__-history, __-theory, __-world
(Accounting for modern art with Dickie, Danto, and Weitz)
Up until the twentieth century art theorists had consistently sought for a definition of arta definition that would determine a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be called art. But artists in the 20th century did not want to be defined, and they deliberately tried to create artworks that would not fit under some theorist's umbrella. We saw the Beatniks with their free verse; we saw the pop art of Andy Warhol; we saw the rise of abstractionist and surrealist painters; we saw "happenings", and we saw "ready-made" art, all of which combined to make the finding of a definition of art almost impossible. It's not a surprise that some theorists just gave up and argued that a definition of art, or an umbrella theory, was non-essential at least, and at most not possible. The artworks in themselves in the 20th century were too radical to fit a definition, so an attempt was made to turn the focus away from the artwork itself and instead focus on the "artworld"the institutional/historical world that was the practical force for deciding where the line between art and non-art was and how it moved. This essay seeks to explain the theories of Weitz, Danto and Dickie, how they relate to one another, how they changed the focus of art theory from the artwork itself to the "artworld", and the problems that an institutional/historical theory of art runs into.
Both the theories of Arthur Danto and George Dickie are influenced by Morris Weitz's theory, so it is fitting to begin with Weitz. Weitz espoused a kind of anti-theory. He got fed up with all the aesthetic theorists that kept on arguing that previous theorists had it all wrong and that they had it right. Weitz believed that aesthetic theories throughout history tried in vain to come up with the "correct" necessary and sufficient set of conditions that would be able to fully answer the question:... [continues]
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