The School of Arthur Danto

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Crispin Sartwell in the NYT's The Stone:

Art and philosophy, it seemed to me then, had gone their separate ways, and were conceived as opposing and incompatible cultural zones. Danto developed an ingenious (if not unproblematic) reconnection that was also a revival and transformation of all the traditional questions of philosophical aesthetics. Indeed, in his view, the avant-garde art of the period and analytic philosophy were not just compatible, they were made for each other. In developments like pop art and conceptualism, he asserted, art had become a form of philosophy, which is one thing he meant when he said that art was over. Whether this was exactly true or not, it mirrored his own development in its synthesis of the sensual and the intellectual.

For Danto not only wrote about art; he wrote with art. This is what really impressed (I want to say “transfigured”) me as a graduate student. As it turned out, I didn’t particularly agree with his philosophy. But I loved his writing inordinately and have often tried to emulate it. Among my first publications was an attack, written in an admiring simulation of Danto’s own style, on what I took to be the basic argument of “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace”; he thrilled me by sending me a letter, administering gracious correction.

More here.