How are we to understand, define, and critically evaluate the function, origin, and types of art and establish criteria for describing a work as “superior?” While such esthetic questions are unchanging, the answers vary markedly from decade to decade and even year to year, depending upon the prevailing opinion of critics, artists, and the public. Esthetics Contemporary has been revised and updated to include fourteen new selections from many of the most respected authorities on literature, dance, the visual arts, theatre, music, cinema, and architecture.
Kostelanetz captures the rich diversity of our changing views of art while at the same time discloses its variegated influence on the contemporary art scene. Esthetics withers if compelled to remain within the stultifying confines of rigid theories. The experiential dimension of esthetic requires that it change if trends and breakthroughs in the arts are to be appreciated fully. Esthetics can ill afford to ignore the fluid reality of creative forces – that intimate and interpenetrating relationship between the esthetic theory of a particular period and the arts that dominate.
Featured in this volume are discussions of the future of music, minimalist tendencies in dance, conceptual art, theatre esthetics, de-architecturalization, art as internal technology, the esthetics of the avant-garde, modernism and postmodernism, photography and esthetics, video art, radio drama, affirmation of space-time forces, criticism of imaginative writing, a structural-informational approach to cinema, phenomenal art, and much more.
The first edition of Esthetics Contemporary distinguished itself as a pioneering volume that gave new meaning and clearer understanding to the often misunderstood world of contemporary art. This revised edition with its many new selections will continue that fine tradition into the next decade and beyond.