Arthur C. Danto (1924-2013): The Art Critic Who Predicted the End of Art Dies at Age 89
Late last week the influential and groundbreaking art critic of the Post-Modernism age passed away of heart failure in his New York home.
Art critic and philosopher Arthur C. Danto was to the Post-Modernism era what Clement Greenberg was to Modernism: a thinker and debater who clarified through his writing the avant-garde art scene of his time, then took a personal stance to further advance the movement. Initially confounded by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein -- Danto decried the end of art history and the death of art when Warhol's Brillo box show debuted in 1964 in New York City -- he eventually became intrigued enough by the post-modern phenomenon to explore the idea of "meaning and art," ultimately asking and answering the age-old question: "What is art?"
Danto was an art critic for The Nation magazine from 1984 to 2009 and a professor emeritus of philosophy at Columbia University. He wrote more than 30 books and hundreds of essays over his career, many of them landmark and extremely influential. He served as president of the American Philosophical Association and the American Society for Aesthetics. Danto's final book, What Art Is -- a summary of his 50 years of thought on the definition of art -- was published earlier this year. Having contributed greatly to the observation and analysis of post-modernism, Danto will be remembered as a champion of the avant garde, a challenging and thought-provoking writer, and one of the most influential philosophical art voices of his time.