The Art Question
If an artist sends a live peacock to an exhibition, is it art?
'What is art?' is a question many of us want answered but are too afraid to ask. It is the very question that Nigel Warburton demystifies in this brilliant and accessible little book. With the help of varied illustrations and photographs, from Cézanne and Francis Bacon to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, best-selling author Warburton brings a philosopher's eye to art in a refreshing jargon-free style.
With customary clarity, he explains art theories, that are much discussed but little understood, by thinkers such as Clive Bell, R.G Collingwood and Wittgenstein. He illuminates other perplexing problems in art, such as the artist's intention, representation and emotion. Drawing on photographs of Cindy Sherman and Tiananmen Square, Warburton shows that, if we are ever to answer the art question, we must consider each work of art on its own terms.
A stimulating and handy guide through the art maze, The Art Question is essential reading for anyone interested in art, philosophy or those who simply like looking at and thinking about pictures.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Art and Philosophy 1. Significant Form 2. Expression of Emotion 3. Family Resemblances 4. Institutional Contexts 5. So What? A Hypothesis. Notes. Further Reading. Bibliography. Index.
'Invaluable... a sound introduction.... Warburton guides the reader gently and accessibly through some of the most influential theories of the twentieth century... He deftly applies the standard tools of philosophy, such as counter-examples and the detection of circular reasoning, to a field that is prone to vagueness, pretentiousness and sometimes elastic notions of meaning and language.... an excellent introduction to the philosophy of art.' - Think
'Nigel Warburton brings a philosopher's eye to the debate ... to explore with admirable clarity, the factors that might turn a roomful of chocolate into a work of art, and why it matters.' - The Independent
'Nigel Warburton brings clarity, philosophical acuity, and conciseness to the long-standing problem of defining art...For readers new to the problem, the theories are explained in an engaging way and assessed systematically, whith discussion supported throughout by significant, up-to-date cases from the art world.' Emily Brady, The British Journal of Aesthetics