Art in Progress

Art in Progress

By Maarten Doorman
Book Description

In this challenging and erudite philosophical essay, the author argues that in art, belief in progress is still relevant, if not essential. The radical freedoms of postmodernism have had a crippling effect on art - more than ever before, art is in danger of becoming meaningless. Art can only acquire meaning through context, and the concept of progress is ideal as the primary criterion for establishing that context. History of art can be seen as a process of constant accumulation. Works of art comment on each other, enriching each other's meanings. These complex interrelationships lead to progress in both the sensibility of the observer and the significance of the works of art.

Alles in de kunst is in beweging. Tegelijkertijd lijkt met het eind van de avantgarde de grote stilstand te zijn ingetreden. Het veelbesproken einde van de kunst en het postmodernisme roepen veel twijfels op. In dit helder geschreven betoog onderzoekt de auteur een begrip dat door de tot cliche geworden afschaffing van de Grote Verhalen onzichtbaar is geworden: het vooruitgangsidee. Hij laat zien hoe dat idee in de achttiende eeuw opkomt, allesbepalend is tijdens de avantgarde en met het eind van de avantgarde ten onder gaat. Maarten Doorman pleit voor een kritische herwaardering van vooruitgangsbegrippen om de als zorgeloosheid vermomde vrijblijvendheid van het postmodernisme het hoofd te bieden. Arthur Danto: The end of art does not entail that there has not been genuine progress in the philosophy of art. Maarten Doorman's challenging and valuable study contributes to that progress, whether or not progress in art itself remains, as he argues, a tenable idea.

Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
    • The second Labor of Hercules
    • After history
    • Whence, how, whither?
  • 1 Perspectives on Progress: A History
    • The Great Exhibition
    • The meaning of the history of ideas
    • Koselleck: the history of ideas of progress
    • Ideas of progress and related categories of change
  • 2 From the Ancients and the Moderns: A Door to the Future
    • The Querelle between the Ancients and the Moderns
    • A new look at an old question
    • Perfection and perfectibility
  • 3 From Romanticism to the Avant-Garde
    • The nineteenth century: Comte and Spencer
    • Nineteenth-century cultural science:
    • Modernism and the avant-garde
  • 4 On Making Revolution
    • ‘The little Modernsky’
    • The present as the past of the future
    • The structure of artistic revolutions
    • The progress argument
    • The periodizing museum
    • Progress as aporia
  • 5 Innovation in Painting and Architecture: De Stijl
    • Abstraction and the beauty of a grain silo
    • The new style and the spirit of the time
    • Innovation in architecture
    • Innovation in painting
    • Consistent development
    • The artistic revolution of De Stijl
    • De Stijl and posterity
  • 6 The End of Art
    • The cakewalk in the present
    • The avant-garde as apotheosis: the end of art
    • Forward again: the end of Arthur Danto
    • Farewell to progress?
  • 7 A New Approach to an Old Concept
    • Ever richer
    • Art as cognition
    • Progress as regulative principle
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index of Names
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