After the End of Art by Arthur C. Danto

By Arthur C. Danto

After the top of paintings offers Danto's first full-scale reformulation of his unique perception, displaying how, with the eclipse of summary expressionism, artwork has deviated irrevocably from the narrative direction that Vasari helped outline for it within the Renaissance.

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I might observe in parenthesis that the gestural importance of exhibitions remains viable, even when a nation has no stock of national treasures to entrust: today one establishes one's readiness to be part of the commonwealth of nations by sponsoring a biennial. l In 1986, forty impressionist and post-impressionist works from our National Gallery went on tour in the then Soviet Union, and during that same year works of comparable quality-works one had never hoped to see outside the Soviet Union-served as aesthetic ambassadors in major American museums.

7. ,58. 8. Cited in William Rubin, Doda, Surrealism. and Their Heritage (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1968), 68. 9. Sec Lisa G. ). MODERN, POST MODERN, CONTEMPORARY • • • 19 10. As the title of a collection of essays by diverse philosophical hands, each representing an aspect of the somewhat massive shift from question of substance to questions of linguistic representation which marked twentieth-century analytical philosophy, see Richard Rorty, The Linguistic Turn: Recent Essays in Philosophical Method (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967).

What of "Art after Philosophy"-to use the title of Kosuth's essay-which, to make the point, may indeed itself be a work of art? " With that question the history of modernism was over. It was over because modernism was too local and too materialist, concerned as it was with shape, surface, pigment, and the like as defining painting in its purity. " And sculpture asked itself the same kind of question. But what this gives us is no general picture of what art is, only what some of the arts, perhaps historically the most important arts, essentially were.

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