Art History Essay

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__-history, __-theory, __-world
(Accounting for modern art with Dickie, Danto, and Weitz)
     Up until the twentieth century art theorists had consistently sought for a definition of art—a definition that would determine a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be called art. But artists in the 20th century did not want to be defined, and they deliberately tried to create artworks that would not fit under some theorist’s umbrella. We saw the Beatniks with their free verse; we saw the pop art of Andy Warhol; we saw the rise of abstractionist and surrealist painters; we saw “happenings”, and we saw “ready-made” art, all of which combined to make the finding of a definition of art almost
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If you try to think of a necessary condition for a game to be a game, there will always be some game that refutes the condition, or some game that we could invent that would not fit that condition, but could fit many others. The question of whether something is or is not art does not require us to see if all its properties fit into some specific set of necessary and sufficient conditions; rather, it requires us to ask whether or not we will make a decision to “enlarge the set of conditions for applying the concept (Weitz, 188).” For both games and art there are no essential properties, there are only “family resemblances”, or relational similarities that allow us to recognize whether a thing is close enough to be considered “art” or “a game”. Weitz offers a great summation of his argument concerning the “openness” of the concept of art:
“What I am arguing, then, is that the very expansive, adventurous character of art, its ever-present changes and novel creations, makes it logically impossible to ensure any set of defining properties. We can, of course, choose to close the concept. But to do this with “art” or “tragedy” or “portraiture,” etc., is ludicrous since it forecloses on the very conditions of creativity in the arts (189).”
     So, Weitz’s

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