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After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  875 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Over a decade ago, Arthur Danto announced that art ended in the sixties. Ever since this declaration, he has been at the forefront of a radical critique of the nature of art in our time. After the End of Art presents Danto's first full-scale reformulation of his original insight, showing how, with the eclipse of abstract expressionism, art has deviated irrevocably from the ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 29th 1998 by Princeton University Press (first published 1997)
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David Williamson
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Philosophers tend to make the worst art theorist and artists tend to make terrible philosophers (or at least when they try to put it into language). Danto on the other hand has actually read art theory and criticism, so does actually know what he is talking about.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for quite awhile, as I had grown sick of art theory and especially art/aesthetics philosophy. After being encouraged to read this however, I have taken a great interest in Danto’s work on art and p
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
I wouldn't say I "liked it," but it merits 3 stars because the ideas (though dated) are relevant for artists (as a record of what kind of muck we've since climbed out of). I continue to have difficulty with this sort of application of theory because it lends itself so easily to the purposes of those who spout fundamentalist dogma... what with the Puritanical fear of "pleasure" and a long list of dos and don'ts for artists. I saw so many artists stifled because they came to art through theory (ra ...more
Peter Landau
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know about art, but I know when it’s dead. That’s not exactly what painter turned philosopher turned art critic Arthur C. Danto means in AFTER THE END OF ART: CONTEMPORARY ART AND THE PALE OF HISTORY. Art isn’t dead, but the historic narrative that we know of as art, what progressed over the last six hundred years or more, has come to an end.

What’s next, according to Danto, is a philosophic art, more about ideas than materials. Just as the art before art, when it served a religious purp
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read about Hegel's brilliant though cruelly rigid aesthetic philosophy, I was convinced that art needs to be defined somehow - otherwise it would be an empty concept for lazy thinkers. But now that I've read this fabulous work by Danto, I hesitate in my thoughts. Obviously, I still think that there's no use of a concept that's not exclusive, yet there are other things to be taken into consideration here: what is to be excluded and based on which criteria?

Like other works on aesthetics (I
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading this book was like having an enjoyable late night coffee with a friend, back-and-forthing about art till the wee hours. Mind you, a friend with a pretty elevated philosophical vocabulary; but still, it didn’t feel didactic, dogmatic, or even argumentative. The author offers his opinions and explains his reasoning, the idea being that it’s not really art that’s dead, but that there’s been a big change in how we see and what we define as art. Context and the historical/cultural point of vi ...more
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I recall, a great book despite my predilection to not really give a crap about some deep, brooding, probing interrogation about a freakin' Rothko painting or, God forbid, yet another Calder sculpture. Perhaps my disinterest is due to my status as redneck...or perhaps, as Danto's writing speculates, it's because of the destruction of some type of "master narrative" that essentially provides(ed) certain, unnamed boundaries within which to evaluate "art". Interestingly, he eschews a common formu ...more
James Henderson
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, aesthetics
This is where Danto discusses his version of Hegel's "end of art" thesis. He first enunciated the thesis in a 1984 essay called "The End of Art", and developed it more recently in this work. To explain this thesis it may help first to say what Danto does not mean by it. He is not claiming that no-one is making art anymore; nor is he claiming that no good art is being made any more. But he thinks that a certain history of western art has come to an end, in about the way that Hegel suggested it wo ...more
E. C. Koch
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first ran into Danto when writing my thesis on post-modern film and have returned to him as a supplement to Gaddis' JR and The Recogniitons in hopes of finding answers to some of the questions Gaddis raises about art in those novels. And that search has been both successful and not. Danto's grand concept here is that art (he means paintings mostly) follows an historical narrative which is carried along by culture, and that, with the advent of Warhol, art reached the end of that narrative. So w ...more
Bill Gusky
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Seminal. You need this book.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Changed entirely how I think about art. It started me thinking for myself.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
Ok. El libro va de cómo el arte “termina” y del arte, que en realidad ya no sería arte porque esto ya terminó, que empieza cuando termina el arte. Se entendió? Personalmente creo que esta teoría es muy cierta, pero los términos usados son un tanto fatalistas, o no son los mas adecuados. Bien podría decirse que el relato del arte terminó, mas no el arte en sí. O que el arte cambio su forma de moverse dentro del discurso histórico, dejo de ser lineal para convertirse en espontáneo.

Pero volviendo
Stefani Tiff
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Danto was insightful and in many cases quite humorous which made the book far from boring but rather undeniably enjoyable.

Favorite quote: “I do not think it possible to convey the moral energy that went into this division between abstraction and realism, from both sides, in those years. It had an almost theological intensity, and in another stage of civilization there would certainly have been burnings at stake.”
John Arnold
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Some understandable, some over my head. He gets into philosophy (Hegel). It was worthwhile to read.
Özge Günaydın
Konu çok dağınık anlatılmış ama modern sanata bakış açısından faydalı
Evet bence de sanat bitti
Bundan sonrası felsefik sembolizm
Rita do Monte
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I believe I put too many expectations on that book. Maybe it's a little overrated, and Danto wasted too much time with Greenberg. But still, it is a good book. ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Art keeps me going, not “interests”.
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Did my sister give this to me? I don't know how I got hold of it. I was very interested in some version of Art History for a little bit. Something close to the version (or vantage) that makes art itself look an awful lot like art history.

Or maybe a philosophy professor recommended it. Anyways. As I recall, Danto basically argues that art after the "postmodern" period should be termed post-historical -- art after the "end" of art (history). That postmodern art was the last art that paid (live or
Duncan Greer
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great read for understanding contemporary art from a philosophical point of view. Danto's view on Greenberg's Kantian influence is great, and he makes interesting arguments for a robust understanding of Warhol and Pop Art. It is a bit redundant but, as it was originally a lecture, that sort of thing is to be expected. The "End of Art" thesis is a bit hokey but also a handy way to explain the plurality of art after Pop. Also, Danto's Hegelian view of art history is surprisingly brilliant. All i ...more
Arturo Javier
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
No hay mucho que pueda añadir a lo que ya ha sido dicho por otros lectores. El libro es lectura esencial para cualquiera que esté interesado en el arte contemporáneo. La tesis principal del libro es que, a partir de los años sesenta, el mundo del arte ha entrado en una etapa poshistórica. La característica principal que define esta etapa es la ausencia de grandes narrativas que le den un sentido de dirección al desarrollo del arte. Danto es claro y riguroso, pero ello no le impide abordar una va ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro lo leo y releo en ocasión de mis trabajos de la facultad, asi que doy por concluida esta lectura . Es un gran libro, aunque una de las muchas formas que hay hoy de pensar el arte contemporáneo, siempre lo encuentro lleno de sentido. Algunos otros autores le han criticado bastante pero para mi, esos son minimos detalles para una sólida postura que entiendo, es claramente visible en la tendencia del arte actual.
Apr 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
so the arts are contently changing and i guess we need to categorize these occurrences with essays and philosophies and magazines and philosophical essays in magazines. if it is a good thing then Danto is pretty alright. This is an open minded approach to the often closed minded field of art philosophy littered with manifestos and rules and haters. fuck the haters.
Jun 11, 2015 marked it as dnf
Shelves: non-fiction
DNF at somewhere around page 200.

The use of language makes the book hard to understand and boring and the information in it basically useless, because trying to read it makes you all sleepy. I might finish it some other day.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Epitome of modern academia... too much classification and long-winded 'intellectual' bloviation, not enough critical, artistic insight.

Also virtually every hypothesis is either wrong, or treated in the wrong light.
Aug 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Why is modernism over and what defines post-modernism in contemporary art. A key text to understanding how art got to where it is today. I took off a star because Danto can be repetitive in his arguments.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Essential reading for anyone who is disillusioned with, critical of, or just generally confused by art in a postmodern era. (Specifically for me, Danto's chapter on monochrome painting.) ...more
Mar 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Danto! I love Danto! And not only because I love to say his name...try it.
Oct 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
yes darling, but is it art
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Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University and art critic for The Nation. He was the author of numerous books, including Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life, After the End of Art, and Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective.

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11 likes · 1 comments
“In my own version of the idea of 'what art wants,' the end and fulfillment of the history of art is the philosophical understanding of what art is, an understanding that is achieved in the way that understanding in each of our lives is achieved, namely, from the mistakes we make, the false paths we follow, the false images we have come to abandon until we learn wherein our limits consist, and then how to live within those limits. ” 10 likes
“I do not think it possible to convey the moral energy that went into this division between abstraction and realism, from both sides, in those years. It had an almost theological intensity, and in another stage of civilization there would certainly have been burnings at stake.” 0 likes
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