Essays on the Nature of Art: Reverend Jesse Jackson in International Affairs

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SUNY Press, 1996 - Art - 122 pages
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In this newest book, the author presents a theory of art which is at once universal in its general conception and historically-grounded in its attention to aesthetic practices in diverse cultures. The author argues that especially today art not only enjoys a special kind of autonomy but also has important social and political responsibilities.

Deutsch posits that an art work has as its intentionality the striving to be aesthetically forceful, meaningful, and beautiful, with each of these dimensions culturally situated. Working from traditional imitation and expression theories, he argues that the manner of an artwork's coming into being and one's experience of it constitutes an integral whole.

Selected aspects of painting, poetry, dance, architecture, films, and music are offered to deepen an understanding of the concepts presented. Also included are several inter-connected themes focusing on the difficult and controversial issues of interpreting art, truth in art, and the relations between art and morality, and art and religion.


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As a theatre practitioner, I found Essays on the Nature of Art inspiring, provocative, intelligent and profound. Non-artists are always saying 'oh but art is so subjective, its whatever the artists feels, there are no standards'--answering this ridiculous criticism is actually trickier than one might expect. Deustche's book (which I believe should be required reading for any one in in any art field!) elucidates and thereby validates the art of art. 


On the Question What Is Art?
Art Is Imitation
Art Is Expression
Aesthetic Experience and the Artwork
Summary Definition of a Work of Art
Part II
Temporality and the Visual Arts
Mallarme and Valery and the Essence of Poetry
Music as SilenceandSound
Part III
Interpreting Art
Truth in Art
Art and Morality
Religion and Art

Where Is a Dance?
Form in Architecture

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Page 115 - ... operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind.

About the author (1996)

Eliot Deutsch is Professor and Chair of Graduate Studies in the Philosophy Department at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He is the author of eleven books including Religion and Spirituality also published by SUNY Press.

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