WHO SAYS THAT’S ART?
Introduction, “If Art Can Be Anything, Then It Is Nothing,” sets out the book’s main line of argument. (Read the Introduction.)
Chapter 1, “What Exactly Are We Talking About?,” further defines the concept of art that this book deals with (that is, fine art, or “Art with a capital A”), tracing its roots to antiquity and showing its relevance to non-Western and pre-literate cultures as well.
Chapter 2, “What Qualities Make a Work ‘Art’? And How and Why Do We Respond?,” considers the essential nature of works of art—their chief characteristics and their primary function.
Chapter 3, “What’s Wrong with Abstract Art?,” answers that question—in part, by showing the mistaken premises and unattainable goal on which such work was originally based.
Chapter 4, “Anti-Art Is Not Art,” debunks the various inventions of postmodernism—from “Pop art” to so-called conceptual and performance art—by documenting the anti-art intent that gave rise to them.
Chapter 5, “Do Photography, Video, and Film All Qualify as ‘Art’?,” sorts out important differences between those media and the arts of painting, drawing, and sculpture.
Chapter 6, “Critics and Curators—Informed Guides or Intellectual Bullies?,” considers the role and influence of critics and curators, both good and bad.
Chapter 7, “What Do Cognitive Science and Evolution Tell Us about Art?,” examines evidence from the fields of cognition and evolution that illuminates the view of art presented here.
Chapter 8, “Rethinking Art Education,” critiques destructive recent trends in art education and counters with constructive suggestions for the future.
Chapter 9, “Today’s Dysfunctional Artworld—Who Is to Blame?,” considers the forces that conspire to promote pseudo art in today’s culture, from art dealers and wealthy collectors to museum trustees and public officials.
Chapter 10, “The Pleasures and Rewards of Art—Real Art, That Is,” is a very personal reflection upon some of the author’s favorite works.
Postscript, “What Can Be Done?,” suggests a few simple steps toward restoring cultural sanity with regard to contemporary art.