand’s Definition of Art

    Chapter 7: Scientific Support for Rand’s Theory

    Human Evolution and Prehistoric Art

    The Fundamentality of Mimesis

    Anthropological Perspectives

    The Integrative Nature of Perception

    The Psychology and Physiology of Emotion

    Neurological Case Studies

    The Modular Mind and the Diversity of the Arts

    Clinical Psychology — Madness and Modernism

    PART II — EXTENSION AND APPLICATION OF RAND’S THEORY

    Chapter 8: The Myth of “Abstract Art”

    Pioneers: Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian

    Mind Divorced from Matter: The”Primacy of Consciousness”

    Collective Aspirations: The “Universal” vs. the “Individual”

    Absolute Subjectivism

    “Decoration” vs. Art

    Utopian Aspirations

    A Flawed View of Human Perception and Cognition

    “Intuition” in Place of Reason and Objectivity

    Counterfeit Elitism and “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

    Freedom, Spontaneity, and “Cognitive Slippage”

    Theoretical Revisionism

    Meyer Schapiro

    Clement Greenberg

    Abstract Expressionism

    Mark Rothko

    Jackson Pollock

    Barnett Newman

    Abstract Sculpture

    Polling the People

    Art in the Home

    Killing the Messenger

    Chapter 9: Photography: An Invented “Art”

    Rand’s Argument

    What Photography Is

    Historical Considerations

    Contemporary Critical Views

    Postmodern Photography

    Chapter 10: Architecture: “Art” or “Design”?

    Rand’s Theoretical Position

    Batteux’s Classification

    D’Alembert’s Error

    The Nature of Architecture

    Utilitarian Function

    Architecture and Values

    Architecture and Abstract Sculpture

    Architecture as Design

    Chapter 11: Decorative Art and Craft

    Rand’s View

    Historical Influences

    American Indian Artifacts

    Quilts and Feminist Art History

    The Arts and Artifacts of Africa

    Contemporary Crafts as “Art”

    Chapter 12: Avant-Garde Music and Dance

    Avant-Garde Trends in Music

    Atonality

    Serialism

    Minimalism

    John Cage

    Avant-Garde Dance: Merce Cunningham

    Dance: The “Silent Partner of Music”

    Cunningham’s Progeny

    If It Moves, It Must Be Dance

    Constrained Movement as Dance

    “Discussing the Undiscussable”

    Ice Dancing

    Chapter 13: The Literary Arts and Film

    James Joyce

    Samuel Beckett

    John Ashbery

    The Art of Film

    Harrow Alley

    Chapter 14: Postmodernism in the “Visual Arts”

    The Long Shadow of Duchamp

    Pop Art

    Conceptual Art

    Assemblage Art and Installation Art

    Performance Art

    Video Art

    Postmodernism and Photography

    The Future: Art and Technology

    Chapter 15: Public Implications

    Government Subsidy of the Arts

    Corporate Support

    Art and the Law

    Teaching the Arts to Children

    Discipline-Based Art Education

    Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Cautionary Tale

    The “Core-Knowledge” Program

    “The Educated Child”

    A Radical Alternative

    Appendix A — New Forms of Art

    A glossary of purported new art forms invented in the twentieth century.

    Appendix B — Artworld Buzz Words

    A sampler of the meaningless jargon of the arts establishment, employed in discussions of work that is not, in fact, art.

    Appendix C — The New York Times — “The Arts”

    Headlines and quotations from reviews, reflecting promiscuous use of the term “arts.”

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index

    … … … … … … … … .

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