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What Art Is


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About the Author

Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Columbia University and art critic for The Nation.


"Danto is an elegant and erudite writer, and his sentences go down smoothly."-Deborah Solomon, New York Times Book Review
"Danto was and remains the high priest of pluralism, and arch-critic of the view that art has a distinctive essence."-A. C. Grayling, Financial Times
". . . arguably the most inspired interpreter of the increasingly abstruse art world that emerged during the past half century. In What Art Is, Danto's freewheeling erudition and knack for unpacking complex subjects is on display."-Eric Been, Chicago Tribune ("Favorite Books of 2013")
"Danto's writing is elegant and his insights acute."-Publishers Weekly
"The conclusion [Danto] reaches . . . is elegant in its clearheaded take on an endlessly difficult question. . . . As a critical memoir . . . tracing the particulars of a gifted mind's lasting focus, Danto's latest is a useful addition to a long career."-Publishers Weekly
"This accessible book is the culmination of the late Danto's lifelong investigation into the concept of art. Through an inspired range of historical and contemporary examples, he explicates his institutional definition of artworks as `embodied meanings' that can take on just about any shape or form. In this radical view, the properties that render something a work of art are invisible."-Constantine Sandis, THES
"Elaborating important themes of Danto's influential aesthetics, What Art Is develops them in fascinating new ways, offering luminous interpretations of past masters ranging from Michelangelo and Poussin to Duchamp and Warhol. Written in Danto's engagingly personal voice, the book's essays sparkle with wit, erudition, sensitivity, and a profound love of art whose power is captivatingly contagious."-Richard Shusterman, author of Thinking through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics
"This miraculously economical book summarizes many decades of reflection and provides an ideal entry into the philosophical system of the most important American-born writer who has discussed visual art."-David Carrier, author of Proust/Warhol: Analytical Philosophy of Art

"Arthur Danto is America's leading philosopher of art: deeply knowledgeable, clear sighted, adventurous."-Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman

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