Danto On Art and Philosophy

In Naked Punch, an interview with Arthur Danto on art and philosophy:

I: So would you say then that now you need, really, a talent to notice or a talent to think, rather than a talent to craft?

ACD: Exactly. That`s it. I mean, Barbara and I just visited her nephew, who`s a sculpture student at Rutgers, and he`s building these intricate house-of-cards structures with tiles painted with nail polish. He gets all the girls to give him their old nail polish. It was really quite beautiful and he has this incredible patience. So you know it seems to be a transformation of a really remarkable sort. I felt with the Whitney Biennial of 2002, where you had all of these artists that no one ever heard of, that they were all working. Here was a beautiful work: it was a little collaborative called Praxis, just a man and a woman and they had this little storefront down in the East Village. You could go in on Saturdays and get one of three things: you could get a hug, you could have a band-aid put on and they would kiss it, or you could ask for a dollar and they`d give you a dollar. Simple things, but people would go in, they`d line up, get hugged, ask for a band aid—she`d put it on and make them feel better—or they`d get a dollar. And I thought, God how simple can life get, but there was something very moving about that work. It was interactive, people just came in, the couple were being artists in this kind of way. I thought it had a lot of meaning.