Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life
An Incisive Account of the Bizarre, Often Bewildering Art World of Today
Arthur Danto's new collection finds him, and the art world, at a point when the art world has become pluralistic, even chaotic-with one medium as good as the next-when the moment for "next things" has passed.
Since 1984, when Danto-already an eminent philosopher--became "The Nation's" art critic, he has been one of the foremost theorists of contemporary art's history and evolution, and at the same time the most incisive and illuminating critic of new work. In his view, the historical development of art reached a kind of zenith in the pop period, most famously with Warhol's Brillo Boxes. Danto's five volumes of review essays (all published by FSG) form a kind of chronicle of the art world since the Brillo moment, and a running appraisal of the great variety of significant work made since then. In this new book, he shows how work that bridges the gap between art and life is now the definitive work of our time: Damien Hirst's arrays of skeletons and anatomical models, Barbara Kruger's tchotchke-ready slogans, Renee Cox's nude portrait of herself at the Last Supper. To the obvious question--is this stuff really art?--Danto replies with an enthusiastic yes, explaining, with a philosopher's clarity and an art lover's sense of delight, how these "unnatural wonders" show us who we are.
What people are saying - Write a review
Unnatural wonders: essays from the gap between art and lifeUser Review - Book Verdict
By now, collections of Columbia University philosopher Danto's review-essays on contemporary art are familiar; this fifth installment again centers on work reprinted from his regular column in the Nation, where he has been art critic since 1984. Danto may be one of the few critics whose work reads better in book form than as a journalistic review. His critical judgments are often less ends in themselves than jumping off points for explorations of particularly vexing problems in aesthetics, threaded through with references to art and philosophy classics, all of it undertaken in clear language and with an even, appreciative tone. In these 40-plus pieces, each of which is six to eight pages long, Danto covers younger artists like John Currin and Renee Cox; older living masters like Gerhard Richter and Sol LeWitt; New York School artists like Philip Guston and Joan Mitchell, whose reputations are still settling; and Modernist masters like Malevich, Giacometti and Picasso. Given an art scene and museum world driven to a great extent by power, glitz and internecine politics, Danto's reflective approach can be a welcome respite for insiders and a friendly introduction to aesthetics as it continues to play out in real time. Agent, George Borchardt.
Review: Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and LifeUser Review - Goodreads
A wonderful introduction to Danto's essays and the world of contemporary art. It's evident in the writing that Danto is thoroughly delighted by contemporary art and, of course, incredibly well versed in the branch of aesthetics.
Beyond the brillo box: the visual arts in post-historical perspective
Arthur Coleman Danto
No preview available - 1998
The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art
Arthur Coleman Danto
Limited preview - 1981
Whitney Biennial 2000
Yo Mamas Last Supper
Matthew Barneys Cremaster Cycle
Christian Schad and the Sachlichfeit of Sex
Whitney Biennial 2004
Surrealism and Eroticism
Barnett Newman and the Heroic Sublime
One Year Later
Reflections on Robert Mangolds Curled Figure and Column
The Park Avenue Cubists