What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand
by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi
Open Court, 2000
Hardcover: ISBN 0-8126-9372-8
Paperback: ISBN 0-8126-9373-6
To Buy: Amazon
About the Book
Since the early twentieth century, alleged new forms of art have proliferated in every major field—from music and dance to poetry and painting. In today’s arts establishment, virtually anything can qualify as art if a reputed artist or expert says it is.
A compelling alternative to the establishment view was provided by philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand. What Art Is is the first book to examine her original and illuminating theory of art in depth. In Part I, the authors analyze Rand’s ideas on the nature of art, comparing them favorably to those of other thinkers and presenting scientific evidence in their support. In so doing, they shed light on the essential nature of each of the major arts. In Part II, they apply Rand’s theory to a critique of twentieth-century art.
Praise for What Art Is
“[T]he kind of work that makes its way slowly but lasts long, both because its subject is perennial and because of the breadth and depth of [its] treatment.”
— Jacques Barzun, cultural historian
“Well-documented, a major addition to Rand scholarship, and a humorous debunking of twentieth-century art . . . and art theory.”
— Choice (American Library Association)
“A balanced critical assessment of [Rand’s] arguments, finding justification for [them] from archaeology, cognitive science and clinical psychology, and applying Rand’s ideas to every area of contemporary culture.”
— The Art Book (Association of Art Historians, U. K.)