The Philosophical Disenfrachisement of Art is an articulation of the question whether art is “in itself” or an interpretation of something else.
A 1982 reflection on previous writing, he here tries to take his questions further.. He begins with the question of relativity vs relatavism an important question in the philosophy of science, and for Marxists who want to change the world.
Chris Harman argues.about another writer he did “not taking seriously enough Marx’s comment in his Theses on Feuerbach ‘that man must prove the truth, i.e. the reality and power, the this-worldliness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality and non-reality of thinking which isolates itself from practice is a purely scholastic question’. It is this approach which is encapsulated in Gramsci’s description of Marxism as ‘the philosophy of practice’.
Knowledge and moral systems both arise out of human activity – and that activity has been socially organised ever since our ancestors descended from the trees (indeed, even before that, studies of our closest primate cousins suggest). Through 99.99 percent of history humans’ interaction with each other and the world has been limited and so too necessarily has been their understanding of the world. In hunter-gatherer or peasant societies it is restricted to a very narrow geographic compass, with little knowledge of what is happening beyond the immediate region. So certainties about what is involved in the everyday tasks of making a livelihood are fitted into mythical accounts of the wider world.” ISJ
Danto criticizes Schopenhauer as proposing art as being a window to reality. “It is seen through but it is not itself seen” He then later goes on to talk about how the ready made dealt with this (and in Ray’s article he denies that the readymades are at all similar to the pop art of Warhol.
Danto seems to condemn the prescript for good art was “the more transparent the better”. If art is transparent then a better reality is known. He is critical about this proposal. It is a important one. Goya’s Third of May, 1808 an important avenue to understanding man’s inhumanity to man. It is not merely about transparency of objects, but Danto misses the transparency of situations and times, so intricately linked in good artists.
Is it necessary to academicise language and talk like this “”The self-diaphanizing artwork is a mimetic theory”((diaphanization(biology) A technique in which a biological specimen is treated to make the skin and tissue transparent whilst retaining body shape and staining the skeleton))Art must be an eye or ear to the object represented. …actors who performance is more important than the play). Art here Danto says aims at a form of nothingness.
One solution has been to force undeniablyreal objects to become art. Perfect embodiment leaves arty as weightless as ever. Therefore he does not see Duchamp as having saved art.
Deals with the concept of beauty.Kant says no answer to what is art can be correct.
He seems to end with a situationist solution.
“Among these attempts to generate a definition of the essence of art, one of the most influential writers was Arthur Danto, who said that the historical development of the concept of art needs to be taken into consideration if we are to define it at all. He believed that art’s essence has been revealed progressively, culminating in the twentieth century. I was skeptical of finding the essence of (fine) art as such. From my perspective, art does not have an ahistorical essence but is a multivalent term referring to a set of ideas and practices that function differently in society throughout time. Thus, The Invention of Art was an attempt to construct a sort of genealogy of art and to flesh out what it means when we consider art as an historically developing concept.” Chris Mansaur